Merl Chandana

Research Manager and Team Lead: Data, Algorithms, and Policy

Merl is a Research Manager and the Team Lead at the Data, Algorithms and Policy (DAP) team at LIRNEasia. His diverse research interests are unified by a strong desire to utilise data science methods for crafting practical solutions and generating policy-relevant insights for the public good.

At LIRNEasia, Merl is currently leading the creation of machine learning datasets focusing on household electricity consumption in Sri Lanka. These datasets aim to assist researchers and practitioners in formulating evidence-based strategies for managing energy demand within the country’s energy sector. Additionally, he is utilising satellite imagery and machine learning to map urban expansion in Sri Lanka, unveiling crucial trends in the country’s urbanisation process. He’s also delving into how data and AI can enhance the delivery of emergency ambulance services in Sri Lanka, aiming to develop AI solutions that are equitable, safe, sustainable, human-centered, transparent, and accountable.

Beyond applying data science techniques to tackle real-world issues, Merl is deeply interested in assessing the societal impact of data and algorithms. He currently leads a regional team contributing to the Global Index on Responsible AI, evaluating government commitments and capacities across 140+ countries to promote responsible AI. Additionally, he’s involved in ongoing projects at LIRNEasia aimed at assessing AI’s practical application in aiding human fact-checkers combat misinformation.

Previously, Merl has utilised natural language processing (NLP) techniques to analyse the supply and demand for skills in Sri Lanka’s job market. He also played a pivotal role in LIRNEasia’s identification and mapping of key macro-trends anticipated to impact the Asia Pacific region in the next 15 years.

Prior to joining LIRNEasia, Merl worked as an analyst at the Analytics Unit at the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs of Sri Lanka. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Chemical and Process Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.

Posts by Merl Chandana