Skip to the main content

Padmashree is a leading expert on trade policy, innovation policy, and economic development. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Aalborg, Denmark and a Professorial Fellow at the United Nations University-MERIT.

She bring over two decades of experience in policy forecasting and analysis, policy design and implementation of relevance to global and national governance in various sectors, particularly life sciences, digital economy and renewable energy. She has a background in development policy and practice with a focus on trade, technology, intellectual property and competition. On these issues, she has worked with a range of international organisations, national governments, regional agencies and companies influencing policy and strategic decision making by assessing and predicting the emergence of new market segments and trends, current and future competition patterns, and identifying strategic areas of intervention to promote change. Most recently, she served as Head-Policy of the International Renewable Energy Agency. 

At Berkman, her research particularly focuses on the ways in which the digital technologies empower and facilitate change at the individual and collective levels. She works on topics such as the design and implementation of national digital development strategies; the regulation of digital competition; the role of digital technologies in developmental outcomes (incl. SDGs), AI and structural inequality, among others. She is also a Senior Advisor of the Center's GAiA Program engaged on issues of drug pricing, digital health and trade barriers for access to medicines. 

Academic Career

Padmashree’s past research has focused extensively on evaluating how international and national policies and strategies (technology, intellectual property, trade and competition) impact economic performance in several industrial sectors across countries, and what factors, in turn matter to shape these into sustainable developmental outcomes. She has a keen sensibility of how future markets will develop and what companies and governments need to do to prepare for a better tomorrow, especially to promote technological change while taking into account institutional and other (macroeconomic, structural or trade related)  factors. Coming from an inter-disciplinary background with economics, law, trade and technology perspectives, a number of her previous research projects look at these processes in a comparative regional perspective (developing-developed, or African-Asian-Latin American) across several sectors, or on topics of general importance, such as assessing the role of technology in the green economy, and technological change for sustainable development. She has over 60 publications on these issues including five books, and has served or continues to serve on a number of scientific Boards, including the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Board on Trade and Employment. She has also worked at the United Nations in various capacities over the years, and has also previously been on a professorship for innovation and development at the Open University in the UK.

Research, Teaching and More

She is committed to promoting a more diverse discourse, including the use of new frameworks on methodologies, to understand issues related to technology and inequality. She is the founder of rights2100, which seeks to promote frameworks that re-articulate the notion of individual rights and social responsibility in the new data economy. She also teaches core courses on institutional economics, development economics, the political economy of development, science, technology and society in various institutions. 

Projects & Tools

Global Access in Action

Global Access in Action, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, conducts action-oriented research into access to lifesaving medicines,…


The Conversation

South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed

Padmashree Gehl Sampath and her co-author provide an overview of a case study on financing and manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine

Apr 11, 2021
Bill of Health

How Do We Arrive at Fair Pricing for COVID-19 Therapies?

Padmashree Gehl Sampath on COVID-19 treatments

Jun 16, 2020
Harvard International Review

COVID-19: The Need for a New Global Compact

Padmashree Gehl Sampath on the need for a global response to tackle the impact of COVID-9.

May 25, 2020

Industry 4.0 can be a Game Changer for Businesses in Low-Income Countries

National digital development strategies need to recognise the potential and enable the change

May 12, 2020

How the Coronavirus Challenges our Model of Economic Growth

Despite heart-wrenching images in the media of people standing together and political calls for solidarity, the pandemic has laid bare the problems with globalisation and…

Mar 17, 2020
Harvard Law Today

Innovation, Justice and Globalization

From patent law to the challenges facing the digital commons, leading academics and policymakers from around the world discussed intellectual property issues at Harvard Law…

Oct 17, 2019

Competition in the Digital Age

Padmashree Gehl Sampath says African countries need to begin thinking about comprehensive policymaking

Oct 9, 2019
The Hindu

Creating a fair digital payments market

Local firms in India will be at a disadvantage if big tech companies are given plum roles, says Padmashree Gehl Sampath

Jul 16, 2019
Tufts Global Development and Environment Institute

Do Patents Lead to Market Concentration and Excess Profits?

A first empirical assessment showing that concentration of patents does result in market concentration in certain sectors

Apr 30, 2019
Digital Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School

Can Data Become Part of a Development Strategy?

Data should become an enabler of new models of cooperative growth

Apr 2, 2019

How to make Industry 4.0 work for Europe

On the consequences of ‘new manufacturing’ for European industrial policymaking

Apr 2, 2019
BKC Medium

Reclaiming the Data Commons

A critical perspective on this emerging notion of the data commons

Mar 7, 2019
Global Development and Environment Institute

Industrial Policy 4.0

Promoting transformation in the digital economy

This paper makes a case for comprehensive digital industrial policies that are differentiated and rooted in the broader reality of development and globalization in the fourth…

Dec 7, 2018


May 26, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

[Virtual] COVID-19 and Inequality in the Global South

Economic and healthcare fallouts for low-income countries

A discussion on the economic and healthcare fallouts for low-income countries

May 23, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

Data as Development

A Collaborative Workshop

This event follows an earlier workshop held in 2018 titled Big Data, Meager Returns?

Feb 21, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

Patents and Market Concentration

Measuring the Impact on Global Access to Medicines

Market concentration in technology industries has become a subject of interest to scholars and policy analysts. This talk presents some of the first empirical results on how the…