Professor John Rowan

Director of UNESCO Centre for Water Law Policy and Science in Physical Geography

Energy Environment and Society, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

John Rowan
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John was appointed Director of the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science in 2022.  The mandate for the Centre is to advance the UNESCO mission for sustainable and equitable development, with a particular focus on Sustainable Development Goal 6: 'Ensuring access to water and sanitation for all'.  For the five years prior, he was Vice Principal of Research, Knowledge Exchange & Wider Impact with overall institutional responsibility for research strategy and excellence in academic performance.

John is a Professor of Physical Geography, with particular expertise in the study of environmental change. His systems-based work on the impacts of climate and land use change - manifested by issues like soil erosion, flooding and biodiversity impacts - has a strong policy focus. Current collaborations extend across multiple countries, e.g., Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Zimbabwe and Turkey. He also has a strong national profile and serves in an advisory capacity to the Scottish Government’s Centres of Expertise in Climate Change (CXC) and Centre for Research on Water (CREW).

John has been at the University of Dundee since 1998. He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), a strategic and highly successful partnership with the James Hutton Institute, established to tackle interdisciplinary challenges around food, water, energy and health security. He was the inaugural Dean of the School of Social Sciences created through restructuring in 2015.

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

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Areas of expertise

  • Clean water/sanitation
  • Climate change
  • Environment
  • Sustainability
  • Water
  • Weather

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor