Apply for the Wipro Sustainability

Seeding Fellowship

Applications are now open for the 2018-19 cycle. We are looking for applications mainly in the area of “Urban Ecology”.  In addition to the themes mentioned below (water, waste, biodiversity, mobility, energy), we also encourage applications which are around macro themes of ecological planning, ecosystem services and urban development impacts. At our discretion, we may decide to select one or two fellows working in ecology issues in non-urban areas.

Registrations for the 2018 programs are closed

Fellowship Criteria

We are looking for action research projects which are in the nature of demonstrable pilots that help to (a) demonstrate the potential to scale up to the ward/zone level of a city (b) or result in any significant influence at a policy or planning level framework at the city level. Applications that are centered on pure academic research,advocacy or activism to the exclusion of other elements are unlikely to be selected. We are looking at approaches that combine all the elements with a strong emphasis on action backed by robust empirical research.

The objective of the fellowship program is to provide funding and mentoring for the first 2-3 formative years of an early stage organization. The proposal should be from a new organisation or where there is intent to develop capacity and formally set-up one within the fellowship duration. The proposal should be for a pair of fellowships from the same organization (the organization is free to include more resources; however, the fellowship is limited to two fellows from one organization). This is in line with our essential objective of building organizational capacity; in other words, we do not encourage individuals working on their own.

For a new organization, the first 6 months to 1 year would typically be engaged in finalizing the broad contours of the work and operational planning. We would expect Year 2 and 3 to focus on operationalising/implementing pilots on the ground as well as focusing on organisation development.

The fellowship duration would be from 2 years to 3 years, with a fellowship amount of Rs. 30,000/- per fellow per month. The fellow is free to seek other sources of funding (government, private), however,in all such cases,Wipro should be kept informed of the same.

Theme 1: Urban Water

Indian cities are in the grip of water crises of multiple dimensions and paradoxes. Scarcity, flooding, waste water flows, health issues,inequities in availability, supply and quality impact and influence livability and sustainability of our cities. Cities are dependent on far off lakes (like in Chennai, Mumbai) and rivers (like in Bengaluru, Hyderabad). India is a groundwater economy. We use 25% of all groundwater extracted globally, ahead of the US and China. This dependency, direct and indirect through consumption footprint of food and products, is also true for Indian cities. We have little scientific understanding of ground water in an urban context and management practices informed from that.Similarly, what happens to waste water in cities and how it can be harvested effectively and economically is not widely understood or practiced. Land use planning in urban areas seldom looks at water recharge, flood mitigation, reuse and waste water treatment and flows. However, over the last decade, urban commons like lakes and rivers are increasingly in the focus of citizen movements and civil society organisations. Resident welfare associations have also implemented unique water conservation programs.


Indicative work areas:

Theme 2: Urban Waste

Convenience, consumerism and eventual gentrification of consumer behavior are slow cultural and political processes which are difficult to reverse.  However, they create significant environmental externalities – garbage dumping, increasing use of disposables, landfills and associated social inequalities. Some examples of positive engagement in cities are in the area of waste segregation and social benefits for waste pickers. 


Indicative work areas:

Theme 3: Mobility

Urban mobility in Indian cities is an emerging interplay and dynamic between mobility options (non-motorised, motorised, public transport), land use planning and priorities.These in turn are influenced by design, culture, values and choices.There are again different notions of the same between and among planners, government and citizens. Urban planning and design has a key role in sustainable mobility choices. What ails mobility planning in Indian cities?Rapid and unplanned Urban development (which in most cases leapfrogs planning) inherently locks-in or forces certain kinds of mobility choices.


Indicative work areas:

Theme 4: Biodiversity

What is biodiversity in urban landscapes? What are the ecosystem services that it provides? Does planning for biodiversity make cities and communities more resilient? How do communities and urban planners understandthis? What is the impact to citizens and species which cohabit? Nature in the cities or urban biodiversity is among the least understood areas.


Indicative work areas:

Theme 5: Air Quality

Air quality in Indian cities ranks among the worst globally. This is leading to severe health issues, drop in productivity and disproportionately impacts vulnerable citizens like children, old age, poor and other such sections of the society.  We know the underlying causes in most cities – automotive, road dust, waste burning/landfills, crop burning (for example Delhi) and construction activities. We also seem to know the solutions – shift to public and non-motorised transport, stringent norms on automobile emissions and construction practices, waste management, land use planning reducing transport and increasing green cover etc. However, like other urban environment issues, there are significant gaps in intent and implementation. Air pollution isa subject were attributionto a source can be a challenge and citizen engagement can be difficult to galvanize (especially when its impacts are in the medium to long term)

Indicative work areas:

Details of the seeding program

Mentoring and capacity building

Depending on the number of fellows selected for a theme and logistics, we plan to arrange capacity building interactions (in person or through conference call) with domain experts.


Quantum, Mode and Duration of Support

Quantum: Rs. 3.6 lakhs per year per fellow

Duration: Between 2- 3 years

Mode:  Quarterly


  • The fellowship is designed to support only living costs and will not support infrastructure or operating expenses of any kind
  • Here we encourage the fellows to explore other sources of funds – extant government programs/resources, other NGOs/CSOs or community resources
  • Prior intimation/approval from Wipro is required in case of soliciting financial support from other entities (individuals, private businesses or corporates)


Guiding Principles

The fellowship is Wipro’s seeding program for urban ecology CSOs and social entrepreneurs.

It is to help support the creation and development of new organizations that work on the problems of environmental sustainability in a more holistic and integrated manner. The Fellowship particularly seeks proposals/applications which are:

  • Bold and unconventional ideas for tackling key urban ecology problems
  • Context appropriate
  • Outcomes within the project timeframe that can be scaled up or replicated
  • Integrate innovative approaches – people, local culture for example
  • A balanced, pragmatic approach.

Conditions for Continued Support

The continued provision of the fellowship amount would be subject to adherence to the clauses of the agreement signed between the Fellow and Wipro and satisfactory progress on the plans submitted during the selection stage (including an organizational development plan); as determined by periodic reviews and discussions; and a detailed annual review.

Apply now

After registering, you will be able to view and fill out the Expression of Interest form.

Thank you for your interest in the Wipro Ecological Sustainability Fellowship.

Registrations for the 2018 programs are closed

For any queries, you could reach  out to eco<dot>eye<at>Wipro<dot>com

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