Ms. Stacey Hirsh
Specialization: Economic Development
Home institution in US: Columbia University, New York City, New York
Host Institution in India: Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, West Bengal  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Stacey Hirsh is a Ph.D. candidate in applied physics at the University of Sydney, Australia. After graduating in 2006 from Columbia University, New York with a B.S. in applied physics, she moved to Mumbai to work for a leading Indian conglomerate in the research and development of sustainable vehicle technologies (hydrogen, biofuel, electric and hybrid-electric). Her experience in India inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. and develop a renewable energy solution that could be used to promote economic development in rural communities through decentralized energy production. In her dissertation, Ms. Hirsh is investigating a plasma processing method that enables the surface immobilization of enzyme mixtures for the purpose of improving cellulosic biofuel production. Through her Fulbright research, Ms. Hirsh aims to learn more about the effective implementation of sustainable energy technologies in rural communities and development projects.

Ms. Hirsh’s Fulbright research project, “Renewable Energy for Sustainable Rural Development,” involves conducting a case study on organizations that have successfully used renewable energy technologies to promote economic development in India. Her research aims to determine a set of best practices that could be used by development stakeholders in the cooperative effort to alleviate poverty. Successful organizations have been selected with contrasting business models (commercial/for-profit, NGOs supporting microenterprises and eco-tourism focused), each with operations in different states, which will allow the study to capture essential aspects related to regional climate and cultural diversity.