Interdisciplinary initiative on law, technology and society

In 2020, NLSIU identified five focus areas where it will develop new interdisciplinary research clusters. These focus areas are: Labour and Work; Climate Justice; State Design and Reform; Access to Justice & Legal System Reform and Law, Technology and Society.

We are excited to announce the launch of the Law, Technology and Society cluster with the support of Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Founder-Chairperson of Arghyam, Co-Founder and Director of EkStep and a philanthropist who has committed to the Giving Pledge. This research cluster will integrate the work of faculty and researchers in law and public policy at NLSIU as well as others from leading institutions in science, technology and management.

The cluster will focus on:

  • Researching: on interdisciplinary and original empirical research that allows India to develop regulatory strategies and legal frameworks that respond to Indian and developing country contexts. Our researchers will engage with national and international law and policy making to ensure that these concerns shape and influence norm building.
  • Convening: diverse interests and voices affected by law and regulatory changes in this field that may be overlooked in current policy debates. We will re-engage with existing networks, and create new ones with affected communities, civil society groups, academic institutions and business entities in India and around the world.
  • Doing: designing and building innovative products and platforms for the public good. These initiatives could include new tools for public information and engagement, pilot projects and experimental governance frameworks for new technologies.

On the announcement, Ms Rohini Nilekani said, “To address some of our most critical and complex problems, we need to imagine approaches that centre both the individual and the system. Increasingly, such approaches are technology-enabled to create spaces where diverse solutions co-exist to work in context. However, there needs to be a horizontal underpinning of values that ensure the technologies and frameworks deployed achieve certain clear societal goals, such as universal access and inclusion. For that, we must surely be technology enabled, but not technology led. I am pleased that NLSIU is undertaking an interdisciplinary approach for this initiative, and hope it will foster many collaborations.”

On the significance of the initiative, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice Chancellor of NLSIU said, “We are grateful to Ms Rohini Nilekani and her team for their confidence in NLSIU’s ability to initiate and anchor this initiative. NLSIU has historically contributed tremendously to India’s technology ecosystem. We’ve supported research and policy development in collaboration with the government, provided human capital and professional services to India’s entrepreneurs and thought leaders in civil society and public interest advocacy groups in this field. This grant will help us grow and ensure that we continue to perform these roles in the 21st century.”