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Support the WSPM Anniversary Fund

Ilana Cohen, with fellow alumnus Cliff, working in the field in Kenya"With support from my supervisor and funding from the School of Geography, my research, titled Measuring Consumer Benefits from Mobile Water Payment Innovations took me to Kiamumbi, Kenya – the epicentre of the mobile money revolution.... The experience was incredibly valuable as it led to my career in Kenya at the GSMA, supporting energy, water and sanitation providers to leverage mobile technology."

Ilana Cohen, WSPM course alumna

At Oxford we passionately believe that it is only through learning in the field that students develop the practical knowledge, understanding and skills that are needed to solve the escalating range of water security problems faced globally, and to evaluate the trade-offs necessary for their management.

We have supported students in the field for the past 15 years with most students researching overseas and as far afield as Cambodia, Uganda, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Nepal, Kenya, to name but a few destinations. In 2019, 23 WSPM students are completing dissertations, with 17 students undertaking overseas field work, 4 doing field work in the UK, and 2 using secondary data and modelling techniques. Out of the 17 students doing overseas fieldwork, 4 are working in the Americas, 1 in Europe, 5 in Asia, 5 in Africa, and 2 in the Middle East.

The Anniversary Fund is building on the success of sending students into the field. Our vision is to provide new opportunities for future cohorts of Water Science, Policy and Management (WSPM) students to do overseas field work. We have helped students with partial funding towards their dissertation research; and by launching the Anniversary Fund we strive to build up future funding resources. Supporting the MSc dissertation research projects will:

  • train the next generation of water managers and policy makers via hands-on field work;
  • support key dissertation field work with student travel bursaries;
  • provide practical skills for dissertation research and professional development.

Esteban Boj Garcia, with a water tanker"I received funding to carry out field work in Mexico, where I carried out a market analysis of the private water tanker market in Morelia to examine the specific role of businesses customers in the market's performance. This experience was extremely valuable for me. I learned how to approach different actors, from tanker drivers to water utility managers, and to put a face to the problems in an urban water supply environment. It also played an important role in getting my current position in Bolivia as Water Resource Management Advisor for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ)."

Esteban Boj Garcia, WSPM course alumnus


In the summer months, students undertake an original research dissertation as part of their course, and this involves summer field work in the social sciences or natural sciences, either in their home country or overseas. Students undertake primary data collection on applied water resources management via, for example, interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, freshwater specimen collection, water quality sampling and analysis.

Some WSPM students undertake secondary data collection and analysis, involving specialised training in data management, visualisation and modelling. Some of these students will attend training courses instead of doing field work. In all cases, students gain valuable, transferable, practical skills which provide training opportunities and often lead to employment. Find out more about some of our recent students' dissertation projects here.

...And how you can help

It is our goal to raise £50,000 over 5 years, through regular giving and by building up endowment funds. We have never asked for financial support from our alumni before, but we believe that many of you would support the WSPM Anniversary Fund, to help us meet our target of £10,000 per year over the next five years.

Hand pumpIf you would like to donate to the WSPM Anniversary Fund, please follow these steps:

  1. Visit our departmental Giving Page and make a donation;
  2. Then email Ian Curtis (ian.curtis@eci.ox.ac.uk) to let him know you have made a gift and the amount;
  3. We can then ensure that your gift is directed to the WSPM Anniversary Fund.

Thank you on behalf of the WSPM students!

We hope that you will consider supporting the WSPM Anniversary Fund. A gift of any size will make a real impact to student dissertations and their travel costs:

  • £50 provides bus transport to meet interviewees
  • £100 provides train transport to repeat sample a river, lake or wetland
  • £250 pays for a translator for student dissertation interviews
  • £250 covers travel costs to a dissertation site in Europe
  • £500 covers travel costs for a student carrying out field research in Africa, Asia or the Americas
  • £1000 covers most of the costs of supporting a WSPM student doing overseas field work.

To learn more about the WSPM field work experiences, please read the field trip blogs from our current cohort and our former students' reflections on their dissertations.