Oxford University recruits PhD (DPhil) students to join global research network on the next wave (NEWAVE) of water governance

Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment NEWAVE

Application deadline: 12pm/GMT on the 15th November 2019

The European Union has awarded a prestigious grant of four million euros for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) to the NEWAVE 'Next Water Governance' proposal led by Dr Jampel Dell'Angelo and Prof. Dave Huitema at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in partnership with the University of Oxford and 28 participating organisations globally.

The transnational and transdisciplinary network of excellence that has now been funded has two key objectives. The first is to develop and implement a cutting-edge research agenda on the key water governance priorities and prepare actionable insights for future directions. The second is to train a new generation of 15 water governance early stage researchers and ensure that they have the skills to make significant contributions to water governance research and practice.

The Network will leverage Oxford's expertise on water economics and governance through research, education and engagement. Prof. Dustin Garrick will lead the Oxford team and coordinate a work package on patterns of water governance. The Oxford team will work with its academic and local partners to explore how innovative institutional models form and perform in response to water conflicts, rural water supply challenges and other water management challenges.

Associate Professor Dustin Garrick and Professor Rob Hope will supervise 2 of the 15 PhD students based in the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

Governing Informal Markets in Eastern Africa (Supervisor: Associate Professor Dustin Garrick)

Informal water markets have proliferated in response to rapid urbanisation and increasing competition for freshwater. From Kenya to Kathmandu, tanker operators, packaged water vendors and other small-scale water enterprises operate in diverse settings, ranging from small towns to mega-cities. Despite their prevalence, informal markets are virtually uncharted, particularly their governance and patterns of cooperation, conflict and competition. Myths dominate in the absence of evidence, fuelling perceptions that informal markets prey on the poor and lead inexorably towards inequality and unsustainable outcomes. This study will examine the institutions and political economy of informal water markets in eastern Africa using a mixed-methods approach. The project will start with a systematic review of the institutions governing informal water markets. The study will chart new ground by comparing the emergence, evolution and impacts of informal water markets in Eastern Africa.

Download PhD description and further information

Rural Water Finance in Africa (Supervisor: Professor Rob Hope)

Performance-based models for rural water services are emerging in Africa in response to unsatisfactory progress in delivering reliable and safe water to rural people. Pioneer social enterprises are making progress, but at the margin of the challenge, as there are still 300 million rural Africans without basic drinking water. Sustainable finance and institutional design are key elements to blending government, donor and consumer funds for universal delivery of safe drinking water to communities, schools, and healthcare facilities. A critical gap is understanding ways to create value to influence the payment behaviours of rural consumers and facilities in order to attract non-traditional funding. This study will examine policy and governance issues informing how rural consumers pay for water across service delivery models, payment methods, and political spaces, using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Download PhD description and further information


Suitably qualified candidates wishing to apply for this studentship should submit a CV with details identifying the fit and motivation for the role to Associate Professor Garrick or Professor Hope before making a formal Oxford University application.

Applications must be submitted before 12pm/GMT on the 15th November 2019: University of Oxford: Graduate Admissions - DPhil in Geography and the Environment

The successful applicant must be available to start with a programme-level training workshop planned for Summer 2020 in Amsterdam, completing their studies in September 2023.

Prospective applicants should review the eligibility criteria stipulated in the Information note for Marie Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows Innovative Training Networks