Queen’s academic appointed Chairperson of the Kerala Urban Policy Commission in India

Queen’s academic appointed Chairperson of the Kerala Urban Policy Commission in India

National, 19 February 2024: Queen’s University Belfast, one of the leading Universities in UK and Ireland as well as a member of the prestigious Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities Group, proudly announces the appointment of Dr. M. Satish Kumar, Associate Professor from the School of Natural and Built Environment, Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, as the Chairperson of the Kerala Urban Policy Commission in India.


This appointment comes from the Government of Kerala in recognition of Dr. Kumar’s exceptional expertise in urban development from a global perspective.

Kerala, with a population of 30 million, stands as a biodiverse, cosmopolitan state in India’s southwestern region. Its extensive coastline renders it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rapid urbanization further amplifies these challenges, with over 92 percent of the population predicted to reside in urban areas by 2036.

In recent years, Kerala has faced a series of significant weather events, including the devastating cyclone of 2017 and the catastrophic floods of 2018 and 2019. These events underscored the urgent need for robust systems to anticipate and respond to climate-related shocks and hazards. Recognizing this imperative, the Government of Kerala took proactive steps by establishing the ‘Urban Policy Commission,’ making it the first state in India to do so.

Dr. M. Satish Kumar, Associate Professor, Queen’s University Belfast said, “I am deeply honoured to accept the appointment as Chairperson of the Kerala Urban Policy Commission, representing Queen’s University Belfast. This opportunity not only reflects the trust placed in me by the Government of Kerala but also underscores the university’s commitment to global engagement and impactful and engaged research. Leveraging the expertise gained from Queen’s, I am eager to collaborate with stakeholders to contribute to sustainable urban development and climate resilience efforts in Kerala and expand the academic partnerships going forward”.

The Minister of Local Self Government, M.B. Rajesh said: “As the distinguished Honorary Global Chair for Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Kumar brings vast experience and interdisciplinary scholarship to help steer policy thoughts on critical issues of urban development. We are confident that Dr Kumar, with his familiarity with global urban discourses, will provide expert advice to the State Government as the Chairperson of the Urban Policy Commission, to prepare the blueprint of a sustainable urban policy for Kerala. We look forward to working with Dr Kumar and continuing to develop our relationship with Queen’s University.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Sir Ian Greer said: “I am delighted that Dr Satish Kumar has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Kerala Urban Policy Commission.“This is an honour for Queen’s University Belfast and reflects Dr Kumar’s experience and significant collaborative efforts working within India, gaining the respect of those he has worked with, and I am confident he will use this position to help steer policy in the critical areas including urban development, decarbonisation, heritage conservation, and sustainable and planned urbanisation.”