Dr. Ryan Sheely, Co-PI
Ryan is a Senior Researcher in Governance at Mercy Corps and a Research Fellow with the Innovation Field Lab New York project at Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center. His teaching, research, and policy engagements are focused on using mixed methods to design and evaluate programs focused on empowering citizens and building effective, accountable states. As an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School from 2009-2018, Ryan’s research focused on public goods provision and state capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. He conducted randomized evaluations and extensive archival and ethnographic fieldwork in Kenya and Sierra Leone. He is also the co-founder of the SAFI Project, a nonprofit organization that coordinates waste management and recycling activities in northern Kenya.
His research has been supported by the International Livestock Research Institute, the Institute for Social and Policy Studies, the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence, the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies, Harvard Medical School's Milton Fund, and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He has worked with a variety of organizations including Innovations for Poverty Action, UNICEF, and the World Bank Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) Initiative. He received his PhD in Political Science from Yale University.
Dr. Andres Sevtsuk, Co-PI
Andres Sevtsuk is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with deep technical expertise in spatial analytics and urban technology. His research interests include urban design and spatial analysis, urban mobility, real estate economics, transit and pedestrian oriented development and spatial adaptability.
Andres holds a PhD from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, where he also worked with William J. Mitchell as a researcher in the Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Laboratory. He has collaborated with a number of city governments, international organizations, planning practices and developers on urban designs, plans and policies in both developed and rapidly developing urban environments, most recently including those in Indonesia and Singapore. He is the author of the Urban Network Analysis toolbox, which is used by researchers and practitioners around the world to study coordinated land use and transportation development along networks. He has led various international research projects; exhibited his research at TEDx, the World Cities Summit and the Venice Biennale; and received the President’s Design Award in Singapore, International Buckminster Fuller Prize and Ron Brown/Fulbright Fellowship. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Planning at the Singapore University of technology and Design (SUTD), and a lecturer at MIT.
Manuel Gonzalez Schuler
Manuel is a Research Affiliate at the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, where he contributes to technical cooperation projects aiming to build problem-solving capacity and lift governance innovation in cities. As part of the Innovation Field Lab New York, he is engaged with the design of an emerging study about the use of data and evidence for policy and decision-making in city government.
Prior to joining Ash, Manuel worked as a Research Fellow at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC, where he led the launch of the Labor Markets Information System (The SIMS), the largest data portal on labor markets with comparable indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also participated in official missions to Barbados and El Salvador and contributed to the design of a $10 million dollars loan to boost social and human capital development. Before that, he interned at the United Nations and supported the organization of global forums for youth such as the UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris and the ILO Youth Employment Forum in Geneva.
Manuel is a policy analyst with more than five years of experience working with multilateral agencies and government organizations. He is particularly interested in understanding how metropolitan governance can foster collaboration and advance data-driven solutions in large urban settings to improve government performance and quality service delivery.
He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Bachelor’s in Finance and International Relations from Externado de Colombia University and completed a public policy program at Sciences Po School of Public Affairs.
Katharine (Kate) Robb, MPH DrPH works on applied research and innovative approaches to solve urban environmental health challenges. She completed her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2019. Her dissertation focused on her work with the Innovation Field Lab Massachusetts program. Through problem-oriented design and experimentation, she developed and implemented a novel social-service referral program within the City of Chelsea’s Inspectional Services Department. The program leverages the unique role of housing inspectors to link at-risk residents with services to prevent problem properties and social/health crises. She also created an approach to using city data to predict housing code violations with public health consequences. She is continuing this work through her postdoctoral fellowship. Before returning to school to complete her doctorate, Kate was the Associate Director of Research Projects at the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) at Emory University. There, she led multi-country research projects on sanitation-related exposures in urban slums and WASH conditions in healthcare facilities in low-resources settings. Kate has also worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE International, and AmeriCorps.
Kate grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She earned her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan, and her Master’s in Public Health at Emory University. Outside of work, she loves travel, running, and weekend adventures.
Dr. Jon Jay
Jonathan Jay studies urban health, especially gun violence involving children and teens, as a postdoctoral researcher based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He works at the intersection of epidemiology, data science, and city governance, focusing on relationships between the built environment and health and safety risks. Dr. Jay serves as a research fellow for the Firearm-Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium, led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and for the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children's Hospital. He also assists the fire departments in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA, using machine learning to predict where fire and medical incidents will arise, and serves on the teaching staff of the Harvard Kennedy School's Innovation Field Lab. Before focusing on urban epidemiology, Dr. Jay was a lawyer-ethicist and worked in global health policy. He received a BA with honors from Brown University, a JD cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, an MA in philosophy from Georgetown University, and a doctorate in public health (DrPH) from Harvard University.