Dr Rob Hope is a Departmental Research Lecturer and Associate Professor at the School of Geography and the Environment and Director of the Water Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He is an economic geographer with expertise in water economics and development policy. His work applies economic theory and techniques in the measurement, design and evaluation of policies and interventions which promote improved environmental and social outcomes. This includes theoretical advances in behavioural economics and social choice theory, methodological progress in interdisciplinary water research, and leadership in establishing Oxford's cross-department research group working on 'Smart Water Systems'. In 2009 he co-led the establishment and funding of Oxford Water Network which includes over 70 faculty and researchers. Since 2010 he has won over £1 million of competitive research grants for this research group from UK research councils (ESRC, NERC), DFID, John Fell Fund and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The research has featured in international media including BBC television, radio and online; The Guardian identified 'smart handpumps' as one of the 12 development innovations of 2012. His wider work has been funded by World Bank, OECD and Gates Foundation for projects in Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He previously directed Oxford's MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management (2006-13) and continues to teach water economics, development policy and research design.
Departmental Research Lecturer and Associate Professor
- Director of the Water Programme, Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment
- Member of the Oxford Water Network
- Member of the Transformations: Economy, Society and Place research cluster
- Tel: +44 (0)1865 275881
- Email: email@example.com
Rob's research examines the relationship between water access and human development. He has worked on several, large interdisciplinary teams (hydrology, engineering, economics, political science, anthropology) on catchment/basin management and sustainable water supply services in India and sub-Saharan Africa. The analytical approaches that shape this work relate to how social choices influence human behaviour, project performance and developmental impacts both at the local level and in terms of shaping public policy to promote more sustainable and evidence-based interventions at scale.
Mobile Water for Development
Delivering a sufficient, reliable and affordable supply of safe water is an enduring public policy challenge. Rob is leading an interdisciplinary, cross-departmental research cluster that sets out to design, build and evaluate mobile technology innovations for water security called mobile/water for development. The cluster have recently completed a cross-country analysis of mobile water payment innovations in urban Africa and have started the first global studies that are testing 'smart handpumps' in rural Kenya and Zambia. They are also examining how 'smart river systems' may be designed to negotiate fairer and more sustainable outcomes in Kenya under increasing hydro-climatic risk and competing water demands.
Negotiating Ecosystems Services
Making informed choices about ecosystems and their services is central to the political economy of managing environmental and societal change. Understanding local uses and associated values of complex and dynamic ecosystem services (biodiversity, water, carbon) will shape potential interventions to reward or deter behavioural responses that may lead to sub-optimal outcomes for people and nature. Rob continues to work on several initiatives that conduct exploratory experimental analysis of future scenarios of ecosystem change based on empirical analysis of social preferences and priorities (ex-ante). This work includes different initiatives around payments/incentives for ecosystem services to guide policy in understanding the trade-offs in the elusive but important global initiatives for poverty reduction and ecosystem conservation (i.e. ESPA, REDD+, PES). His work also considers institutional economics and developmental impacts (ex-post) of competing models of water management in irrigation systems, wetlands and forested catchments in various countries.
Selected Research Projects
- Insuring against rural water risk in Africa
Funded by ESRC/DFID (2013-2015)
- Groundwater Risks and Institutional Responses for Poverty Reduction in Africa
Funded by NERC/DFID (2013-2014)
- New Mobile Citizens and Waterpoint Sustainability in Rural Africa
Funded by ESRC (2012-15)
- Smart Water Systems
Funded by UK DFID (2010-13)
- Mobile Water Payment Innovations in Urban Africa
Funded by Skoll Foundation (2011)
- Water Security, Risk and Society
Funded by University of Oxford John Fell Fund (2011-13)
- Negotiating Trade-Offs Making Informed Decisions about Ecosystem Services
Funded by ESPA (NERC/ESRC/DFID) (2010-12)
- Strengthening Capacity to Alleviate Poverty through Ecosystem Services
Funded by ESPA (NERC/ESRC/DFID) (2009-10)
- Multiple Use Water Systems for Poverty Reduction
Financial support from World Bank - Water and Sanitation Programme; (2008-2010)
- Sustainable Rural Water Supply in Mozambique
Financial support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; (2008-2009)
- Water Ecosystems and Poverty Reduction under Climate Change
Financial support from UK Department for International Development (DfID); (2006-2007)
- Mopane Woodlands and Mopane Worms
Financial support from UK Department for International Development (DfID); (2005-2006)
- Low Base Flows and Livelihoods
Financial support from UK Department for International Development (DfID); (2004-2006)
- Negotiating Watershed Services
Financial support from UK Department for International Development (DfID); (2002-2006)
- Catchment Management and Poverty Reduction
Financial support from UK Department for International Development (DfID); (2001-2004)
Postgraduate teaching for MSc and DPhil students:
- Water and Development
- Socio-political Nature of Water
- Water Economics
- Research Methods
Current Graduate Research Students
Financial analysis of rural water sustainability in Africa
A social-ecological systems analaysis of rescaled water governance in South Africa
Geospatially distributed impacts of mining and irrigation on water growth and development in Kwale, Kenya
Democracy, decentralisation and development in Kenya: an assessment of structural change in the water sector
Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)
Completed in 2014
Women and work in irrigated landscapes in rural India
Completed in 2014
Mobile-enabled payments methods and public service delivery in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Completed in 2014
Corporate water risk and return
Completed in 2013
Burning water - the state, irrigation technology and the production of scarcity in Spain
Completed in 2012
Living with environmental change in the endorheic oasis systems of the northern Sahara
- Garrick, D. and Hope, R.A. (2013) Water security risk and response: the logic and limits of economic instruments. In, Lankford, B., Bakker, K., Zeitoun, M. and Conway, D. (eds.) Water Security - Principles, Perspectives and Practices. Routledge, London. 376 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-53471-0.
