Photo of Abhigyan Singh

Abhigyan Singh

I was born in the central part of India, and I have lived, studied, and worked in India, Finland, and The Netherlands. I am a trans-disciplinary researcher who explores the mutual convergence of design, anthropology, and energy studies. Since March 2021, I have been working as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft.

My work had been awarded WWNA Apply Award (2021) by European Association of Social AnthropologistsApplied Anthropology Network (EASA-AAN), Delft Design for Values (DDfV) Subsidy (2019), Delft Global Seed Fund (2017), Design United’s Demonstrator Grant (2017). My design research has been exhibited at diverse venues such as Dutch Design Week (2017) and CUMULUS 20th Anniversary Exhibition (‘Young Creators for Better City & Better Life’) at Shanghai, China (2010). At EASA2020, I was a co-convenor of Energy Anthropology Network’s panel, ‘At the Grid Edge: homes, neighbourhoods and energy markets. I am also a co-organizer of EthnoBorrel, a network of professional ethnographers.


Design Anthropology, Ethnography, Energy Anthropology, Research through Design, Visual Research Methods, Data Visualization.

Academic Background

2013 – 2019
PhD Candidate at Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering,TU Delft, The Netherlands
Doctoral Dissertation (defence date: 16 January 2019): ‘Conceptualizing inter-household energy exchanges: An anthropology-through-design approach’. Four key outputs are (a) classifications of peer-to-peer energy exchanges, (b) conceptual model of ‘return-continuum’, (c) methodological approach of ‘anthropology-through-design’, and (d) ‘Beyond Rational Energy Market’ an interactive visualization of longitudinal data.
Awards: The research was exhibited at Dutch Design Week 2017 and have been awarded WWNA Apply Award (2021) by the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Applied Anthropology Network (EASA-AAN), Delft Global Seed Fund (15K euros), and Design United’s Demonstrator Fund (10K euros).

2007 – 2010
Master of Arts in New Media Design. Media Lab, Department of Media, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland.
Master’s thesis: Design opportunities and challenges in Indian urban slums – community communication and mobile phones.
Awards: The thesis was awarded the highest grade (5/5), ‘Department of Media-Stipend’. The thesis was exhibited and awarded Second Prize at CUMULUS 20th Anniversary Exhibition (‘Young Creators for Better City & Better Life’) hosted by Tongji University in combination with Shanghai World Expo 2010 held in Shanghai, China. Around 50 Cumulus member schools participated in the exhibition with a submission of over 400 student works.

2001 – 2005
Bachelor of Technology in Information and Communication Technology. Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), India.
Bachelor’s Thesis: Synesthesia: a design and research exploration to give an understanding of color to visually impaired children . The work resulted in a design of an ‘Audio-Haptic Color Teaching Tool’.
Awards: The thesis was awarded the highest grade (4/4).

Relevant Work Experience

March 2021 – ongoing
Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering,TU Delft, The Netherlands

August 2020 – February 2021
Postdoctoral Researcher at Erasmus University, The Netherlands

February 2019 – July 2020
Postdoctoral Researcher at Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering,TU Delft, The Netherlands
Project: ENERGE-Energizing education to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an Interreg European Union project, aims to design innovative interactive applications, data visualization platforms, and energy management strategies for middle schools in six European countries.
Tasks: Field-research and hackathon, digital ethnography, data visualization, prototyping

February 2019 – till date
Guest Researcher at Cybersecurity GroupFaculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science (EEMCS), TU Delft, The Netherlands
Project: I initiated a multidisciplinary research proposal on Smart Energy Economy, ‘People-centered energy exchanges in decentralized energy systems: Privacy, design, and sociocultural practices’, in collaboration with multiple industrial and academic partners involving computer scientists, anthropologists, and design researchers.
Tasks: Grant writing, initiating research consortium and collaboration

January – November 2018
Researcher at Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering,TU Delft, The Netherlands
Project: Based on the findings of my doctoral research and supported by two Delft Global Seed Funds, I was involved in two research proposals: (a) ‘enabling blockchain based monetary and non-monetary energy exchanges for decentralized energy systems in The Netherlands’, and (b) ‘smart power-bank for rural electrification in Ethiopia’ proposal.
Tasks: Initiating research consortium, collaboration, field research planning

April 2012 – February 2013
Interaction Designer at Parallel & Distributed Systems group, TU Delft, The Netherlands
Project: Conceptualizing and designing features like Social Contribution Credits, Incentive mechanism, Effort’s Badge for users of Tribler, a peer-to-peer system
Tasks: Concept design, wireframing, interface design, prototyping on Android

February – March 2012
Research Intern at IBM Research India
Project: Designing mobile voice-based English language learning application for rural students
Tasks: Rapid ethnography, concept design using Spoken Web platform, gamification

April 2011 – April 2012
Design Researcher & Scientific Programmer at Multimedia Information Retrieval Lab, TU Delft
Project: a) Design and development of an open source, narrative-driven, mobile based speech tagging and image retrieval application b) Design of speech-based educational mobile applications for children in rural India
Tasks: Design, implementation (Android Speech APIs, Flickr API), rapid ethnography, user study

November 2010 – March 2011
Self-Employed Ethnographer, Maternal Health Research, Chhattisgarh, India
Project: Exploring sociocultural factors influencing institutional deliveries and postpartum care in villages of Champa-Janjgir district of Chhattisgarh
Tasks: Conducting ethnography, field-work planning

