Romika R. Kotian

Romika R. KotianDepartment: Civil Engineering

Title: PhD Student

Research description: Prioritization and resource allocation in complex socio-technical challenges or grand challenges.

Research highlights:

  • Development of framework for grand challenge representation.
  • Development of the Comprehensive Success Factor Analysis (CSFA) method.
  • Exploration of spatial scalability of CSFA across combinations of socio-technical challenges, population levels, and regions across the globe.
  • Development of trainings aimed to build strategic decision-making capacity of stakeholders tackling pressing global challenges.
  • Application of participative approaches to systemic gap identification to inform research-driven solutions.  

Keywords Innovation, Design theory, Systems thinking, Complexity, Socio-technical systems, Grand challenges, Research for Development (R4D)


  1. Sinfield, J. V., Sheth, A., & Kotian, R. R. (2020). “Framing the intractable- Comprehensive Success Factor Analysis”. Sustainable Futures.
  2. Sinfield, J.V., Kotian, R.R. and Busse, M.M. (2019). “Application of Comprehensive Issue Analysis to Inform Development Research in East Africa, Part 1: Basic Education (BE), Maternal/Child Healthcare (MCH)”. LASER PULSE R4D Innovation Science Framework and Tools Technical Report Series. Innovation and Leadership Studies Program, Purdue University, West Lafayette.


Romika is a PhD student at the Innovation Science Laboratory at Purdue University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from SJCE, India, and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Purdue. Driven by a strong urge to serve society, during her undergraduate studies, Romika co-founded a community service group, “Sahayog”, and a startup - “Desiadda Online Services Pvt. Ltd.”; both aimed at uplifting marginalized sections of the society.

With a background in engineering and social entrepreneurship, Romika began her PhD journey in the area of Research for Development (R4D) as part of a USAID-funded Purdue University-led consortium termed LASER PULSE. Through this project, she explored complex, multi-faceted, multi-scale socio-technical challenges in an effort to assist with identification of priority issues to advance international development through research.   

During her graduate studies, Romika has held leadership positions in student organizations such as the Civil Engineering Graduate Students Advisory Council (CEGSAC), and the Graduate Students for International Development (GRID) group. Further, she has mentored students through the Purdue Civil Graduate Mentorship Program (GMP), served as an academic consultant for undergraduate students through the Academic Success Center (ASC), and was awarded a teaching fellowship through the Purdue University Special Initiatives Program.