Project Assistant, Operations – Water-to-Cloud

We are seeking a science technician to work as part of the team in India for the Water-toCloud project. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with the senior research lead on the project and the project manager. The position is based out of Varanasi or the Kolkata region, India. The position is temporary and involves assisting in day-to-day operations related to a pilot project on the Ganga River. The responsibilities will be as an assistant in the scientific experiments and will involve the following duties and responsibilities.

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Scientist, river modelling – Water-to-Cloud Project

We are seeking a scientist with a background in fluid flow modeling to work on the Water-
to-Cloud project, in order to set up and execute mathematical models to study the flow and

spread of pollution in rivers and lakes. The scientist will work closely with experimentalists
and will use data generated by the sensor network to refine the simulations of the flow.
The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading science and engineering
researchers at the University of Chicago. The person will be working directly with Prof
Supratik Guha at the Institute for Molecular Engineering, the Principal Investigator for this
project and with other India based colleagues on the project. This is a temporary position
required to set up and execute the hydrodynamic model interface for the pilot project on
the Ganga River, as conceived by the Principal Investigator.


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In India, where there are more households without electricity access than any other country, the government has spent significantly on electrification programs over the past few decades. Yet progress is mixed. Many households still lack access, even in areas nominally served by the electric grid. Many other households that have recently gained access may not receive the quality of service that is required to see improvements in their lives. As a result, a new group of private companies are filling the gap with off-grid solutions. Solar mini-grids boast growth benefits as well as reduced environmental impact, yet their actual impacts are difficult to quantify, and they also face significant growth challenges.

In partnership with the largest network of mini-grid developers in the country, our project seeks to answer two separate questions: what is the demand for reliable solar mini-grid power in India, and what are the impacts of solar microgrids in India? To answer the first question, we will experimentally vary price/capacity offers for hours of reliable mini-grid electricity supply and offers for energy-efficient appliances.  We will examine differences in mean take-up, appliance ownership, and appliance utilization across treatment groups to estimate the demand for solar mini-grid energy at various price/capacity bundles. To address the second, we will use a regression discontinuity design to inexpensively examine the outcomes for sites just above the unit economics modelling cut-off (that were selected for mini-grid development) and sites that were just below (that were not selected).

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Research Consultant: SmartPower Mini-grids Project