Padmashree is a leading expert on technology, development and the global political economy. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the South African Research Chair in Industrial Development (SARChI ID), University of Johannesburg, a Professorial Fellow at the United Nations University-MERIT, and the Chair Person of the Technical Advisory Group of the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (CTAP).
Her thought leadership pertains to technology governance, development, and the global political economy. Her sectors of work, where she conducts empirical analyses and works closely with academia, international agencies and the policy community to suggest reforms, are: the digital economy (artificial intelligence, big Data and internet of things), pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and energy.
She bring over two decades of experience on these topics having worked with a range of international organizations, national governments and regional agencies, assessing and predicting the emergence of new market segments and trends, current and future competition patterns, and new models of cooperation and regulation in the international economy. She currently also advises the African Development Bank on Industrialization Perspectives for the region, and is a Strategic Advisor to the German government on accelerating vaccine manufacturing in Africa. In the past, she has held several important positions in international organisations, most recently serving as Head of Policy of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
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 the design and implementation of national digital development strategies; data sovereignty, AI for development, among others. She was formerly a Director of the Center's GAiA Program, where she worked extensively on issues of access to medicines, particularly through local production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines in different regions worldwide.
Padmashree’s past research has focused extensively on competition and change in the global economy, evaluating how international and national policies and strategies (technology, intellectual property, trade and competition) impact economic performance in several industrial sectors, and what factors matter to shape growth and performance. Her focus, in particular, has been on how future markets will develop and what companies and governments need to do to prepare for a better tomorrow, especially to promote technological change and industrial growth 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). She has over 60 publications including five books and her work has appeared in the Harvard International Review, the Harvard Public Health Review. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Competition and Change.
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 social responsibility in the global economy. She also teaches core courses on institutional economics, development economics, the political economy of development, science, technology and society in various institutions.