Research Projects

Water Governance

With a grant from the International Council for Canadian Studies, Professor Eric Dannenmaier and a student research team are conducting a comparative assessment of community involvement in the negotiation and implementation of transboundary agreements between Canada and the United States concerning the Columbia River and the Great Lakes. Dannenmaier’s research seeks to assess the effectiveness of these negotiation processes in facilitating participation among stakeholders across borders.

Dannenmaier has been working with students on the project since 2011, and he is leading an Advanced Field Research (AFR) course this spring semester that will continue the work with the support of the new grant. The grant will be used, in part, to fund student travel to research areas in the Great Lakes and Columbia River basins to conduct interviews and gather information.

“This as an important confluence of research and experiential learning,” Dannenmaier said of the project. “We are especially grateful for the support from the Canadian government because it means that our students will have the benefit of externally funded field travel to support their education, and our faculty’s contribution to scholarship on water resource governance will be even stronger.” Professor Karen Bravo, associate dean for International Affairs, echoed this sentiment, noting that “our students, our school, and the international community all benefit from the support of these international research funds.” She said, “I welcome the initiative, drive, and international engagement goals demonstrated by Professor Dannenmaier.”

Water Security

Professor Eric Dannenmaier worked with Italy’s National Research Council, Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, as part of the Scientific Committee responsible for designing and moderating the workshop, “Environmental Security: Workshop on Water Security, Management and Control,” which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, May 31–June 3, 2010.

Professor Dannenmaier’s participation in the workshop grew out of his long-standing research in the area of natural resource scarcity and environmental security. He has taught and written about water scarcity and water law in particular, and this issue is central to countries in the Southern Mediterranean.

The workshop convened Northern African and European government representatives and scientists to examine emerging risks to regional water resources and the potential for scarcity to generate conflict. Participants discussed new approaches to the strategic assessment of critical factors (including land use practices, deforestation, water scarcity, and water quality) as a means to prevent domestic and international conflict. It was sponsored by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme and co-hosted by Morocco’s Ministry of Higher Education.

Professor Dannenmaier chaired a two-part simulation among participants to deepen their understanding of institutional roles in facing and defusing water scarcity crises. He also presented a paper in the workshop’s opening session on “Identifying Stakeholders and Engaging Policymakers,” which examined the emerging concept of environmental security and its relevance for water scarcity and degradation concerns in the Southern Mediterranean region. Dannenmaier stressed the importance of coordinating the work of policy makers and the scientific community to assess resource threats and address priority concerns to protect populations which are uniquely water-dependent.

Dannenmaier’s paper presented at the Workshop, “Water Security: Identifying Governance Issues and Engaging Stakeholders,” was published in Water Security in the Mediterranean Region: An International Evaluation of Management, Control, and Governance Approaches, NATO Science for Peace and Security Series, Andrea Scozzari, Bouabid el Mansouri, eds., (Springer, 2011) and can be found at

Reducing the Campus Carbon Footprint

This research project seeks to raise the profile of green purchasing and contracting options at IUPUI and other IU campuses, and the grant will be used to fund a workshop to present the students’ research findings and discuss policy options with university purchasing officers, as well as to publish the final project results. The Campus Sustainability Committee awarded $6,000 for a project called “Promoting Green Purchasing” developed in connection with an Advanced Field Research (AFR) course taught by Dannenmaier. The university’s goods and services purchasing budget is over half a billion dollars a year—so even a small percentage shift in purchasing practices can have a big impact on reducing our campus footprint. Professor Dannenmaier notes that “the students I am working with are highly motivated and doing excellent work. I expect this project to make a real impact on how our campus fiscal officers view green buying options.”

The AFR course model developed by Dannenmaier has been approved by the faculty for permanent addition to the curriculum, and it has been an important vehicle for teaching legal research and policy analysis in a practical setting. The need to engage diverse constituencies and seek external support is an important part of many public interest lawyers’ practices, and through AFR our students experience this firsthand. The coursework includes comparative legal research and the construction of constituent dialogues and policy papers as well as developing the funding proposal and designing the Green Purchasing workshop.