3 March 2022

SSEE MSc students selected for Oxford SDG Impact Lab fellowship

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Puninda Thin and Ryleen Balawanth in a building


Oxford Smith School MSc students Puninda Thind and Ryleen Balawanth have been selected for the inaugural Oxford SDG Impact Lab Fellowship, a collaboration between the University of Oxford and easyJet Holidays.

The Oxford SDG Impact Lab aims to “empower 20 postgraduate students to develop character, leadership and practical skills for collaborative and impactful research that furthers the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Students will take part in a 16-week values-based leadership programme designed to help them make real-world impact with academic research in collaboration with business.

The Fellows will also carry out a research internship in Spain in the summer of 2022, to engage stakeholders and develop impact initiatives.

Puninda Thind worked as a sustainability consultant before enrolling on the MSc, and is part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Community. In 2017, she was named as one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 sustainability leaders.

Puninda commented:

I am excited to make a positive difference and work with a wide variety of stakeholders to develop an impactful project centred on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. I had applied for the fellowship because I was keen to translate academic research and knowledge on corporate sustainability into action through the process of co-creation and collaboration.

Ryleen Balawanth started her 9-year career project managing rail efficiency improvements in South Africa and Mozambique. She then moved to the international development sector where she worked towards achieving malaria elimination in South Africa.

Ryleen commented:

Being part of the inaugural SDG Impact Lab Fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity so far. It has allowed me to translate the knowledge I have gained through my MSc in Sustainability, Enterprise, and the Environment into action. Being able to learn from professionals working in the social-enterprise industry has been a privilege; and I look forward to a wonderful learning experience designing and implementing a social project incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals for easyJet Holidays.

The SSEE in MSc Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment, which is in its inaugural year after launching in September 2021, has received over 600 applications for its 2022-23 cohort to date. The course admits just 25 students.