Shashi Buluswar

UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development: What is Essential?

4-6 June 2014 | EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland


  Shashi Buluswar
Executive Director
LIGTT: LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Shashi Buluswar is the founder and Executive Director of LIGTT, the Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) in California, USA. LIGTT was launched in 2012; its mission is to bring scientific and technological breakthroughs to address global poverty and related social ills, through advanced research, robust and user-centric product engineering, sustainable business models, and a broad global network of partnerships. In its first year, LIGTT has developed the world’s first portable solar-powered vaccine refrigerator, an ultra-low-cost infant incubator, an early version of a low-cost DNA-based diagnostic device for TB, and an early version of a low-cost technology to remotely detect groundwater. Shashi and his colleagues at LIGTT are authoring “The 50 most transformative scientific and technological breakthroughs needed for sustainable global development”, a comprehensive look at a broad range of problem in global development, and what kinds of breakthrough technologies are required to address them; this study will be published in early 2014.

Prior to joining LIGTT, he was a Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a mission-driven strategy consulting firm which serves a broad spectrum of clients in international development such as NGOs, corporations, foundations, governments, social entrepreneurs, and international agencies like the UN. At Dalberg, Shashi work included helping the Gates Foundation launch & manage large-scale agriculture programs in Africa, helping the US Government reshape its agricultural development strategy in Afghanistan, developing the global strategy for an international NGO that provides entrepreneurship training to youth, assessing the impact of a large city-level climate change initiative in China, helping the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping develop a plan to restructure its global support operations, and helping several corporations create innovative strategies for social responsibility, double-bottom-line supply chain management, and emerging markets entry.

Prior to joining Dalberg, Shashi was an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, and a Visiting Professor at Northwestern University. He holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Robotics, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Beyond his professional interests, Shashi spent a decade competing on the Indian national rowing team, and recently made a critically acclaimed documentary film about the India-Pakistan conflict (which has been featured on National Public Radio, Al Jazeera and several international film festivals). He also teaches international development at the University of California at Berkeley, and is authoring a textbook on strategic approaches to global social impact. Shashi was born and raised in India, and has traveled to more than 70 countries.