- Hall, J., Grey, D., Garrick, D., Dadson, S. and Hope, R. (2013) Preface. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371(2002): 1-2.
- Hope, R. and Rouse, M. (2013) Risks and responses to universal drinking water security. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371(2002): 1-23.
- Foster, T., Hope, R., Thomas, M., Cohen, I., Krolikowski, A. and Nyaga, C. (2012) Impacts and implications of mobile water payments in East Africa. Water International, 37(7): 788-804.
- Hope, R.A., Thomson, P. and Foster, T. (2012) Reducing risks to rural water security in Africa. Ambio, 41(7): 773-776.
- Hope, R.A., Foster, T., Money, A. and Rouse, M. (2012) Harnessing mobile communications innovations for water security. Global Policy, 3(4): 433-442.
- Hope, R.A. (2012) Mobile Water for Development and Growth. Global Policy, Comment and Opinion Blog, Wiley-Blackwell.
- Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Foster, T. (2012) GSM-enabled remote monitoring of rural handpumps: a proof-of-concept study. Journal of Hydroinformatics, 14(4): 829-839.
- Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Foster, T. (2012) Is silence golden? Of mobiles, monitoring and rural water supplies. Waterlines, 31(4): 280-292.
- Vira, B., Adams, W., Agarwal, C., Badiger, S., Hope, R.A., Krishnaswamy, J. and Kumar, C. (2012) Negotiating trade-offs: making informed choices for ecosystem services. Economic and Political Weekly, XLVII(9): 67-75.
- Hope, R.A., Foster, T., Krowlikowski, A. and Cohen, I. (2011) Mobile Water Payment Innovations in Urban Africa. Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford University.
- Edmunds, W.M. and Hope, R.A. (2010) Water sustainability and security in Africa. Chapter 7, in Agyeman-Duah, I. (ed.) (2010) Pilgrims of the Night: Development challenges and opportunities in Africa. Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited. ISBN: 9780956240156.
- Mayers, J., Hope, R.A., et al. (2009) Water ecosystem services and poverty under climate change: key issues and research priorities. Natural Resource Issues, 17. International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.
- Hope, R.A., Frost, P.G.H., Gardiner, A. and Ghazoul, J. (2009) Experimental analysis of adoption of domestic mopane worm farming technology in Zimbabwe. Development Southern Africa, 26(1): 29-46.
- Hope, R.A., Borgoyary, M. and Agarwal, C. (2009) Incentives that work for farmers and wetlands. In, Kumar, P. and Muradian, R. (eds.) Payment for Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, Delhi.
- Hope, R.A., Borgoyary, M. and Agarwal, C. (2008) Small-holder farmer preferences for agri-environmental change at the Bhoj wetland, India. Development Policy Review, 26(5): 585-602.
- Hope, R.A., Jewitt, G.P.W. and Gowing, J.W. (2008) The contested future of irrigation in African rural livelihoods - analysis from a water scarce catchment in South Africa. Water Policy, 10(2): 173-192.
- Hope, R.A. (2007) Evaluating Social Impacts of Watershed Development in India. World Development, 35(8): 1436-1449.
- Hope, R.A., Porras, I., Borgoyary, M., Miranda, M., Agarwal, C., Tiwari, S., and J.M. Amezaga (2007) Negotiating Watershed Services. Markets for Environmental Services series, No. 11. London: IIED.
- Hope, R.A. (2006) Evaluating water policy scenarios against the priorities of the rural poor. World Development, 34(1): 167-179.
- Hope, R.A. (2006) Water, workfare and poverty: the impact of the Working for Water Programme on rural poverty reduction. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 8: 139-156.
- Hope, R.A., Porras, I.T., Bergkamp, G. and Smith, M. (2006) Learning from Partners and Experience. In, IUCN (eds.) PAY - A practitioners' guide for financing ecosystem services for water. World Conservation Union, Gland.
- Greiber, T., Hope, R.A. and Iza, A. (2006) Rules at Work. In, IUCN (eds.) PAY - A practitioners' guide for financing ecosystem services for water. World Conservation Union, Gland.
- Porras, I.T. and Hope, R.A. (2006) Roadmap to Agreement. In, IUCN (eds.) PAY - A practitioners' guide for financing ecosystem services for water. World Conservation Union, Gland.
- Hope, R.A., Porras, I.T., Miranda, M., Agarwal, C. and Amezaga, J. (2005) Are the poor benefiting from environmental service reward schemes? European Tropical Forestry Research Network, 45-46: 36-39.
- Hope, R.A., Jewitt, G.P.W. and Gowing, J.W. (2004) Linking the hydrological cycle and rural livelihoods: A case study in the Luvuvhu catchment, South Africa. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 29: 1209-1217.
- Hope, R.A. and Garrod, G.D. (2004) Household preferences to water policy interventions in rural South Africa. Water Policy, 6: 487-499.
- Hope, R.A. (2002) Wildlife harvesting, conservation and poverty: the economics of olive ridley egg exploitation. Environmental Conservation, 29(3): 375-384.