UMI Water, Environment and Public Policy
UMIs (Unités Mixtes Internationales, Mixed International Units) promote collaborative research between U.S. and French scientists and between the social, natural and physical sciences, aiming to develop joint international partnerships. The UMI 3157 was founded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Arizona to develop international and interdisciplinary knowledge on water, conceptualized as a complex system within the framework of regional and global processes. The Center’s overarching theme is “Water systems in arid and semiarid areas” and its focus is the interaction between water, society and environment in a contemporary context. This interdisciplinary approach can be particularly valuable in tackling questions about water in which natural phenomena and human societies have been so intricately connected throughout history.
The environmental, human and social issues that affect water — such as climate change, scarcity, quality, pollution, urbanization, inequalities or poverty — are not one-dimensional or able to be addressed by a single discipline. Consequently, it is through interdisciplinary, multi-layered research that biophysical and social scientists, working together, can address these issues most effectively.