Harini Nagendra

Born in: India
Primary research category: Ecology
Research location / employer: Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India
Fellowship dates: 2003-2008

Academic Career

  • Professor – Sustainability, School of Development, Azim Premji University, 2014 – present
  • External Affiliated Faculty, Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2015 – present
  • Hubert H. Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, Macalester College, Saint Paul Minnesota, 2013
  • Department of Science and Technology Ramanujan Fellow, ATREE, 2009 -2013
  • Asia Research Coordinator, Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC), Indiana University, Bloomington, 2000 – 09
  • Post-doctoral research associate, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 1999 – 2000


  • PhD, Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, 1999
  • MS, Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, 1995

Fellowship Research

Dr. Harini Nagendra is an ecologist who uses satellite remote sensing coupled with field studies of biodiversity, archival research, institutional analysis, and community interviews to examine the factors shaping the social-ecological sustainability of forests and cities in the south Asian context. She currently coordinates a large program of urban sustainability research focusing on the cities of the global South.

She also engages with international research on global environmental change and is on the Scientific Steering Committees of the Global Land Project, and the Programme for Ecosystem Change and Society. In the past, she has served as a Steering Committee Member of Diversitas and a Capacity Building Committee member of the Asia Pacific Network for Global Environmental Change, and was a Lead Author of the 5th IPCC Report – Working Group III.

Major Contributions

  • Launched a long term programme of research on urban sustainability.
  • Published a book entitled “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future” (Oxford University Press India, 2016) which examines the transformation of human-nature interactions in Bangalore from the 6th century CE to the present.
  • Published a book entitled “Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities” (Penguin India, 2019).

Major Awards

  • Clarivate Analytics – Thompson Reuters India Research Excellence – Citation Awards, 2017
  • Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar Award for Collective Governance of the Commons, 2013
  • Cozzarelli Prize for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, “Insights on Linking Forests, Trees and People from the Air, on the Ground, and in the Lab”, with Elinor Ostrom, 2007
  • START (“global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training”) Young Scientist Awards for outstanding research paper on global environmental change, 2002
  • Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Young Scientist Medal, 2001
  • Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Professor LSS Kumar Memorial Award, 2001
  • Shamrao Kaikini award for best doctoral thesis in Biological and Chemical Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, 1999

Collaborative Projects with other Branco Weiss Fellows