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Ramit Debnath BTech, MTech, MPhil (Cantab)


I have a background in electrical engineering and sustainability sciences which shapes my perception of engineering as a tool for reducing inequality. 

Currently, I am using computational social science techniques to better understand energy injustices associated in slum built environment. the goal of my research is to develop policy modelling methods for distributive energy justice in poverty of the Global South. 

I am using a mixed-method approach consisting of machine learning-based textual analysis, predictive modelling and qualitative investigation of energy culture in slum rehabilitation housing. Please check the publication section for my latest research outputs. You can also follow my twitter handle for latest updates @RamitDebnath. 

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, I am expanding these methods to better understand the policy responses of highly populated countries. 

My research is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship under the grant number [OPP1144], the Trinity-MCSC scholarship (honorary) from the Trinity College, Cambridge and a Santander Mobility Grant from the Santander Group, Spain. I have recently received an Energy Transition Small-Grant from the Energy@Cambridge and Issac Newton trust. 

Research Interests

  • Engineering for sustainable development 
  • Energy Justice
  • Data-driven policy analytics 
  • Computational social sciences
  • Poverty alleviation policies

Key skills: 

  • Data analytics (R and Python)
  • Text mining and natural language processing 
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Mixed-method research design
  • Modelling, calibration and optimisation
  • Data-driven policy modelling
  • Statistical analysis using SPSS

Key Publications

COVID-19 related research

Debnath R., and Bardhan R., (2020) India nudges to contain COVID-19 pandemic: a reactive public policy analysis using machine-learning based topic modelling, ArXiv Preprints, (Under peer-review)

Research in the news!

Journals (Peer-reviewed)




  • Ramit Debnath (present): Evidence-based policy modelling for energy justice and poverty alleviation in Global South: A nested empirical and unsupervised machine-learning approach in slum rehabilitation, Doctoral thesis, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK. 
  • Ramit Debnath (2018): Comfort, energy use and well-being in informal settlement: Investigating a rebound phenomenon in slum rehabilitation housing in Mumbai using backcasting approach, Master of Philosophy thesis, Girton College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • Ramit Debnath (2016): A conceptual framework for future-proofing rural kitchens in India using building physics and computational fluid dynamic analysis. Master of Technology thesis, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India.
  • Ramit Debnath (2014): Low-cost ultrasonic error detection for fault analysis using Arduino. Bachelor of Technology thesis, School of Engineering and Technology - SU, India. 

Invited talks

  • Policy modelling for energy justice in poverty in Global South, Brownbag Seminar, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK
  • Environmental protection and sustainability drivers, Panel Discussion, Michaelmas Gates Internal Symposium, November 2019, GSCR, University Centre. Cambridge
  • Energy Justice in Poverty: Modelling the invisible drivers in slum rehabilitation, Michaelmas Gates Internal Symposium, November 2019, GSCR, University Centre. Cambridge.
  • Invisible drivers of energy demand in poverty. Energy Policy Research Group Team Workshop, July -2019, Clare College, University of Cambridge
  • Low and Middle-Income Countries: remodelling appropriate resources for use in constrained settings: Panel Discussion, Global Scholars Symposium-2019, Rhodes House, University of Oxford (
  • Treasure hunt for energy sustainability in poverty: Empirical evidence from slum rehabilitation in India. CHUTalks, January  2019, Churchill College, University of Cambridge (link)


Working papers

  • Debnath, R., Bardhan, R., Darby, S., Mohaddes, K., Coelho, A. C. V., Isa, A., & Sunikka-Blank, M. (2020, March 26). Energy justice, built environment and poverty: A deep-narrative analysis of energy cultures in Brazil, India and Nigeria for policy modelling. engrXiv Preprints,
  • Musa, O., & Debnath R., (2020). Social shaping of technology analysis for inclusive renewable planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case of Rwanda, engrXiv Preprints, 
  • Sunikka-Blank, M., Abde, D., Bardhan, R., & Debnath R., (2020). "We need ground space". Urban Densification and transitional housing in the Global South - Integrated Housing Development Programme (IHDP), Ethiopia, Frontiers of Architectural Research, Elsevier (Under review)


  • Architecture and Building Physics, Oxbridge Academic Programs, New York [50 hours]. CamPrep Experience Architecture Final Project: Daylight simulation and visualization for improved well-being in classrooms: A case study of a Peterhouse classroom (Project link:
  • Innovation & Leadership Program and Science & Technology Program, Looker Education Group, Shanghai [40 hours]. Topics covered: Innovation management; Sustainable development; Urban Science; Whole Energy Systems Analysis; Systems dynamics modelling and analysis; Building Performance Analysis: Daylight modelling and simulation
  • Research mentorship program, ViaX, Beijing [10 hours]
  • Policy analysis workshop, Evolution of energy policies in China since 1950, ViaX, Beijing [10 hours]

Professional memberships

Cambridge Philosophical Society; Cambridge University Energy Network (CUEN); Cambridge University Engineering Society (CUES); Energy@Cambridge; Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG); The Energy Institute (EI); Global Energy Nexus for Urban Settlement (GENUS); Commonwealth Scholars Alumni Association; Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP); Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Forum (CUSPE); CIBSE

Related roles

Reviewer: Energy Policy; Sustainable Cities and Society; Journal of Cleaner Production

Associate Editor: The Scholar Magazine, Gates- Cambridge Trust, Summer 2019

Secretary: Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Forum (CUSPE)

Convenor: Global Energy Nexus for Urban Settlements (GENUS) & Cambridge University Energy Networks (CUEN)

Director (Delegate Affairs): Global Scholars Symposium - 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19)