The India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator

Municipal workers on vehicle in Rajpath, Delhi engulfed by smog
Photo credit: PradeepGaurs, and J-PAL South Asia launched the India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator in May 2023, with support from Wellcome. The Accelerator aims to create a sustainable and scalable model to strengthen the data capacity of the social sector in India.

To achieve its goal, the Accelerator combines interdisciplinary data skills training with fellowships in social impact organizations. The talent-building programs are anchored at leading Indian universities Ashoka University, BITS Pilani, and IIIT Delhi, while the fellowships are curated by J-PAL South Asia.

About the Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN)

CAN seeks to transform the use of data for social impact by training a new generation of diverse, purpose-driven data practitioners, and enabling social sector organizations to unlock the power of data to meet their missions.

CAN is a global initiative led by India is the third capacity accelerator created under CAN, following the launch of the United States and sub-Saharan Africa Accelerators, led by the University of Chicago and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, respectively.

What We Do

The India Data Capacity Accelerator gives social impact professionals and organizations vital tools for using data to address critical challenges at the intersection of climate and health.

The goals of CAN are achieved through three main pillars:

  1. Training a new generation of data practitioners with a focus on social impact.
  2. Connecting skilled practitioners with social sector organizations like government agencies and nonprofits to address critical, real-world problems.
  3. Boosting the ecosystem of data for social impact through the development of open-source curricula and templates for data governance, and unlocking new datasets.

The Accelerator’s academic partners will train existing and aspiring data talent on harnessing, analyzing, and applying data to policy problems. J-PAL South Asia will then curate one-year fellowship opportunities for a select group of professionals, placing them in social impact organizations on innovative projects leveraging climate and health data.

This approach builds on J-PAL South Asia’s fifteen years of experience working collaboratively with ecosystem partners to ensure that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

Initiative Partners

Wellcome Trust Ashoka University BITS Pilani


IIIT Delhi University of Chicago



Join a network of stakeholders committed to using data to drive positive change in India. 


Are you an aspiring data scientist with a passion for social impact? Join our Fellowship Program and be a part of projects that make a real difference. As a Data Fellow, you'll receive mentorship, training, and hands-on experience in applying data science to critical challenges.

In order to be eligible for a Fellowship, you must graduate from one of the three specialized postgraduate diploma programs created by our university partners:

Interested and eligible graduates from these programs will undergo a rigorous selection process led by J-PAL South Asia, and successful candidates will be placed for full-time Fellowships (1 year) and Apprenticeships (3 months) with partnering social impact organizations.

Data Fellows

Alok Arunam

Alokita Jha

Pravesh Kumari

Saurabh Levin

Vinoj P Raj

Cyrus Graham Reginald

Kannan Sobti

Anuja Venkatachalam

Nikhila Vijay

Host Organizations

If you're a nonprofit or government agency working on social impact projects, our Data Fellows (one year) and Apprentices (three months) can help you unlock the power of data. Host a Fellow and gain access to cutting-edge data skills to enhance your climate and/or health data projects. Learn more.

Partner engagement is a three-step process:

  1. Data maturity assessment: This assessment helps us understand the current data infrastructure, practices, and capabilities within your organization to tailor the fellowship experience to your needs. (25 minutes)
  2. Partner form: Share details about your organization’s activities, use of climate/health data, and expectations from the fellowship. This allows us to assess your alignment with our program objectives and ensure a mutually beneficial partnership. (25 minutes)
  3. Eligible organizations will be contacted for further discussions on partnership potential and to explore the climate and health data projects that fellows can undertake.
ARTPARK CivicDataLab Collective Good Foundation


Khushi Baby
Population Council Waste Warriors WELL Labs


We are looking for seasoned data scientists and domain experts to shape the next generation of social impact professionals, and engage with exciting, new problem statements in climate change and health. Learn more about the mentorship program and access the application form here.


