"We will also support a partnership between the UChicago's International Innovation Corps (IIC) and OpenIDEO, a division of the design consulting firm IDEO, to use OpenIDEO internet based platform to crowdsource solutions to, for example, urban sanitation problems, and then to pilot those solutions using IIC teams in collaboration with municipal governments," he added.
Malani, the co-founder of the IIC and principal investigator on the Indian Health Insurance Experiment, a 12,000-household study of health insurance in Karnataka, also elaborated on how the initiative will work in the southern state.
"First, the TCD will take on a large randomised control trial to examine the benefits and costs of expanding the government's largest secondary hospital care insurance programme, the Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), to Above-Poverty-Line (APL) households, a group not currently eligible for RSBY and underserved by commercial insurers. "Second, it will send an IIC team to work with the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST), which operates both RSBY and the Vajypayee Arogyashree (a tertiary care hospital insurance scheme) to help improve the implementation of those schemes," Malani said.
How did the TCD, which will be based at the UChicago Centre in New Delhi, come about?
"The IIC programme was already operating in India. However, we wanted to verify the government projects IIC helps implement. At the same time we wanted to ensure that impact evaluations UChicago was conducting in India had an impact on policy and implementation. "To address both problems, we proposed the TCD, which combines research (impact evaluation) and implementation (mainly through IIC). In addition, we folded in training component for government officials and NGO leaders because we felt they were the primary change agents in India and could best help scale impactful interventions," Malani said.
A proposal was then made to Tata Trusts, which were already working on two IIC projects.