Science, Technology and Environment

The STE Laboratory (in construction!) I am helping build a community of students and faculty across campus, not just at ESPM, who share research interests and collaborations in the Science, Technology & Environment field. My colleagues Professors David Winickoff and Rachel Morello-Frosch and I are working together to build a loose network of researchers.

Below are some of the graduate students who are involved in STE work, or with whom I am working currently on a range of exhilarating projects. You can contact these students to learn more about life as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, or about working with me, as well as about other faculty members. They have summarized their research interests and current activities.

Current students

  • Barbara Haya, PhD student, Energy and Resources Group.
    I am researching the effects of international financial flows for supporting climate change mitigation in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC. I am examining the effects of these financial flows on wind and biomass power development in India with the goal of lending insight into the redesign of the institutions governing these flows. This research draws from development theory and global environmental politics. While a PhD student, I have worked with seven non-governmental and governmental organizations in Delhi, Berkeley, Washington DC, Kathmandu and Jakarta and have presented my research at several annual international climate change negotiating sessions. I am spending the 2007-8 academic year doing research in Delhi.

  • Mark Philbrick, PhD student, ESPM.
    I am interested in the governance of emerging technologies with environmental ramifications, with a current emphasis on nanotechnologies and agricultural biotechnology. In particular, I focus on how societies can influence technological trajectories towards the production of public goods, such as clean air, water, biodiversity, a reasonably stable global climate, and economic prosperity, while minimizing public bads, particularly those that disproportionately affect vulnerable ecosystems, including those involving human communities. My research experiments with new forms of public participation in technological governance and risk assessment, and seeks to identify proactive strategies for businesses, NGOs, and governmental organizations in the face of ongoing scientific uncertainty and political ambiguity. I hope to contribute not only specific policy and strategy recommendations, but also to the larger theoretical debate about the nature of appropriate relationships between science, technology, and society in light of the pressing need to shift towards more sustainable practices, institutions, and systems.

    In this work, I'm grateful for the support provided by the NSF Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS) here at UC Berkeley. A more detailed description of our efforts with them is available at [Note that this url will change once COINS posts our updates to their actual web site]. Under the guidance of Prof. Winickoff, we're also collaborating with the NSF Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University, acting as the west coast site for their National Citizens Technology Forum on certain potential applications of nanotechnology. Finally, together with both faculty and graduate students at the Goldman School of Public Policy, we're collaborating with the NSF Center for Nanotechnology and Society at UC Santa Barabara, seeking to coordinate our research efforts in order to produce the maximum possible impact.

  • Elizabeth Havice, PhD student, ESPM.
    At the broadest level, I am interested in the governance and politics behind natural resource-based industries. My focus is on the factors that influence capitalist production, emphasizing the environmental and social implications of current regulatory and production schemes. My theoretical interests inform efforts to reform production and regulatory cycles towards environmentally preferable outcomes and in support of socio-economic development objectives in developing countries. In my dissertation, I apply this framework to the Western and Central Pacific Ocean's tuna industry. In doing so, I argue that the rapid evolution of public and private-led regulatory efforts and the urgent state of fisheries resource decline have burgeoned a sophisticated nexus of ‘re-regulation’ that guides the politics and practice of resource sovereignty and production. The new regulation transforms traditional relations between developed and developing countries, molds interactions among economically disparate South states, and sparks efforts at South-South regional cooperation. However, since regulatory strength is limited by the highly adaptive global nature of international capital, so too are opportunities to use the industry for environmental and developmental gains. Kamal Kapadia, PhD student, Energy & Resources Group. My research interests revolve around understanding this thing called "development," both as a historical process (i.e. how did we create such an inequitable and unsustainable world?) and as an opportunity for progressive change (i.e. how do we make things better?). My projects span the topics of economic revival after natural disasters (specifically, the tsunami in Sri Lanka), technology (renewable energy and information technology) and rural development, and the workings of institutions of development (IFIs like the World Bank and social movements like the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka).

