Leapfrogging technology and social equity gaps in developing Asia

The research analyses advanced technology trends in the low-carbon energy transition taking place in developing countries with specific applications to South Asia and identifies opportunities to simultaneously leapfrog technology and social equity gaps, with a focus on socio-technical modelling.

Research Areas

  • Social inclusion and gender equity impact assessment
  • Socio-technical modelling of energy services
  • Analysing emerging energy technology trends, including access and uptake in Asia
  • Policy and planning

Capacity Development

Smart grid technologies and implications for inclusive development in Sri Lanka.
3-4 April 2018. Galle, Sri Lanka

Second Lateral Learning Program on Smart Grid Technologies and Implications for Inclusive Development
2–6 October 2017. University of Melbourne, Australia.

Smart Grid Technologies and Implications for Inclusive Development
19-20 April, 2017. Bhopal. India.

Deep Dive Lateral Learning Program on Inclusive Energy Solutions
29 August- 2 September, 2016. University of Melbourne, Australia

Sub-regional Conference: Going Beyond the Meter: Inclusive Energy Solutions in South Asia
11-12 April 2016. Jaipur, India.

Capacity development and training
2016. Pakistan.
Pakistan Workshop Images

Capacity development and training
Ongoing in 2018. Azerbaijan.


Our work involves collaboration with both industry and government, as well as across several academic disciplines.
We have ties with several international organisations, including:

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (IEEE SSIT)


The lack of access to clean, modern, sustainable energy continues to exacerbate poverty and hinder local economic development in poor and remote rural communities in developing Asia.  Developing Asia has also suffered some of the most damaging early manifestations of climate change. This, coupled with rising energy demand, is driving an energy transition towards low-carbon solutions. This energy transition is integral to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and is vital for improving the lives of billions of people around the world.

The following projects improve energy access and social inclusion in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Women in these countries traditionally manage the household chores of food processing and collecting fuel and water, which is back-breaking and time-consuming work. Access to modern energy can dramatically cut this workload. The research is developing frameworks and decision making tools to ensure the energy systems implemented benefit and empower women and by extension, their communities. For some communities, transformation comes with expansion of a country’s existing electricity grid. For more isolated or less populated communities, options may be limited to stand-alone solar, wind and micro-hydro systems, sometimes backed with diesel generators.

The breakthrough socio-technical modelling that the research is developing includes assessment of DER and microgrids to meet rural electrification needs in villages and in small towns with weak grid connections, incorporating advanced technology transfer and know-how into low-income communities to foster local economic development while also integrating measurable social inclusion criteria. These models are verified through test cases in the field, monitored over a multi-year period.

Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Maximizing Women’s Visibility in the Energy Sector
Access to regular power supply not only eased the burden of housework but also provided economic opportunities and advancement for women in remote rural villages in Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The video shows women getting into energy-based businesses and those working as village technicians who help maintain power lines.


Connecting Rajasthan's Solar Power to India's National Grid
A fast-growing solar power industry in India's Rajasthan will soon be transmitting up to 8,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the national grid. The $800 million Rajasthan Renewable Energy Transmission Investment Program, also provides livelihood opportunities for local communities.

Steady Energy Supply to Rural India Boosts Generation of Women Entrepreneurs
Armed with their skills and a reliable supply of electricity, women in India's villages are finding the energy to achieve their potential and become successful entrepreneurs. https://www.adb.org/news/videos/steady-energy-supply-rural-india-boosts-generation-women-entrepreneurs


External Advisors

  • Francesco Tornieri, Principal Social Development Specialist (GAD), South Asia Department, ADB
  • Pankaj Batra, Project Director, SARI/EI/IRADE & Ex-Chairperson and Member (Planning), Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India
  • Greg Adamson, Enterprise Fellow Cyber Security, University of Melbourne, SSIT Board (Society on Social Implications of Technology), IEEE Ad Hoc on TechEthics and Past President IEEE-Society on Social Implication of Technology

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