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Cambridge Central Asia Forum

Central Asia, Physics, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics, Islam, Pos-Soviet, CRM, Rare Earth Materials,


Dr Saxena (Montu) is an Director of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus College. He is a Principal Research Associate (Professor Grade 11 Rank) at the Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge. He was an Affiliated Lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies. He is primary training is in Physics, but also in history and anhtropology. 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.

He completed highschool in New Orleans, USA and proceeded to the University of New Orleans, where he studied Physics and History. 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 was 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 over 30 PhD dissertations, in additon to 10 Post-Docs, as well as 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 Central Asian Studies as well as Experimental & Computational 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.


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 Central Asia related publications: 

  • Introduction to Special Issue: Science, Diplomacy and a Case of Institutions in Eurasia, Siddharth S. Saxena, Journal of Eurasian Studies, Volume 14, January 2023
  • Globalizing Local Understanding of Fragility in Eurasia, P. Kalra & S.S. Saxena, Journal of Eurasian Studies, 1044839, September, 2021
  • Silk Road and resilience, S.S. Saxena, Invited Paper, COMPASS/UPTAKE/IAI workshop ‘The EU and resilience: interrogating theory, policies and practice’, 9 November 2018 Workshop Proceedings.
  • A Nomadic Steppe Legacy Swallowed by the Borders of a Modern Central Asian Westphalian State Building, S.S. Saxena in Making the Kyrgyz, Editors Janie Wardle & Prajakti Kalra, Cambridge Scientific Publishers, April 1, 2018
  • Proceedings of the XIIth Conference of the European Society for Central Asian Studies: Central Asia: A Maturing Field, Editors AS. Morrison, & S.S. Saxena, Cambridge Scientific Publishers, 1 January 2016
  • Asiatic roots and rootedness of the Eurasian project, P. Kalra & S.S. Saxena in ‘The Eurasian project and Europe’, Editors: David Lane and Vsevolod Samokhvalyov Palgrave 2014;
  • Uzbek Relations with the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in modern and pre-modern times, P. Kalra and S.S. Saxena A chapter in Gulf and Central Asia book commissioned by the Gulf Cooperation Council, Editor M. Terterov, December, 2009.
  • Invited Article ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Prospects of Development in the Eurasia Region’, P. Kalra and S. S. Saxena, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 6. No 2, 2007.
  • An invited Book Review of ‘The Garden of Eight Paradises by S Dale’, P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, Central Asia Survey, No.4, December 2007.


Dr Saxena taught the course on Development of Central Asia and Caucasus in Centre of Development Studies for over ten years.

The paper addressed 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)

BS in Physics and BA in History (New Orleans)




Not available for consultancy
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