  • Laura Hosman
    Laura Hosman is currently a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work there focuses on the role for information and communications technology (ICT) in developing countries, particularly in terms of its potential effects on socio-cultural factors, human development, and economic growth. Presently, she is studying ICT-in-education projects, as well as the role of corporate involvement in bringing technology to the developing world through Public-Private Partnerships.

  • Avery Cohn (ESPM)
  • Abigail Martin (ESPM)
  • Shufei Lei (ESPM)
  • Chad White (ERG)
  • Kamal Kapadia (ERG)

Graduated Students

  • Jorg Balsiger, Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute.
    My academic training includes an undergraduate degree in history and international affairs from Holy Names College (1993), a masters degree in international relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1996), and a PhD in environmental science, policy and management from the University of California at Berkeley (2007). Within these disciplinary fields, I have carried out research on international and comparative environmental politics, policy and administration for close to fifteen years.

    Between 1995 and 2001, I worked as a researcher and policy advisor to non-governmental organizations such as World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund, German and Swiss bilateral donors, and international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank. My specialties during this time included the role of non-governmental environmental organization, forest policy and administration, capacity building and donor coordination, and evolved around consulting work in the United States, Europe, Africa, East Asia and Southeast Asia. Several research products emerged during this period, including a book titled Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission: The First Fifty Years (FAO, 2000).

    My current research interests straddle the fields of international relations, global and comparative environmental politics and organization theory. My dissertation Uphill Struggles: the Politics of Sustainable Mountain Development in the Swiss Alps and California’s Sierra Nevada, presently under revision for publication, examines the role of mountain regions in the political landscape of modern nation states and seeks to lay the groundwork for comparative sustainable development as a new field of inquiry. I have also co-authored an article on international cooperation theory with Kate O’Neill and Stacy VanDeveer, published in the Annual Review of Political Science, have several articles on issues pertaining to international and comparative environmental politics under preparation, and written numerous book reviews for academic journals. As a Max Weber Fellow, I am beginning to explore the role of global environmental change as a driving force of regionalization in the context of sustainable development governance.

  • Lauren Gwin
    I finished my PhD in 2006. My thesis, "New Pastures, New Food: Building Viable Alternatives to Conventional Beef," examined supply chains for the U.S. grass-fed and organic beef sectors, to determine barriers to scale and explore routes to more sustainable alternatives to current meat production practices. Currently, I am working as a researcher with the University of California Cooperative Extension, focusing on building the infrastructure necessary for more local and regional meat production and marketing. I am also co-coordinating the development of a national network of technical assistance providers for niche meat processing. In the spring of 2008, I will begin a research appointment at Oregon State University, focused on sustainable agriculture policy.

  • Zdravka Tzankova, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz.
    My work employs analytical and conceptual tools from several fields of inquiry, most importantly political science and science and technology studies, to explore the causes and implications of cross-national (and other cross-jurisdictional) variations in different areas of environmental governance. I use comparative case studies to examine how variables such as political culture and institutions, the identity and strategies of interest groups, and the processes and institutions for production and use of scientific knowledge shape responses to a range of contemporary environmental challenges, from biological invasions and biodiversity conservation to the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture and aquaculture I am especially interested in the science-policy dynamics of environmental decision making, particularly the handling of scientific uncertainty in the political and policy process.

    My research is also starting to explore the democratic and conservation implications of increasingly popular non-state market-based governance initiatives such as eco-labeling and product certification, with particular interest in how such new approaches to setting and implementing environmental and resource policy interact with more traditional regulatory instruments across various sectors where the two types of instruments are starting to intersect.

    Most immediately, I am starting to explore non-state market-based governance schemes for fisheries and aquaculture, looking at patterns of complementarity and competition among different market-based sustainability schemes targeting the environmental performance of these sectors, and at patterns of interaction between such market-based environmental governance schemes and their regulatory counterparts. Since I am ultimately most interested in the contribution of market-based governance to attaining on-the-ground conservation outcomes, a key goal of this research is to establish how such patterns affect the practical effectiveness of over-all environmental governance in each sector.

  • Andrew Mills (ERG, M.Sc; now a PhD student at ERG)
  • Renata Andrade, (professor at UCB, Brasilia, Brazil)