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Catalyst: Center for Sustainable Development
Catalyst is a global hub for researchers and changemakers from universities, businesses, NGOs, and governments from around the world, a place to come together and address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Located in Bangalore at the MSR India lab, Catalyst provides physical space and facilities to enable experts from different disciplines to effectively collaborate with each other and external communities to work towards solutions to some of the deep problems facing society today.

 

Motivation

The world has many challenges that affect the way we live now and how we will live in the future. In the Global South, these challenges are intensified by population pressures, resource constraints, and environmental degradation. Addressing problems in healthcare, education, water and waste management, energy, and the effects of climate change will require experts from multiple disciplines to work together. Innovations in information technologies and computing can play a critical role in enabling solutions, reducing costs, and speeding up the research process. At MSR, we have worked with leading researchers from around the world to execute cutting-edge research and innovation in computing to address some of these problems. For example, the Technology for Emerging Markets group has spent almost a decade exploring how computing can improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations in the developing world; similarly, Microsoft Research Connections has collaborated with researchers around the world in addressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, rainforest cover in Latin America and water resource management. Catalyst is designed to take work like this to the next level by bringing together changemakers and researchers from different fields to understand the challenges we face and engineer solutions for a better world.  

Services and facilities

Catalyst aims to provide a meeting ground for researchers in the ICTD space, foster collaborations and facilitate impactful research in the area. To enable this, Catalyst can provide a number of services to affiliate members depending on the nature of collaboration. These include physical space and infrastructure, networking with academic partners and other researchers, assisting with logistical challenges of field work, and so on. In addition, Catalyst may also provide resources such as cloud computing, depending on the need and nature of collaboration. Catalyst will also organize seminars and workshops on relevant topics to connect researchers, identify challenges, and foster collaboration.

Catalyst is supported by Microsoft Research and specifically by Microsoft Research Connections and the Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) research teams.

Affiliate program

Please contact MSR Catalyst for more details about the Catalyst Affiliate program.

Some current projects at the Catalyst

The following is a sample of some of the projects that are currently in the Catalyst:

1) Massively Empowered Classrooms

2) IVR Junction

3) qCards

4) VidWiki

5) Rich Interactive Narratives

Please contact MSR Catalyst if you are interested in these projects.

Research agenda

We are interested in projects from the following non-exhaustive list of research areas:

Urban issues

  • Water management
  • Sanitation
  • Waste management

Health

  • Maternity
  • Nutrition
  • Disease

Education

  • Online education (all ages)
  • K-12
  • Vocational and continuing education for low-income

Humanities

Governance and civic participation

Nature and wildlife conservation

Climate change

Disaster Management

Please contact us at MSR Catalyst if you’d like to propose a project to us.