May – June 2009
Usability Researcher at Crucible Studio Research Group, Finland
Project: EU-Funded Alan01 Interactive Installation
Tasks: Qualitative and quantitative usability evaluation

July – October 2008
Researcher, Enabling Community Communications – Platforms and Applications Project, India/Finland
Project: EU-Funded Enabling Community Communications–Platforms and Applications Project
Tasks: Ethnographic fieldstudy in India, participatory design, rapid mobile application prototyping

February – June 2008
Research Assistant at ARKI Research Group, Finland
Project: EU-Funded ICING (Innovative Cities of the Next Generation) Project
Tasks: Mobile application prototyping, user testing

November 2005 – July 2007
User Interface Designer at Infosys Technologies Ltd., India
Clients: Bank of America, Kmart & Sears, ABN-AMRO Bank, BNSF Railways, CVS-Pharmacy, Pfizer
Tasks: Information architecture, task flow diagrams, wireframing, heuristic evaluations

Awards and Recognitions

:: Third Prize, the annual Why the World Needs Anthropologists (WWNA) Apply Award by the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Applied Anthropology Network (EASA-AAN) for my doctoral research (2021)

:: Awarded Delft Design for Values (DDfV) Subsidy of €7k for ‘Values in peer-to-peer energy’ (2019)

:: Awarded Delft Global Seed Fund of €15k Euros for ‘blockchain energy exchange’ proposal (2017)

:: Contributor to another awarded Delft Global Seed Fund of €15k Euros for ‘smart power-bank for rural electrification’ proposal (2017)

:: Design United’s Demonstrator Grant of €10k Euros (2017)

:: ‘Beyond Rational Energy Market’, an interactive visualization selected for exhibition at Mind-the-Step exhibition, Dutch Design Week (2017)

:: Second Prize at PhD Poster Event organized by Delft Energy Institute (2015)

:: Master’s thesis exhibited and awarded Second Prize (1000 Euros) at CUMULUS 20th Anniversary Exhibition (‘Young Creators for Better City & Better Life’, 400 student works from over 50 design schools), Shanghai World Expo 2010, China (2010)

:: Aalto University’s ‘Department of Media-Stipend’ (500 Euros) in recognition of Master’s Thesis (2010)

:: Best Poster Award at Urban Interaction (UBI) Summer School at Oulu, Finland (2010)

:: EU-Funded ENCOMPAS Project’s field-research grant worth 3500 Euros for ethnographic field-study in India (2008)

:: Infosys Communication Design Group (CDG) Annual Excellence Award for ‘Client Satisfaction’ (2007)

:: Infosys Communication Design Group (CDG) Annual Excellence Award for ‘Social Responsibility’ (2007)

:: ‘Higher Standard Award’ by Bank of America for ECMS and TCOE project (2006)


Leadership and Volunteering Roles

:: External Advisor, 24*7 Energy Transition Project, The Green Village, TU Delft

:: Co-organizer of ‘EthnoBorrel’ Meetup, a network for industrial and academic ethnographers in The Netherlands, (March 2019 – ongoing).

:: Member of Organizing Committee (Student Volunteers’ Chair) of Research Through Design (RTD2019) Conference, 2019

:: Co-organizer of ‘Research through Design’ lab-talk series, Department of Industrial Design, TU Delft, 2019

:: Member of ‘Energy as Connection’ working group of ‘Club van Wageningen’, an energy transition network consisting of energy researchers and experts from energy industry in The Netherlands, 2018.

:: PromooD Member, representative of PhD Candidates at Faculty of Industrial Design Enginnering (IDE) at TU Delft (2015-16).

Invited Talks

:: Design anthropological approach for exploring values in peer-to-peer energy exchanges’ at Cognizant Amsterdam, November 2019

:: A design anthropological approach for exploring “values” in emerging energy systems’ at ‘Exploring Values in Technology Across Methods and Disciplines’ workshop by Delft Design for Values (DDfV), November 2019

:: Social energy exchanges for emerging decentralized neighbourhoods’, Design Research and Innovation Festival (DRIVE 2019), Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, October 2019

:: Anthropology-through-Design approach for investigating energy exchanges’, University of Groningen, September 2019

:: Economic Anthropological Understanding of Inter-Household Energy Exchanges’, ‘Economics of Infrastructures’ research meeting, Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management (TPM), TU Delft, April 2019

:: Beyond Rational Energy Market, Design for Social Impact, Ladies that UX Amsterdam Meetup, Amazon Amsterdam, 28 March 2019

:: Exploring peer-to-peer returns in decentralized energy systems: Findings from India and the Netherlands’, ‘Energy as Exchange Asset’ group, Enexis, Den Bosch, October 2018

:: Social Perspective on Energy Exchanges in Decentralized Energy Systems, at Smart Grids Security, Privacy, and Blockchain Workshop, TU Delft, 11 October 2018

:: Conceptualizing inter-household energy exchanges’, Department of Design, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, September 2018

:: Exploring Peer-to-Peer Returns in Off-Grid Energy Systems in Rural India, PowerWeb Lecture, TU Delft, May 2018

:: Inter-household energy exchanges in off-grid energy systems in rural India’, presentation at Delft Global Lunch, March 2018

:: Beyond Rational Energy Market, Mind the Step exhibition, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 21-29 October 2017

:: Interplay of social relations, technology and practices in everyday future making, Everyday Futures Mini-symposium, Delft, 7 April 2016

For more information and social media connection:
LinkedIn, Twitter, ReseachGate