CPPR Academy is launching an Urban Policy Fellowship in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), South Asia for early to mid-career professionals working in urban policy across Kerala. Kerala is a rapidly urbanizing state with an urban continuum from north to south presenting itself as a large metropolis. This opens up a great challenge to cater to the urban population’s needs and design programmes to improve the standard of living in the cities. To meet this exponential demand for urban policies and to drive towards sustainable, equitable and inclusive urban development, the cities in India require trained urban planners and policymakers. 


The Fellowship will be organised for a cohort of 15 young professionals working in the urban domain and will equip urban policy researchers to build their careers in urban policy and provide a platform for systematic enquiry into urban policy challenges across India. The fellowship will be a demand-driven, practical, capacity-building program that will help the fellows to capacitate their skills in policy research and intervention in the local urban ecosystem for a positive change. 

  1. The programme will commence in May and end by October 2023
  2. There will be a 5-day in-person training workshop 
  3. A series of online training sessions for a total of 30 hours will be conducted  
  4. After the workshop, the fellows will be assigned individual topics of urban challenges to work on for the rest of the fellowship. 

What exciting prospects await in the Fellowship?

Each fellow will be trained in the following activity-oriented sessions:

Urban Finance

Urban Infrastructure

Urban Mobility

Urban Governance

Urban Housing

Urban Technnology

Prepare yourself to participate in the Urban Revitalization of Kerala

  1. Work on one intervention project to discuss local issues from your own city/town
  2. Strategize ways to address the urban challenges through discussion and debates in their respective municipalities during the fellowship. 
  3. Bring out a report, article or a summary of their findings and actions at the end of the fellowship
  4. Engage with high-ranking bureaucrats, academicians and policy influencers on structural and administrative reforms in the field of urban governance. 
  5. A platform for early professionals in urban policy to train, gain knowledge and learn policy formulation on a continuing basis. 

Learn from inspiring instructors, guest speakers, and field experts in the urban domain.

Develop skills in identifying and solving urban problems through our 18-year-long policy database.

Familiarize yourself with urban policies and key statistical techniques necessary to evaluate public policies critically.

Understand the ground realities of Urban Policy through engagement with bureaucrats.

Engage with policymakers, academicians, and policy influencers to work on individual topics of urban challenges regarding structural and administrative reforms.

Receive demand-driven and practical capacity-building online and in-person sessions from our expert panel.

Capacitate skills in urban policy research in areas like Urban Mobility, Governance, Housing, Finance, Technology, and Infrastructure.

Our Experts


  1. D Dhanuraj


Dhanuraj is the Founder-Chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), a non-profit, independent public policy think-tank based in Kochi, Kerala, India.

Dhanuraj started his career as a Research Associate in 2003 and over the years he has successfully undertaken and executed projects as project director and also as research lead for various governments (international, national and state), international and national NGOs, corporate houses, development organisations, and educational institutions. Currently, he is also the President of the Association of Public Policy Education in India (APPE), and was the Secretary General of Liberal Youth South Asia (LYSA) from 2008- 09 and Founder President and Trustee of Liberal Youth Forum of India (LYF) from 2008 to 2011.



  1. Raj Cherubal


Raj Cherubal is the Director & CEO, Chennai Smart City Limited. He is Special Advisor to CPPR in Urban Governance and City Development.

He has worked as a Coordinator for Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy from 2007-2009. He served as  the Vice President of the Centre for Civil Society from 2006-2007. He also has experience working as software development manager at iNautix and Harmony.com.





  1. Riby Rachel Mathew

Riby Mathew is an Urban Planner with more than 17 years of professional, research and academic experience in the development sector across India. She is Research Fellow (Sustainable Urban Development and Local Governance), CPPR

She serves as a consultant to CRDF, CEPT University for a study on Efficacy of Integrated Urban Planning in Kochi city and had completed a study on Institutional Assessment and Capacity Building for Risk Informed and Effective Urban Planning in Kerala for a study for KfW-World Bank , under Rebuild Kerala Initiatives. She also has experience serving as an Urban planner for Cochin Smart City Mission Limited.




  1. Dr Joy Elamon



Dr Joy Elamon is the Director General (DG) of  Kerala institute of Local Administration(KILA).

He was the National Resource Person of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for decentralised participatory planning by Panchayats (GPDP), a Key trainer for SDGs and Local Governments and was included in the UNDP Democratic Governance Roster of Experts in Local Governance and Local Development. He was the Core team member and Technical Advisor for the South Asia Climate Proofing and Growth Development (CPGD) – Climate Change Innovation Programme (CCIP).




  1. K J Sohan


Mr. K J Sohan is the Honourable former Mayor of Kochi Municipal Corporation and Fort Kochi Veli councillor. He became the Deputy Mayor in 1983, Mayor in 1990. He is a town planning expert and was the chairman of the town planning committee during the UDF led Kochi Corporation.

Meet Our Urban Fellows

Akmal Ali P M

The Urban fellowship will deepen my knowledge of urban policy by enegaging with renowed experts, policy makers and practitoners and give valuable insights into the intricacies of policy making

Atif Nihal

The Urban Fellowship will give me an opportunity to strike a balance between urbanization and preserving the state’s natural beauty.

Gokul K Sunoj

The Urban Fellowship presents to me both the pot and an offer of the finest soil – leaving the liberty to the cohort, to plant our own, unique seeds and to prune their growth in guided academic and creative freedom.

Jesbin Benny

The Urban Fellowship will help me gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of urban issues in Kerala and their broader implications for sustainable development.

Jesto Anto

The Urban fellowship will help me to connect with like-minded peoples and also to make a joint effort for the betterment of the Kerala cities.

Keerthana Nair

The urban fellowship will help me to develop actionable strategies that can promote inclusive urban growth and enhance the quality of life of urban residents

Meghana Santosh

The Urban fellowship will allow me to engage with real-world urban challenges and give me an opportunity to transform the state I grew up in.

Merlin Pattath

The urban fellowship will give me an opportunity to work on pressing urban challenges, contribute to sustainable development, and engage with stakeholders to drive positive change.

Mohammed Unais AV

The Urban fellowship will help me to understand the intricacies involved in urban planning and development and deepen my knowledge of sustainable urban development, land-use planning, and community engagement techniques.

Nadiya Abdul Rasheed

The Urban Fellowship will help me gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by urban communities in Kerala and contribute to sustainable and inclusive urban planning.

Nithika S Hari

The Urban fellowship will give me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and expertise in the urban field and serve as a platform to discuss and deliberate my ideas.

Noorbina Sulthana ST

The urban fellowship will provide a platform to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical application and give me the skills to solve the real-world challenges faced by urban areas in Kerala.

Roshin K Mathew

The Urban Fellowship will help me to learn from field experts and administrators about what works and what does not at the ground level of the urban domain.

Uma N P

The urban fellowship will help me to engage with local communities, gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and propose practical solutions to their problems.