Dr. Vikrom Mathur has over a decade of professional experience, straddling research and policy advice, at the interface of societal change and adaptation to environmental risks. His diverse research interests include: decision-making under ‘uncertainty’; social and cultural perceptions of environmental risk; dynamics between science and public policy; political and social context of scientific knowledge about Nature; Cultural Theory; sociology, philosophy and history of environmental science; epistemic cultures and future studies. He received his Doctorate of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, Institute for Science, Society and Innovation. The focus of his research was on institutional frameworks for climate adaptation decision making around the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia. His research explores how ‘myths of nature’ frame plural narratives about adaptation to climate change in Cambodia. His research draws upon and contributes to literature that takes anthropological insights from the study of “primitive religions” in the work of Mary Douglas and applies them to modern social-scientific problems.
Vikrom has undertaken consultancy assignments for various multilateral and bilateral development agencies including: Asian Development Bank; African Development Bank; Mekong River Commission; United Nations Environment Program; United Nations Development Program, Swedish Red-cross and the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency. His areas of consultancy expertise include: institutional analysis; strategic environmental assessment; climate adaptation science and policy; vulnerability assessments; public participation in scientific assessments; disaster management and design and facilitation of interlinked scientific assessments and policy processes. He has worked in over ten different countries but his focus has been on the Mekong Region: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China. He led the development of a Strategic Environmental Framework for the Asian Development Bank’s program for economic integration in the Mekong. He led the establishment of a collaborative research and knowledge network in the Mekong region (SUMERNET). He is amongst the lead authors of the vulnerability chapter of United Nations Environment Programs Global Environmental Outlook 2004.
After fifteen years, in 2012, he left his Research Fellow position at the Stockholm Environment Institute to setup the Centre for Science in Society (CS2) in India. CS2 conducts policy research and cultivates public discourse at the interface of science, technology and society. CS2 seeks to improve public understanding of how the development and use of science and technology is shaped by society; its choices, wants, needs, fears, values, beliefs, power structures and institutional processes. CS2 aims to support decisions that align science and technology policies in India with societal objectives of social justice, poverty alleviation, environment sustainability and democratic accountability.
He received Bachelors in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from McGill University, Canada and Masters in Regional Planning from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Vikrom describes himself as an environmental scientist and a sociologist of science and strives to deploy his ‘undisciplined’ thinking and multidisciplinary perspective to think ‘out of the box’ about complex environmental policy challenges.