Pune Knowledge Cluster
Urban tree cover can significantly reduce atmospheric CO2 levels & particulate matter. Pune Municipal
Corporation recently conducted a city tree census with data on 25+ attributes of each tree.
Using AI-based analysis of this big data set and ecological data of the past 50-years, we will run
projects to understand characters of existing tree cover, model carbon sequestration & particulate
matter absorption, and plan plantation of local trees to close ecological gaps, etc.
Shantanu Goel, Anita Kane, Ashwini Keskar.
Outbreaks of Dengue, Chikungunya and other infectious diseases have been on the rise in Pune,
a city with diverse and fluctuating communities with differential access to nutrition and healthcare.
Under the health vertical PKC proposed to establish collaborations to aid in understanding the
prevalence of infectious diseases using vector dynamics and viral epidemics.
Data will be collected at city-level and analysed to understand its correlation with outbreaks
and design better preventive measures.
PKC Coordinators: Anita Kane, Ajit Kembhavi, Rupa Mishra, L. S. Shashidhara
The capacity building vertical of the Pune knowledge cluster aims to provide new opportunities to students,
young researchers and professionals to improve their knowledge base and acquire advanced skills through
interdisciplinary training programmes. Since January 2021, the cluster has conducted 3 courses and 2 more
are to begin shortly. Many more courses are in the pipeline. Two webinars were also conducted. The courses
are attended by students, young researchers and young professionals from Pune and other places in the country.
PKC Coordinators: Surendra Ghaskadbi, Shilpa Jain, Prachi Pasalkar
Metro services are being set up in Pune city. However, the transportation to and from metro stations
and final destinations also needs to be thought of. This project will undertake extensive study,
analysis and modelling to design transport solutions for last mile connectivity by small electric
public transport vehicles (e-rickshaw, e-taxi, ride share, cycles, etc.).
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is a concept that enables plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) to act as a form of
distributed energy storage by providing demand-response services to the power grid. Similarly,
Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) connects EVs to the household electric supply, allowing for storage in EV
batteries in times of low-cost availability and usage in times of power outage. The project will
develop pilot technologies to facilitate V2G & V2H.
PKC Coordinators: Anita Kane, Ajit Kembhavi, Rashmi Urdhwareshe
While each of the first three verticals will involve extensive use of Big Data and Artificial
Intelligence (AI), this vertical will also by itself be a source of new ideas and projects.
The projects presently envisaged will rely on collection of large data sets and their analysis
using AI and Machine Learning, and will involve a component of capacity building.
PKC Coordinators: Ajit Kembhavi, Disha Sawant
This project proposes a two-pronged strategy for climate resilience of the Pune region
(A) Reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicles to the best extent possible:
This part of the project focuses on reducing GHG emissions through mobility interventions.
(B) Create a sink (tree plantation) for the residual emissions: Leveraging the data for the tree
census of Pune, this part of the project will estimate the carbon sequestration capacity for
the region in the coming 3-10 years. It would also serve as a decision tool for urban planning.
Part (A) and Part (B) are conceived as two separate workstreams. This brief is regarding Part B
which has commenced. The key modules of this part include (i) model plantation by land use category
(ii) sapling adoption (iii) Tree recruitment (iv) tree mortality and (iv) tree growth measurements
and data modeling. The decision tool (with predictive modeling) will be used by the Pune Municipal
Corporation for Urban Planning. The project outcomes are scalable to other smart cities in India
Agharkar Research Institute, Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation
(BAIF), Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bengaluru, Departments of Botany & Statistics,
Ecological Society, SP Pune University, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) Wildlife
Research & Conservation Society. The participatory components will leverage ecology and
biology and statistics students and volunteers from local communities.
Shantanu Goel, Anita Kane, Ashwini Keskar.
Vector Dynamics and Viral Epidemics - COVID19
PKC Activities and Outcomes:
During the Covid19 pandemic, PKC collaborated with the local officials to develop and
implement local policies based on the analysis of the COVID-19 patient-level data.
