About

Water is vital for human well-being, economic development and a healthy environment. Each year shocks such as floods and droughts have devastating impacts on people and economies worldwide. Ensuring access to an acceptable quantity and quality of water, and protection from water-related shocks is a defining challenge for society in the 21st century.

Oxford Water Network

The Oxford Water Network is the University’s response to these challenges, building upon existing and emerging water science excellence.

The network is a multi-disciplinary research community, harnessing Oxford University’s diverse strengths to address the challenge of managing water in a complex and uncertain world. Oxford’s scientists are developing a research agenda to address key challenges of water security, advancing knowledge to inform policy and planning, and developing instruments to improve practice in partnership with government, research and business communities.

The Oxford Water Network advances cutting-edge interdisciplinary research which yields practical and policy-relevant solutions for managing the risks of water scarcity, water quality and flooding. We drive innovation and generate new knowledge to transform current thinking about how we understand and respond to water-related risk.

Connecting people across disciplines

Addressing the complex challenges of water security requires bringing together insights and expertise from across the natural, social and engineering sciences. Oxford University has a diverse portfolio of outstanding water research spanning 15 different departments, institutes and interdisciplinary schools:

  • African Studies Centre
  • Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Engineering Sciences
  • Department of International Development
  • Department of Politics and International Relations
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Physics
  • Environmental Change Institute
  • Faculty of Law
  • Institute for Science, Innovation and Society
  • Mathematical Institute
  • Oxford Martin School
  • Saïd Business School
  • School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography
  • School of Archaeology
  • School of Geography and the Environment
  • Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment

Forging partnerships

Oxford University invests in strategic partnerships across science, policy and enterprise communities to advance a common agenda for tackling global water risks.

Oxford collaborates with the UN, European Union, World Bank, world-class research institutions, research councils, water utilities, governments, enterprises and NGOs around the world. This global network strengthens the evidence base to inform decision-making and ensure water resources are managed sustainably.

Some of our current partners include:

  • UNICEF
  • IRC
  • BP
  • Skoll Foundation
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Global Water Partnership
  • UK Department for International Development (DFID)
  • OECD
  • Environment Agency
  • Research Councils UK
  • Thames Water
  • Met Office
  • World Economic Forum
  • WWF
  • Siemens
  • World Bank

Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE)

The Oxford Water Network forms part of the Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE) which include networks on the converging challenges of climate, food, energy and biodiversity. ONE showcases the University’s capacity to deliver world-leading, diverse and innovative environmental research and education.