Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana completed his Ph.D. in International Development at the Yokohama National University and is a Research Coordinator in the Education for Sustainable Development Programme at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS). He has an undergraduate degree in medicine (specialized in Ayurveda – the traditional medicine of India) from Bharathiyar University, India and holds a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
From 1995, he has been working with the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions based in Bangalore on various projects related to traditional medicine. His work has primarily focused on the research and application of traditional medicine to meet primary health care in local communities and scoping out their relevance in public health policy. Earlier, he was a Senior House Surgeon at the Amala Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, India (1994-1995) and also a Visiting Associate Professor at the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan (2003-2004).
Unni works as a consultant to the ETC-Compas program, an international network focused on endogenous development. He has co-edited a book, Challenging the Indian Medical Heritage, and has a number of journal articles and book chapters in the field of traditional medicine and their health system integration. His main research interests include traditional medicine in public health, medical pluralism, traditional knowledge epistemology and sustainable development. He is currently coordinating the health and sustainability thematic network in the ESD program.