PKC undertook the data curation and processing in association with collaborators from
different institutes across Pune. The data analysis and modeling helped forecast the
progression of the pandemic and identification of hotspot areas as well as assessment of
impact of lockdown. Periodic reports submitted to PKC helped in shaping local public health
policies and a web based application to derive incident COVID19 cases over time was also
developed. The efforts during the pandemic also helped initiate the project to assess
seropositivity in the population.
AFMC, BJ Medical College, IISER-Pune, IUCAA, NCL, Persistent Systems,
SP Pune University, Symbiosis Statistical Institute, TCS
Ajit Kembhavi, Ashwini Keskar, L.S. Shashidhara
PKC is currently working on establishing a scalable epidemiological database to be used in
Pune region. There are a few databases existing in the city although they are mostly localized
and focused on a particular disease. Data curation during the pandemic also brought to light
the issues with data collection across the city such as missing variables or data points.
The epidemiology project led by Dr. Vidya Mave, of B. J. Medical College will undertake a
formative assessment of the existing databases and design and develop a scalable
epidemiological database to be implemented across Pune city. PKC will facilitate collaborations
with the local authorities and public and private hospitals to facilitate the formative
assessment. The industry collaborations of PKC such as Persistent Systems will provide
technology support required for the project.
AFMC, BJ Medical College, IISER-Pune, IUCAA, NCL, Persistent
Systems, SP Pune University, Symbiosis Statistical Institute, TCS
Anita Kane, Ajit Kembhavi, Rupa Mishra, L.S. Shashidhara
Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA)
PKC is also working on collaborations to aid the Indian Cancer Genome Project (ICGA) to
establish an indigenously developed, open-source comprehensive database of molecular profiles
of cancers in Indian population, beginning with breast cancer.
The initial ICGA efforts in Pune will help establish the pipelines and SOPs to undertake a
nation-wide consortium project. PKC will facilitate the ICGA investigators in establishing
a network of consortium partners and industry collaborations to enable the successful
implementation of the project.
Ajit Kembhavi, Rupa Mishra, L.S. Shashidhara
Increase in forest cover on Reserve Forest and tree cover on private lands within PMR. Under
the forest and tree cover it is proposed to initially draft an Integrated Conservation and
Management Plan for the Reserve Forests and private lands. Further, a proposal to afforest a
11 sq.km. degraded Reserve Forest in the vicinity of Pune City is in the final stages of
completion. PKC will cater to the scientific/technical and monitoring aspects of the projects
drafted under the tree and forest cover, collaborations will be forged with implementing
Developing a Sustainable Water Policy for Pune Municipal Region:
PMRDA is in the process of developing a Water Policy for the PMR region. PKC would like to
help draft a SUSTAINABLE WATER POLICY and increase forest/tree cover in six of the nine
talukas: PKC will study and help draft the policy on the following sub-thematic areas:
Water Availability – ground and surface; Water Use – agriculture, drinking and household
including gardens and industrial; Water Discharge – sewage and industrial; Rain Water
Management – harvesting and flooding; Analysis of National, State and Local Levels legal
frameworks and policies; Mapping of all policy and schemes of National, State and Local
Levels for judicious use of resources and Impact assessment for climate change and methods
for mitigation and adaptation.
PKC, as part of its capacity building initiative, collaborates with various institutes across
pune to provide new opportunities and improve knowledge base through interdisciplinary training
programmes. Since January 2021, the cluster has conducted 3 courses which were very well
received. In the coming month, there are currently 3 more courses that are scheduled to begin
shortly with many more in the pipeline. The courses are catered to students, young researchers
and professionals to provide a platform to acquire advanced skills as well as
Agharkar Research Institute, ICERTIS, Persistent Systems, Praj Industries,
Serum Institute of Pune, TCS.
Surendra Ghaskadbi, Prachi Pasalkar
PKC in collaboration with partner institutes also periodically organizes lectures, colloquia
and webinar on various topics from leading experts in the field. The talks are open to all and
provide a platform to raise awareness and understanding on different topics in an accessible
format. Till date PKC has organized three webinars including a discussion on the COVID19
pandemic which brought together academic and industry experts.