Medha Mukherjee

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Geography and the Environment

Supervisor: Professor Rob Hope

Intersectional Inequalities and Rural Drinking Water Choices in India

Academic Profile

Medha currently examines the intersections of politics, public policy, governance and finance in the delivery of essential services, such as safe drinking water to every household in rural India. Focusing on inequalities and intersectionality, she is interested in how inclusive and sustainable outcomes can be reached through national, state and individual choices. Gathering extensive and in-depth empirical evidence is a critical component of her work. She grounds her academic research in the lived experiences and narratives of communities, government decision-makers, political leaders and anyone in between. In 2023, she became the first Indian woman to receive the Frederick Soddy Postgraduate Award from the Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers.

Growing up in India, Medha has been sensitized to the juxtaposition of excess and inadequacy, in both rural and urban settings. Travelling across India's diverse landscape, particularly the Himalaya, has shaped her perception of the delicate balance that exists between humans and the natural world. Her study of the Ethics and the Classics, as an English Literature undergraduate, has been pivotal in informing her research interests. Her five-year background as a writer in the film industry, especially for documentaries, contributes to her diverse methods which include photo-documentation, semi-structured interviews, surveys, multi-sited ethnography and archival research. She remains a strong advocate of transcending disciplinary boundaries, and is happy to engage in any discussion, academic and beyond, to further inclusivity.



  • Master of Science in Water Science, Policy and Management (with Distinction), University of Oxford, UK
  • Bachelor of Arts (with First Class Honours) in English Literature, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India


  • Oxford Indira Gandhi Scholarship for DPhil in Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, 2022-present
  • Felix Scholarship for MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management, University of Oxford, 2020-2021


  • Travel and Special Project Grant awarded by Somerville College, University of Oxford, 2024
  • Scholar Development Award from the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, 2023
  • Frederick Soddy Postgraduate Award from the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers, 2023
  • Catherine Hughes Grant awarded by Somerville College, University of Oxford, 2022

Selected Publications

Research Article

Working Paper

Medha Mukherjee
Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment