WASHINGTON, DC: Two Indian nationals from the University of Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science have been named recipients of Harvard University’s illustrious Radcliffe fellowship.
Maharaja Pandit of the University of Delhi and Shivani Agarwal of the Indian Institute of Science were both among this year’s class of Radcliffe fellowship honorees, joining 48 others who will begin their tenure as fellows in September 2015.
The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 scholars, scientists, artists, and writers of exceptional promise and carries an average acceptance rate of only 5 percent. According to NDTV, only 3 percent of applications were accepted this year. The Chronicle of Higher Education described the Institute as a place where “lives get turned around, books get written, and discoveries are made, all the result of time spent among intellectual peers.”
Pandit was named a fellow on the merit of his Himalaya Lab, which he runs through the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Delhi.
“The Himalaya Lab is a research, teaching and training initiative to focus attention of students, academics, NGOs, policy planners, and the general public toward the importance of Himalayan ecosystems in generating natural resources varying from hydrological to genetic,” according to the project’s official website.
Aside from serving as the head of his department at Delhi University, Pandit has also been a visiting senior fellow to the University Scholars Program at the National University of Singapore since 2012.
Agarwal’s research focuses on machine learning and learning theory, and more broadly, the intersection of computer science, mathematics, and statistics. She currently serves an assistant professor and Ramanujan fellow in the Department of Computer Science and Automation at the Indian Institute of Science, where she leads the Machine Learning and Learning Theory Group and co-directs the Indo-U.S. Joint Center for Advanced Research in Machine Learning, Game Theory and Optimization.
Agarwal received her bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and as a Nehru scholar at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, respectively, and her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before embarking on her faculty career she served as a postdoctoral lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It is an honor to provide these innovative thinkers with time, space, and intellectual stimulation to do their best work in ways that often defy expectations and disciplinary boundaries,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen in a press release. “As Radcliffe fellows, they are sure to develop unusual collaborations, take unexpected risks, and generate new ideas.”