A collaboratory provides a co-creative stakeholder engagement process for solving complex problems. 

Our international and interdisciplinary team is made up of four 'collaboratories' (collaborative laboratories) conducting place-based work in four countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, India, and Malaysia.

Each country faces different development transitions that illustrate the global challenges to sustainable water security. Our collaboratories provide an inclusive space for all stakeholders to meet on an equal basis to explore water security issues, share ideas, formulate activities, reconcile trade offs, and apply interventions according to their development needs. They bring together local communities (many of whom are marginalised groups), researchers from five countries (Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia, and the UK) and a cohort of distinguished stakeholder partners - from utilities, industry, local and national government, regulators, professional bodies, and the third sector - who play a crucial role in realising our systems approach to water security.

Our research is focused in important watersheds and basins in each country:

  • the Upper Cauca River Basin (UCRB), Colombia
  • the ‘Central Ethiopian Problemscape’
  • the Barapullah Basin, India
  • the Johor River Basin, Malaysia

The reach of our project creates opportunities for worldwide information gathering and sharing, and our collaboratory structure offers the perfect platform for cross-country collaborative research. Cultural and knowledge exchange is central to our model: the integration of local and indigenous knowledge with academic science is fundamental to improving decision-making for equitable and sustainable water management. In each location our teams are working at several scales with multiple stakeholders, from sub-basin and mesoscales, up to regional and national scales. 

With four mature examples of Water Collaboratories, a key next step is to provide guidance to enable others to implement the collaboratory model elsewhere. Over the next few years, our four collaboratories will directly inform basin and national policies, and our partners intend to use our guidance to develop their own collaboratory programmes in locations they are working. 

Click the locations on the map or the links below for more information about each of our collaboratory locations. View our interactive maps, read about the place-based research happening in each team, and learn more about the research themes and strands each collaboratory is leading on. 

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