Sajid Karim

PhD student

Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, Energy Environment and Society

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Sajid Karim is a Hydro Nation scholar and a PhD student at the University of Dundee, enrolled in the School of Humanities, Social Science, and Law. He is a political science graduate from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and obtained his master's degree in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University, Sweden. 


He is working under the supervision of Professor Dr John Rowan, Director of the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science, University of Dundee and Dr Iain Brown, Senior Research Fellow, University of Dundee. 

PhD Project Title

Stress-testing of Scotland’s Multifunctional Water Resources Against Changing Systemic Risks


Water provides multiple services including for drinking, bathing, and amenity, in addition to its intrinsic natural functions, but is increasingly subject to diverse stresses affecting both quantity (including flooding and drought) and quality (pollution, including new chemical and biological contaminants and ‘cocktail’ mixtures). Land use changes, driven by external socioeconomic factors, in combination with climate change, are both increasing existing risks landscape and leading to new emergent risks not yet on the radar of organisational responses.

The challenge, therefore, is to improve collective understanding of water resource systems in terms of changing stressors and to strengthen coordinated responses and combined risk ownership across the system to ameliorate negative outcomes. Greater clarity is needed on societal expectations for water and more coordinated and spatially targeted responses to reduce risks to acceptable levels and take advantage of synergistic opportunities. This requires further developments and refinements of existing regulatory instruments and policy-based incentives—especially through the unrealised potential for increased use of nature-based solutions to deliver multiple benefits.

Aim, Objectives, and Contribution

The PhD project is dedicated to developing a participatory system-based template and associated stress-testing approach for Scotland’s multifunctional water resources. The research will focus on improving the holistic understanding of Scotland’s water sector in terms of changing stressors and growing uncertainties and how to strengthen the coordinated responses and combined risk ownership across the system to ameliorate the negative trade-offs and maximise the synergies. 

Through this research, the researcher aims to contribute to Scotland’s water governance by highlighting the uncertainties and stressors emanating from various sources along with associated multifaceted risks from a systems perspective and reducing such risks to an acceptable level through informed decision-making in order to make its governance equitable, sustainable and resilient to shocks.