Researching for a better climate policy

Ratna Priya Bysani is a Humboldt Climate Protection Fellow at TU Darmstadt


The Indian political scientist Ratna Priya Bysani has been a Climate Protection Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at TU Darmstadt since April. We asked the 29-year-old and her host, Professor Markus Lederer of the Institute of Political Science, a few questions about their research.

Professor Markus Lederer and Ratna Priya Bysani

Ms. Bysani, how do you explain your field of research to non-experts?

Bysani: It is essential for every country to combat climate change and pursue its development goals at the same time. Often, though, the policies required for this conflict, and there is no integration of the policy approaches due to a lack of coordination between the government agencies involved. In India in particular – a rapidly developing emerging market that is already struggling with the consequences of climate change – there is a need to overcome the strong institutional fragmentation and develop integrated policy approaches. My research focuses on the problems of such integration and on the opportunities it presents.

Will the results of your research have a concrete impact on our daily lives now, or at a later date?

Bysani: The results of my research may not have an immediate impact on our daily lives, but the knowledge gained will prompt India and other national governments to focus on reforming governance structures and functions. This will have long-term implications, not only in terms of climate protection, but also in terms of the overall socio-economic development of the world.

Why did you choose TU Darmstadt for your research stay?

Bysani: TU Darmstadt is known for having one of the best political science departments in Europe, with many international researchers. The main reason, however, is my visiting professor Markus Lederer, who is a significant contributor to research in the field of climate governance.

What lasting impressions will you take home from your time in Darmstadt and Germany?

Bysani: The German research environment is highly collaborative and encouraging in terms of transdisciplinary studies. Over the past few months, I have been able to participate in various conferences where I was able to meet researchers from different fields and have insightful discussions that opened up difference aspects of understanding and solving problems. Also, a lot of emphasis is placed on balancing work and family in Germany, which is not the case in India.

Professor Lederer, what do you particularly appreciate about your guest, or what impresses you the most?

Lederer: Ratna is very well versed in the details of India's climate policy and has many insights into the inner workings of India's political and administrative system. She is also highly committed to learning more and benefiting from her stay in Darmstadt, Germany and Europe.

How do you, your team and TU Darmstadt benefit from your guest's visit?

Lederer: Half our team is non-European, and Ratna is great at blending in and getting to know us all and what we're working on individually.