Mohammad Sarfarazul Ambiya
Chief Data Scientist, Khushi Baby

Taha Barwahwala
Predoctoral Fellow, Columbia University

Kiran Bhagavatula
Senior Manager, Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE)

Somya Gupta
Head of ML and Site Lead, EarnIn

Shivaram K R
Co-Founder & CEO, Hue Learn

Gautam Rajeev
Senior Data Scientist, Samagra

Avtar Singh
Senior Director of Engineering & Chief Architect, RoamBee

Madhan Kumar Srinivasan
Co-Founder & CEO, Wise Work

Advisory Committee

Sekhar Bonu

ex-Director General
NITI Aayog

Rachna Nag Chowdhuri

Senior Vice President - Impact
Global Innovation Fund

Priyank Hirani

Associate Director, Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN)

Amir Jina

Assistant Professor,
Harris School of Public Policy, 
University of Chicago

Shobhini Mukerji

Executive Director
J-PAL South Asia

Shloka Nath

India Climate Collaborative 

Devavrat Shah

Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT;
Founding Director, Statistics and Data Science Center, MIT;
Co-founder, Ikigai Labs

Veena Srinivasan

Executive Director, 
WELL (Water, Environment, Land and Livelihoods) Labs

Our Team

The India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator team at J-PAL South Asia consists of research, data, and policy experts working out of multiple Indian cities.

Tithee Mukhyopadhyay

Deputy Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia

Provides institutional support and guidance to the initiative

Aparna Krishnan

Project Director and Advisor, J-PAL South Asia

Provides advisory support to the set-up and design of the initiative

Aditi Namdeo

Director - Strategic Initiatives, J-PAL South Asia

Leads initiative vision, strategy, and growth through strategic public and private partnerships

Sanya Sareen

Research Manager, J-PAL South Asia

Leads project pipeline creation through new partner and project development and manages overall project execution

Supported by:

Divya Goel

Lead (Manager) - Talent Enablement, J-PAL South Asia

Supports the team by managing fellow intake into the program

Unnati Patel

Policy Associate, J-PAL South Asia

Supports the team on building the project pipeline and provides key policy support


G20/C20 Launch Event for India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator on May 15, 2023.

(From Left to Right) Perry Hewitt (Chief Marketing and Product Officer,, Dr Pramath Sinha, Ashoka University, Suman Kundu, Director, BITS Pilani Goa, Aparna Krishnan, Project Director, J-PAL South Asia and Ranjan Bose, Director, IIIT-D engage in a discussion at the launch of the India Data Capacity Accelerator.  Credit:
(From left to right) Perry Hewitt (Chief Marketing and Product Officer,, Ranjan Bose (Director, IIIT-D), Suman Kundu (Director, BITS Pilani Goa), Aparna Krishnan (Project Director, J-PAL South Asia), and Pramath Raj Sinha (Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University) engage in a discussion at the launch of the India Data Capacity Accelerator. Credit:

On May 15th 2023, and J-PAL South Asia launched the India Data Capacity Accelerator and announced the names of the three premier universities in India joining the initiative: Ashoka University, BITS Pilani, and IIIT Delhi. In partnership with these universities, the India Accelerator will support the ambitious work of equipping emerging professionals with the interdisciplinary data skills needed to address challenges at the intersection of climate and health.

The launch of the accelerator was celebrated at a day-long convening of leaders across sectors hosted by and the Working Group on Sustainable and Resilient Communities: Climate, Environment, and Net Zero Targets under Civil Society 20 during India’s G20 Presidency 2023. The convening took place at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi, where participants presented expert perspectives and discussed shared goals for impact through the creation of data capacity for climate and health.

J-PAL South Asia & Roundtable on ‘Unlocking the Potential of Climate and Health Data’ on May 16, 2023

The J-PAL South Asia & Roundtable
(From left to right) Perry Hewitt (Chief Marketing and Product Officer,, Ranjan Bose (Director, IIIT-D), Suman Kundu (Director, BITS Pilani Goa), Aparna Krishnan (Project Director, J-PAL South Asia), and Pramath Raj Sinha (Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University) engage in a discussion at the launch of the India Data Capacity Accelerator. Credit:

This discussion was part of a series of events marking the launch of the India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator. Attendees highlighted topics and priority themes such as participatory data science, cross-sectoral collaboration, human-centered data systems, and amplifying impact through use cases and champions. The discussions unveiled several priorities and opportunities for driving positive change through data-driven initiatives in the social sector.

To learn more about the roundtable including the key ideas and opportunities discussed and the names of the attendee organizations, please click here.

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