S. Chandrasekhar, a trained economist and a faculty member at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in Mumbai, India, was looking to gain an in-depth understanding on issues relating to urbanization.
At an International Union for the Scientific Study of Population conference, he met Dr. Mark Montgomery, a senior associate at the Population Council, whose research focuses on urban population growth, poverty, and health. Inspired by Montgomery’s work, in 2007 he applied and was accepted into the first cohort of the Fred H. Bixby Fellowship program, which matched early-career social and biomedical scientists from low- and middle-income countries with experienced Council mentors.
During his fellowship, Chandrasekhar thrived intellectually under the mentorship of Montgomery, and expanded his network through collaborations with other Council researchers and professionals working on urbanization. These experiences advanced his expertise in a variety of urban issues, such as housing, migration, urban poverty, and rural-urban dynamics. He explains: “The most important skill is the ability to think. The Bixby experience helped me to strengthen my thinking on select aspects of urbanization in developing countries.”
Today, Chandrasekhar is Professor at IGIDR, Mumbai and an expert in the field of urbanization in India. He has written extensively on worker mobility and internal migration, and more recently, on earnings and income inequality. He was awarded the Mahalanobis Memorial Medal 2016 by The Indian Econometric Society for outstanding contributions to the field of quantitative economics. “The Bixby Fellowship, by facilitating my interactions with Mark, went a long way in shaping who I am today,” Chandrasekhar said. “For this I will remain eternally grateful to the Population Council and Mark.”
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