Scientific Research Network

In January 2016 The Geneva Water Hub launched a Research Network with the aim of grasping and providing answers to the scientific and societal challenges that the water sector is facing.

The goal of the research network is to reflect on these topics by focusing on questions and variables taking into account the whole socio-ecological system. This means that water governance issues are not simply seen as exogenous phenomena resulting from constrained actions under geophysical conditions, but that social interactions are a key factor to be included in research on the water sector.

Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, mostly grounded in social sciences, the network aims at supporting relevant studies including a diversity of scales and/or geographical areas.

The Approach

The Research Network is built around three key pillars.

  • Interdisciplinary perspective
    This multi-faceted approach allows us to better understand the specific issues of a particular field or discipline. Moreover, the integration of several disciplines ensures that new questions are raised and new tools for undertaking analysis are explored.
  • Theoretical knowledge based on case studies
    It is important that our work is well connected with the reality in the field and that our “action-research” projects are based on concrete issues. This ensures a consistency in our research initiatives and guarantees that there is always a link between theory and reality.

  • Question of scales
    The question of scale, whether geographical, institutional, or time, and their degree of influence, is an important consideration in our research approach. The concept of embeddedness helps us to understand the different levels of complexity and how different contexts interact with each other.

1st Milestone - The Consolidating Grants

To build a better understanding of these societal challenges, the Geneva Water Hub opens applications for four consolidating grants (each 30’000 CHF). Grants will be attributed to four Universities: UNESCO-IHE (Delft, The Netherlands, [email protected]), The University of Sheffield (UK, [email protected]), EAWAG (Zürich, Switzerland, [email protected]), University of Geneva (Switzerland, [email protected]). Founded upon previous relevant and robust scientific achievements, applications should concern one or multiple topics of the following research axis:

  • Analysis of water governance and policy processes for water conflict resolution;
  • Analysing Hydropolitics, through the lenses of intersectoral and transboundary conflicts;
  • Identification of cooperation avenues for water conflict prevention;
  • Everyday water politics and conflicts: analysis of institutional bricolage and bottom-up arrangements.

The four consolidating grants have been attributed to:

Dr Jeltsje Sanne Kemerink-Seyoum from IHE Institute for Water Education, in Delft, The Netherlands. More information below

On 27 November 2017, Jelsje presented the results of her work during the Hydropolitics Research Network Talks. The video is available below:


Dr Komlan Sangbana, from the Institute for Environmental Sciences (IES) of the University of Geneva, Switzerland


Dr Ellie Chowns from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. More information below.


Dr Mi Nguyen from EAWAG, Dübendorf, Switzerland. More information below.

    On 27 November 2017, Dr Manuel Fisher, Dr Mi Nguyen's supervisor, presented the results of the work during the Hydropolitics Research Network Talks. The video is available below:


    Palgrave Studies in Water Governance (more information in PDF)

    "Why infrastructure still matters: unravelling water reform processes in an uneven waterscape in rural Kenya" (Kemerink, J.S. lead author)

    "Jumping the water queue: changing waterscapes under water reform processes in rural Zimbabwe" (Kemerink, J.S. lead author)

    Bibliography - "Network governance of urban sanitation management in Vietnam" (Mi Nguyen)