Dr. Sutapa Joti's thesis titled Earthquake Vulnerability Assessment of Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim was done over a five year period, starting in August 2013. The Buddhist monasteries, as repositories of sacred texts and Buddhist relics, are very important in the cultural life and identity of the community. Though the monasteries have immense socio-cultural value, a review of the research literature revealed that there have been hardly any attempts to conduct vulnerability assessment studies on the monasteries of Sikkim. The Sikkim earthquakes of 2006 and 2011 attracted the attention of the academic community and reconnaissance reports and studies on these feature in the research literature. The last earthquake of 2011 received considerable international interest and several scientific publications addressing different aspects of the earthquake were published in the months following the event. The damages suffered by the Buddhist monasteries of Sikkim also received their fair share of attention, with a number of technical papers focusing on the cultural losses in the earthquake. It may not be an exaggeration to state that once the immediacy of this earthquake receded from public memory, the studies and publications tapered off as new disastrous events occurred to grab global attention.
Dr. Joti has done a huge amount of work in visiting sixty eight monasteries located in difficult terrain, and more or less equitably distributed across all four districts in the state of Sikkim. It is possibly the first such comprehensive study of the monasteries of Sikkim, undertaken in recent times where she has used some qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the monasteries with respect to their seismic vulnerability.