UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub – Advisory Board Members

  • Nina Laurie (Chair)

    is a critical human geographer concerned with the relationships between development, politics and culture. Her work promotes global collaborations to interrogate diverse development settings, drawing on feminist, post-structuralist and postcolonial approaches to conceptualise the relationship between development policy and identity making. She examines social movements and knowledge production including a focus on how citizenship demands are mobilised around development agendas. Most recently, she has examined how so called ‘new development actors’ (e.g. indigenous people, trafficked women, international volunteers and sports clubs) imagine and enact development in ways that generate and broker new community development knowledges.

    Nina is Professor of Geography and Development. She has a BA from Newcastle University (UK), MA from McGill University (Canada) and a PhD from University College London (UK). She worked at Newcastle University from 1992 until early 2016 where she was Professor of Development and the Environment and founding Director of the Centre for Latin American Studies. She directed the Developing Areas Research Network, bringing together researchers and development practioners in North East England from 2005 until 2010. She has held visiting professor posts at the University of Otago, New Zealand, Queen’s University, Canada, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and the graduate school at San Simón University, Bolivia. She has also directed British Council Higher Education links in Bolivia, Chile and Peru. She served on REF 2014 sub panel 17 (Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies). Nina is co-author of Indigenous Development in the Andes and Geographies of New Femininities and co-editor of Working the Spaces of Neoliberalism, Género y Sexualidad Rural and Las Displiciencias de Género.

  • Dr Chu Thai Hoanh

    has over 35 years of experience in research and management in agriculture and water management including: hydraulic modeling, crop modeling, optimization, and production supply-demand and climate change scenario analysis. In the early 1970’s he was the chief hydrologist in charge of hydrological measurement and analysis for the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam. During 1976 - 1996, he was in charge of hydrological measurement, water modeling and remote sensing applications for water resources planning and management in South Vietnam. He also served as a lecturer on remote sensing at the University of Ho Chi Minh City (1987-1989).

    He joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1997 to conduct research in GIS and water modeling for rice and shrimp production in the coastal area, crop modeling and socio-economic analysis for regional and national balancing of rice supply and demand, and developing optimization models for land use planning with many case studies in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2001, he was awarded a medal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam in recognition of his contributions to Agriculture and Rural Development. Since May 2003 he has served with the International Water Management Institute


    (IWMI) as both senior and principal Water Resources Specialist on water modeling for managing conflicts between agriculture and aquaculture, and for analyzing climate change scenarios, companion modeling that combines role-playing games with agent-based models for facilitating integrated water resources management. Recently he has served as an international specialist for the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to analyze climate change scenarios, as theme leader for irrigation for the Mekong Program on Water Environment and Resilience (M-Power) and as research coordinator of Sumernet (Sustainable Mekong Research Network).

  • Eduardo Brondizio

    is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington, where he is the Director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Ecological Landscapes (CASEL). Brondizio is the Co-Chair of the IPBES Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2016-2019). He serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability (Elsivier). His research Interests encompass environmental and economic anthropology; land use and landscape history; institutions and collective action; household economy and demographics; livelihoods and poverty; local ecological knowledge; people-forest interaction; social-ecological complex systems analysis; global environmental and climate change; sustainability sciences; integrative methodologies.

  • Zachary Tessler

    studies the risk faced by cities and communities on river deltas due to global and local environmental change, and how it changes at a range of spatial scales. This research depends on novel use and integration of global and regional datasets. I combine GIS, remote sensing, and numerical modelling to better understand the interaction of different components of the river delta systems. At the global scale, he has utilized contrasting delta systems as natural experiments. These comparative studies have relied on empirical, GIS-based methods, global remote sensing data, and global hydrological modelling. At the local, delta-specific scale, his work on perturbations to sediment delivery and deposition has utilized coupled ocean dynamics, waves, and sediment transport models. Recent findings highlight several long-term implications for sustainable development of deltas. The capability for wealthy and developing nations to reduce the overall risk to their deltas through risk reducing defensive investments is not guaranteed into the future. The cost-effectiveness of these defences is reduced both by increasing energy costs, as well as increasing sea levels. Both trends increase the overall cost for a given level of coastal protection. Tessler utilizes decade-to-century economic trend forecasts to estimate the varying impact on delta risk across each delta system, finding that certain delta systems, in particular the Mississippi (USA), the Rhine (the Netherlands), the Yangtze (China), and the Chao Phraya (Thailand), are more sensitive to changes in economic-trends given their underlying geophysical and environmental characteristics. Efforts to address the root causes of land subsidence in the near-term are critical for long-term sustainability.

