Professor, IRES
Professor, Institute for Oceans and Fisheries

Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton University and Stanford University. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab (, Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a director on the board of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Professor, IRES
Professor, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Canada Research Chair (t1, Applied Mathematics of Global Change)

Hadi Dowlatabadi’s research is focused at the interface of nature, humans, technology and policy. He uses a systems approach to capture the dynamics of such systems as well as what is known and unknown about it. This permits the use of a value of information approach to focusing on research that matters most. Once the bare bones of a problem are combined with the psychology and sociology of public perception and problem definition the research will identify the paths that have led to the problem and barriers to finding solutions that avoid repeating similar challenges. Hadi has served as Lead Author for the IPCC, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and reviewer for WHO’s Global Burden of Disease. He has worked with 42 PhD students to complete their degrees and published over 150 peer reviewed papers. He has co-founded half a dozen non-profit and for profit initiatives to bring better solutions for meeting human needs.

Hadi is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is also a University Fellow at Resources for the Future in Washington DC.

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Honorary Professor, IRES
Munk School of Global Affairs, Professor
School of the Environment, Professor
Copenhagen Business School, Adjunct Professor

John Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto; an Honorary Professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at The University of British Columbia; and an Adjunct Professor with the Copenhagen Business School, where he is leading the sustainability component of their campus redevelopment process. Prof. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability; the use of visualization, modeling, and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures; sustainable buildings and urban design; creating partnerships for sustainability with non-academic partners; and, generally, the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behaviour change, and community engagement processes. 

Professor, Department of Anthropology
PhD Candidate

Jackie has worked in the environmental consulting industry for more than a decade. She is currently studying under the supervision of Dr. Hadi Dowlatabadi. Her research project comprises an analysis of current and historical development pathways (using spatial and temporal data on resource extraction, transportation, and other types of human infrastructure in British Columbia) with the the aim of producing a more effective methodology for factoring future development scenarios into cumulative effects assessment than current practices.  Jackie has strong opinions on many topics, several of which are informed by actual knowledge. She likes to write, read, run, and eat. She would be genuinely thrilled to hear about your research, especially if there are snacks involved.

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD Candidate in the RMES program, working with Prof. Stephanie Chang. I finished my undergraduate studies in Urban and Regional Planning in Turkey. I did my masters at the University of Colorado Denver with concentration of Urban Place Making. Before starting my PhD at UBC, I worked as an Associate Planner, where I mainly focused on zoning, urban design, land development and land permitting projects.

My PhD research focuses on green infrastructure practices and climate change induced coastal disasters particularly in Canadian coasts. I am interested in how green infrastructure (G.I) effects adaption and resilience to potential coastal disasters and G.I’s applicability to communities along the Canadian coasts.

PhD Student

Sameer Shah is a PhD student in Resource Management & Environmental Studies under the supervision of Professor Leila Harris. He examines the social, political, and natural dimensions of water governance and its impacts on marginalized agricultural communities in India. He is deeply interested in promoting efforts designed to strengthen community adaptation and rural livelihoods in response to shifts in water access. Through his work, he is involved with the Program on Water Governance and with the EDGES Research Group. In 2012, he graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours Co-operative) from the University of Waterloo and earlier this year he completed his Master of Science degree at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability.

Sameer is also actively involved in water policy planning at UBC, in British Columbia, and across Canada. At UBC, he is currently a lead organizer of Water Ways: Understanding the Past, Navigating the Future, a major interdisciplinary workshop celebrating UBC’s 100th anniversary and bringing together leading water experts to advance a global water research agenda for the coming century. He also holds an 18-month appointment as the Pacific Regional Representative for the Canadian Water Network’s Student and Young Professional Committee of emerging water leaders. In 2014, he was selected as one of about 50 applicants from across Canada to participate in the Waterlution Transformative Leaders of the Future Program. As part of this program, he co-facilitated the first Canada-wide exercise in participatory water policy planning with the aim to inject the public’s creative visions into future water policy. Having travelled to over 20 countries and lived in multiple, Sameer is passionate about nature, cooking, photography, and hiking.

PhD Candidate

Michiko Namazu is a PhD Candidate with the background of environmental engineering. She got master’s degree from the department of environmental engineering,  Kyoto University, Japan.

She was doing her research in the Asian-pacific Integrated Modeling (AIM) team at Kyoto University. Her field of study there was climate change modeling especially computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. She especially  focused on evaluating the economic impact from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction quantitatively in Asian regions, including Japan, China, and India, using AIM/CGE [basic] model.

For PhD research, she is interested in investigating sharing economy where services are provided through access instead of ownership thanks to technological developments.  The possibilities of sharing economy to open up new consumption style with less material consumption are the biggest motivation for her to study the topic. Currently she is especially analyzing car-sharing services which are the most widely accepted activities of the sharing economy.