The Ratimed Team

The Ratimed team is an international, multidisciplinary group of four experienced researchers from Austria, the UK, India and China. The team is exceptional in its range of expertise, professional record, ethnographic access, and long-standing commitment to Sowa Rigpa and its stakeholders in all four countries.


Combining academic and practical expertise in anthropology, economics, development studies, public health, and professional Tibetan medicine, we are uniquely placed to generate an unprecedented “big picture” of the Sowa Rigpa industry in Asia.


Stephan Kloos is a medical anthropologist and postcolonial science scholar with over 15 years of research experience on Sowa Rigpa. As principal investigator he is responsible for the overall success of this study, and carries out research in Mongolia and the Tibetan community in India.


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Calum Blaikie is a social anthropologist and development specialist who has led, next to his academic career, the award-winning international NGO Nomad RSI for over 10 years. He conducts research in the Himalayan regions of the Sowa Rigpa industry, including Ladakh, Nepal, and Bhutan.


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Mingji Cuomu is a qualified Tibetan doctor, medical anthropologist and public health specialist with extensive professional experience in both medicine and academic research. Fluent in Tibetan and Chinese, and with excellent local contacts, she covered the Sowa Rigpa industry in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China from June 2014 until May 2017.


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Harilal Madhavan is an economist specialized on the traditional pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property, natural resource economics and global public health. Next to his research in India and Mongolia, his economic and IPR expertise is essential in the analysis of fieldwork data from all four countries.


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Project Associates

Barbara Gerke was trained in Medical and Social Anthropology at Oxford University and has an extensive background in Tibetan medical studies. Currently based at the University of Vienna with an FWF Lise Meitner Award, her textual and ethnographic expertise on Tibetan pharmacology is a valuable contribution to the project.


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Jan van der Valk is a biologist and ethnobotanist, and recently finished his PhD in anthropology at University of Kent, UK. His botanical expertise strengthens RATIMED’s multi-disciplinary profile, whereas his focus on how plants become part of Tibetan medicines in India as well as in Europe provides complementary insights into the Asian pharmaceutical assemblage.


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Bernard Coops is a photographer, filmmaker and designer, who has contributed his expertise and photographs to the Ratimed project from the beginning. Funds permitting, he will visually document the Sowa Rigpa industry in all project locations.


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The Ratimed Network

PharmAsia Network: Social Studies of the Herbal Pharmaceutical Industry in Asia


Globhealth ERC Advanced Grant: From International to Global: Knowledge, Diseases, and the Postwar Government of Health


Beyond Tradition: Ways of Knowing and Styles of Practice in East Asian Medicines, 1000 to the Present (Wellcome Project at University of Westminster)


Indian Medical Heritage Research Network (International Institute for Asian Studies, University of Leiden)


Nomad RSI: Recherche et Soutien International