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Steinhardt MCC PhD student awarded NSF research grant


Sandeep Mertia, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant in the Science & Technology Studies Program. His dissertation project, “Starting-up with the State: Computing, Entrepreneurship, and Governance in India,” is an ethnography of technology start-ups and incubators in India.  

Focusing on the everyday imaginaries, infrastructures, and practices of techno-entrepreneurship in a big city and a small-town, Mertia’s dissertation investigates how promissory futures of digital innovation emerge and circulate in different socio-technical contexts. 


By comparatively studying the techno-entrepreneurial journeys of aspirational youth in two cities, this project seeks to illuminate the hopes and discontents associated with an ever-accelerating digital economy.

Sandeep Mertia

This grant will support Mertia’s ongoing virtual and in-person fieldwork research on the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on computational cultures and on the lives of current and aspiring techno-entrepreneurs in India. Read more details about the project on the NSF website.

Mertia is a PhD candidate and an NYU Urban Doctoral Fellow. He is an Information and Communication Technology engineer by training, and a former Research Associate at the Sarai programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. He recently published the edited volume Lives of Data: Essays on Computational Cultures from India (Institute of Network Cultures, 2020 open access), a culmination of a series of research projects and workshops hosted at the Centre. 

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Media, Culture, and Communication

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