IGDC’s visit to Michigan State University, USA
On the back of an exciting joint interdisciplinary project, the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC) was part of a delegation to Michigan in late 2018.
On the back of an exciting joint interdisciplinary project, the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC) was part of the University of York’s delegation to Michigan in late 2018. From 13-15 November, IGDC Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Maria Eugenia Giraudo, attended the international workshop on ‘Land Use, Policy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Putting science to work for collaboration and problem solving.’ The event was hosted by the Asian Studies Center, the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations from Michigan State University (MSU); and was funded by the Global Challenges University Alliance.
The workshop was attended by scholars from different Departments in MSU, researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and academics from international institutions. The aim of the event was to exchange on-going research on the interlinkages between Water, Energy and Food around the world from different disciplinary approaches.
Dr Giraudo presented the IGDC’s current research on the WEF Nexus which is being conducted by an interdisciplinary team at the University of York and MSU in a panel which focused on ‘Assessing Research and Policy on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus as of 2018.’ The interdisciplinary team includes, from the University of York, scholars from the IGDC, SEI York, YESI, and the Department of Environment and Geography; and from MSU, academics from Plant and Soil Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Geography, and International Relations. Joining remotely from York, Adam Hejnowicz, CECAN Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biology, Jean Grugel, Director of IGDC, and Sue Hartley, Director of YESI, assisted in presenting the joint work.
The paper is a systematic review of WEF analysis and identifies the drivers of tensions and costs in the nexus, as well as the governance challenges these present. In the coming months, the paper will be expanded to focus on transboundary nexus case studies within Lower and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), and situate them within the broader review of the WEF nexus literature. The cases selected include: the Illi River in Central Asia, the Mekong River in South-East Asia, the La Plata basin in South America, and the Pangani basin in East Africa. All these cases reflect, on the one hand, transboundary cases with strong synergies and trade-offs in water, energy, and food; and, on the other, they emerge from complementary expertise in MSU and the University of York.
In the same workshop, Eugenia also presented on the WEF nexus in Latin America; specifically, on how these interconnections play out in the La Plata River basin, and the environmental, social, and political economic impacts these create. Eugenia built on her research on the soybean complex in South America to address how commodities sit at the core of water, energy, and land trade-offs and synergies, and the need to address these in understanding the challenges of governing WEF nexus dynamics.
The visit was also a good opportunity for the two universities’ teams to meet face-to-face and discuss how to move forward in the current collaboration, as well as how to strengthen and consolidate the MSU-York partnership for future research projects. The University of York delegation also included Brett Sallach, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Environment and Geography Department, and Sabrina Zissler, from Global Partnerships. The support from Sabrina and Global Partnerships at the University of York was key in making this trip a great success.