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 is a qualitative researcher. She examines the intersections of politics, public policy and finance in the governance and delivery of essential services, such as safe drinking water to every household in rural India. She is interested in how inclusive outcomes can be reached through national, state and individual choices, with a focus on inequalities and intersectionality. Gathering extensive empirical evidence is a critical component of her work. She grounds her academic research in the lived experiences and narratives of a wide range of stakeholders, including communities, institutional decision-makers, political leaders and anyone in between. In 2023, she became the first Indian woman to receive the Frederick Soddy Postgraduate Award by 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 Ethics and the Classics, as an English Literature undergraduate, has been pivotal in informing her current research interests. Her five-year background as a writer for the film industry, particularly, documentaries, contributes to her diverse research methods as she focuses on photo-documentation, personal, public and political narratives, and discourses. 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


  • Scholars 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 from Somerville College, University of Oxford, 2022

Selected Publications

Research Article

Working Paper

  • Hope, R., McNicholl, D., Mukherjee, M. and Dickinson, N. (2023) Keeping piped water flowing in rural India. Uptime Global and Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Medha Mukherjee
Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment