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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Shailaja Fennell

Dr Shailaja  Fennell

Centre Fellow

University Lecturer in Development Studies

Fellow of Jesus College

Rural Transformations and the role of technology

Smart City-Smart Village linkages

Overcoming Educational, Skill and Employment Gaps in Youth Populations

Gender Norms and Gender Gaps in Labour Markets and Communities


PhD. Economics, Cambridge; M.Phil. Economics, Cambridge; M.Phil. Economics, Delhi; M.A. Economics Delhi; B.A. Economics, Delhi

Research Interests

My  research interests include institutional reform and implications for national and local decision making, rural development and agricultural sustainability;  youth migration and employment aspirations; provision of public goods, with a particular focus on public private partnerships in education. 

Click here to find out how mobile phones have helped me to understand the lives of young people in rural India, and what this has to do with global food security.

Dr. Fennell is a co-I on the successful GCRF bid Transforming India's Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies (TIGR2ESS), led by the University of Cambridge. She is the lead on the work package on Impacting the Well-Being of Urban and Rural Communities-through interventions in education, empowerment and entreprenuership to ensure health and nutrition. You can read more about the project by clicking on the link below

Research Supervision

I have successfully supervised 25 PhD students on topics that relate to my area of research interest. I have supervised over 75 M.Phil student dissertations. 


I teach a course on Development Policy on the Tripos paper and a course on Institutions and Development on the M.Phil.

Other Professional Activities

I have been working as a high level facilitator at the International Telecommunications Union, and recently published an article on smart villages and SDGs as part of their thought leader series

Key Publications

Gao, Y., and S. Fennell, The Role of Tunqin Guanxi in North China: A Case from Qingang, China Quarterly, (2017)

Fennell, S. (with R. Malik), Donors, Private Actors and Contracts: Recasting the Making and Ownership of Education Policy in Pakistan, in Verger, T., C. Lubienski and G. Steiner-Khamsi, (eds.) World Yearbook of Education 2016:  The Global Education Industry, Routledge, New York. (2015) 

Fennell, S. Development in Transition: Lessons from Central and South Asia, in Hasmath, R., eds. Inclusive Growth, Fennell, S. (with D. Clark) Democratic Freedoms, Capabilities and Public Provision: A Defence and Some Possible Extensions, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal for People-Centered Development, 15:4, 437-447, DOI: 10.1080/19452829.2014.967524 (2014)

Fennell, S. Public-Private Partnerships in Education and the Pursuit of Gender Equality: A View from South Asia. Development Policy Review, 5.3: ; DOI : 10.4000/poldev.1798, (2014)

Fennell, S. Policy Debate: Education and Employment Mismatch, Development Policy Review, (2014), 

Ulybina, O., and S. Fennell, Forest Certification in Russia: Challenges of Institutional Development, Ecological Economics,95, Pages 178–187 (2013)

Fennell, S. (with D. Clark and T. van Gevelt) Evidence Based Policy, Institutional Change and Poverty Impact, World Bank Institute Capacity and Results, World Bank, (2013), 

Fennell, S., (with P. Srivastava and C. Noronha), Private sector study: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Report submitted to DFID (India), (2013),

Fennell, S., A. Kaur and A. Singh, India and the Eurozone: A Commentary on the Political Economy of Adjustment and Correction, Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, 32 (1), 151-167, (2013)

Fennell, S., Low Fee Private Schools in Pakistan: A Blessing or a Bane? In Srivastava, P., ed. Low-Fee Private Schooling: aggravating equity or mitigating disadvantage? Symposium Books, 2013, (2013)

Fennell, S.,  Government Policy and Distribution of Grain: Revisiting the Reform of Agricultural Institutions in China and India, in Bagchi and D’Costa, (eds.) Transformation and Development: The Political Economy of Transition in India and China, Oxford University Press, 2012, 16 pages. (2012)

Fennell, S., Why Girls’ Education rather than gender equality? The strange political economy of PPPs in Pakistan, in Roberston, S. L., K. Munday, A. Verger and F. Menashy (eds) Public Private Partnerships in Education: New Actors and Modes of Governance in a Globalising World, Edward Elgar, 259-276. (2012).

Fennell, S. Malik, R. Agleby, G. and R., Akaazba, Changing forms of provision and impact on schooling outcomes in Ghana and Pakistan in C. Colclough (ed.) Education Outcomes and Poverty: A Reassessment. Routledge, 119-137. (2012)

Fennell, S., and R., Malik, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: the emerging educational market for the poor in Pakistan, Comparative Education. 48, 2, 249-261, (2012)

Educational Exclusion and Inclusive Development in India, in Saez, L., and G. Singh (eds.) New Dimensions of Politics in India: the United Progressive Alliance in power, Routledge, 39-52. (2014)

Fennell, S., Contested Notions of Water, No. 626, Special Issue of Seminar, October 2011. Available on the Seminar website at, (2011)

Fennell, S., Rules, rubrics and riches: the interrelations between legal reform and international development (2010), Routledge;

Gender Education and Equality in a Global Context: conceptual frameworks and policy perspectives (ed. with M. Arnot, 2008); Routledge.