skip to content

Centre of Development Studies



Dr Saxena is an Affiliated Lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies & Director of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus College. He is a Principal Research Associate at the Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge. He trained as an anthropologist, historian and a physicist. His research interests are in the areas of religion and identity, knowledge systems, social and political development and institutional history in Central Asia and the Middle East. In Physics he works on science of strongly correlated electrons, superconductivity and magnetism. He also holds a Fellow Commonership at Jesus College, University of Cambridge and a number of Professorships, Honorary Professorships and Visiting Professorships at Universities in Central Asia.

His progress through school took him to Britain, France, Germany, Soviet Union and Switzerland. He went on to New Orleans to complete High School and proceeded to the University of New Orleans, where he studied Physics and History of Islam. He then studied Historical Anthropology of Islam in Khorassan. From the United States he came to Trinity College, Cambridge, on a Commonwealth Trust-Trinity Scholarship to study for a PhD in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. He then did Post-Doctoral training at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands and University College London and was elected as a Junior Research Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge.

He has been involved in field-based research in Central Asia since 1996 with particular focus on Bukhara in Uzbekistan and the Ferghana Valley (which is shared by the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and the Tajiks). Since 2002 he has also been working in Almaty and Nursultan in Kazakhstan, Kashgar in China as well some areas of Afghanistan.  In the past, he has spent extended periods in Iran and Egypt for fieldwork.

He is a Co-I on the GCRF COMPASS Project titled 'Comprehensive Capacity-Building in Eastern Neighbourhood and Central Asia: research integration, impact governance and sustainable communities' .  His other reserach projects include a study of notions of Eastern Cosmopolitanism in Bukhara and development of the concept of ‘projected commonality’ along with an ethnographic study of Challa, the ‘Muslim Jews’, of Central Asia. He also directs the Cambridge project on documenting inter-linkages between environment, culture and education through mapping of local knowledge systems in Ferghana Valley. This historical and anthropological research is done in conjunction with some policy-related projects like understanding of social development in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation realm, dialogue between the Muslim world and the West and Environmental Security of the Central Asian Region.

He has supervised nearly 30 PhD dissertations, numerous Masters projects and a number of undergraduate dissertations. In the last five years, he has delivered more than 70 plenary and keynote addresses and international conferences and government and public forums. He has published 75 peer-reviewed and invited research articles and book chapters in both Islamic and Central Asian Studies as well as Experimental Physics. He has chaired several major international conferences and numerous panels.

Siddharth Saxena has served as a consultant to several international organisations in the UN system and otherwise. He is part of the Cambridge Middle East working group, Cambridge India Partnership Group, Cambridge International Development Forum (China), Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit Management Committee, UK India Business Forum next Generation Advisory Board, British Uzbek and Kazakh Society Boards.

He has discovered four new superconductors, including the first ferromagnetic superconductor. He was awarded the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Young Scientist Medal in 2006 and a Medal for Service to Education in Kazakhstan, th Kazakh minister of education in April 2009 and an Honorary Doctorate and Professorship in November 2009. Honorary Professor of  Astana Economic Forum 2012. Presidential Medals of Honour from booth Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in 2011. He is a Director of Future Power Ltd., CamCool Ltd., CantabrigiaAdvisors Ltd.

In 2011 he was appointed together with Lord Waverley to review and renew Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report on Central Asia and South Caucasus.


Dr Saxena trained as an anthropologist, historian and a physicist. His research interests are in the areas of religion and identity, knowledge systems, social and political development and institutional history in Central Asia and the Middle East. In Physics he works on science of strongly correlated electrons, superconductivity and magnetism.



Key publications: 

Asiatic roots and rootedness of the Eurasian project’, in ‘The Eurasian project and Europe’, Editors: David Lane and Vsevolod Samokhvalyov Palgrave 2014;

Environmental Security and Opportunities for Sustainable Development in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Realm,’ P. Kalra et al., in Social Development in Central Asia and its Neighbourhood: A case for the instrumentality of SCO, Cambridge Central Asia Briefs, September 2011;

Uzbek Relations with the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in modern and pre-modern times,’ A chapter in Gulf and Central Asia book commissioned by the GCC, Editor M. Teretov, November, 2009;

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Foe or Friend?’, P Kalra and S.S. Saxena,, A Web Journal, Invited article, 27 April 2007;

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Prospects of Development in the Eurasia Region,’ P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ), 2007;

Book Review of S Dale’s ‘The Garden of Eight Paradises’, P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, Central Asia Survey, December 2007


Teaching and Supervisions


Development of Central Asia and Caucasus:

The paper addresses aspects of the region’s economics, politics and society. Central themes include: i) imperialism and decolonization in the pre and early Soviet era; ii) Soviet development strategies and Central Asia; iii) capitalism, globalization and Central Asian economic development; iv) social networks, local identity in Central Asia; v) Islam, pluralism and the state in Central Asia; vi) Relations between the Central Asian Republics vii) sustainability and resource opportunities and conflicts in Central Asia; viii) innovation and entrepreneurship in high technology areas in Central Asia (including energy and food security debates).

PhD in Experimental Physics (Trinity College and Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge) and PhD in Historical Anthropology
BSc in Physics and BA in History (New Orleans)
Currently not taking PhD students
Dr Siddharth (Montu)  Saxena



ARB Long Photo

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su