  • Margaret Palmer

    is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. Her research has focused on coastal and freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on restoration of rivers, streams, and wetlands. She is an international leader in restoration ecology, has > 150 peer-reviewed articles and co-edited Foundations of Restoration Ecology, a widely used text that is in its second edition. Palmer is also known for her work at the interface of science and policy, having served as a technical advisor and as an innovator that helps build solution-focused teams to solve problems that have social, legal, policy, and scientific aspects. She co-designed and now directs a unique national synthesis center (SESYNC) that has championed new approaches to fostering research collaborations between social and natural scientists on problems at the interface of people and the environment. Palmer’s work has been supported primarily by the National Science Foundation with additional funding from other federal agencies and foundations. She serves on numerous scientific advisory and editorial boards including Conservation International, the Water Sciences & Technology Board of the National Academies of Science and the journals Restoration Ecology and Science. Her awards include AAAS Fellow, Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, Ecological Society of America (ESA) Fellow, Lilly Fellow, the Society of Freshwater Science (SFS) Award of Excellence, the ESA Sustainability Science Award, SFS Fellow, and the Ruth Patrick Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. She has been an invited speaker in numerous and diverse settings including regional and international forums, science-diplomacy venues (e.g., in North Korea), and popular outlets such as the Colbert Report.

  • Vinita Damodoram

    at Sussex University. As a historian of modern India, she is interested in sustainable development dialogues in the global South. Her work ranges from the social and political history of Bihar to the environmental history of South Asia, including using historical records to understand climate change in the Indian Ocean World. Her publications include; Broken Promises, Indian Nationalism and the Congress Party in Bihar (1992), Nature and the Orient, Essays on the Environmental History of South and South-East Asia(1998),Post Colonial India, History Politics and Culture (2000), British empire and the natural world: environmental encounters in South Asia, (2010), East India Company and the Natural world (2014) and more recently Climate change and the Humanities (2017). She is also the author of several articles in established journals. She is particularly interested in questions of environmental change, identity and resistance in Eastern India. An experienced researcher and teacher she has an M.Phil from JNU and a PhD from Cambridge. Currently, she is the director of the Centre for World Environmental History at Sussex. The centre is host to several research projects and a number of research associates. Professor Damodaran has had research grants for her work from the ESRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the AHRC. She is currently leading an AHRC network project on the botanical and meteorological history of the Indian Ocean and is working on two projects one with the McGill University and the second with Noragric. The centre collaborates actively with Kew Gardens, the British Library, the U.K. Met office and several international institutions both in India and elsewhere such as JNU, the Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, the Indian Museum, Kolkata, the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, and McGill University, Canada and IDS, Sussex. She is engaged in building up the profile of South Asian studies and environmental history at the University of Sussex and internationally.

  • Stephen Darby

    is Professor of Physical Geography in Geography and Environmental Science. Steve has worked at Southampton since 1997. He served as the Vice Chair (Research) of the British Society for Geomorphology (2012-2015) and in 2107-18 was Chair of that society. He has worked on ESPA Deltas and his work on STELAR-S2S, a multi-institutional project, led by the University of Southampton, is developing new insights into the way large rivers interact with climate to modulate sediment transfer from source to their sinks zones (e.g. in deltas). This requires detailed understanding of the role of bank erosion, floodplain sedimentation and climatic fluctuations on sediment delivery and storage. His work on the DECCMA project helps to develop understandings of migration within deltas: how climate change and sea-level rise might influence it, and the extent to which it serves as an effective adaptation. Furthermore, it aims to provide better evidence to inform policy makers about the possible futures of deltas, how adaptation can mediate potentially adverse impacts of climate change, and the potential role of migration as an adaptation option. The project study sites include the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta (Bangladesh and India).

  • Dr Saleemul Huq

    Dr. Saleemul Huq is the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD) since 2009. Dr. Huq is also a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED), where he is involved in building negotiating capacity and supporting the engagement of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in UNFCCC including negotiator training workshops for LDCs, policy briefings and support for the Adaptation Fund Board, as well as research into vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the least developed countries. Dr. Huq has published numerous articles in scientific and popular journals, was a lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and was one of the coordinating lead authors of ‘Inter-relationships between adaptation and mitigation’ in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007). Prior to this, he was at Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) where he was in charge of management and strategy of the organisation. In 2000 he became an Academic Visitor at the Huxley School of Environment at Imperial College in London.

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