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Geography and Environmental Science

Dr Simon Damkjaer BSc, MA, PhD

Research Fellow, ESRC-GCRF funded Water and Waste Project

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Simon Damkjaer is a Research Fellow on the ESRC-GCRF funded project Water and Waste within the School of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

Since 2006, Simon has been engaged with work and research on water and environmental sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa, having acquired practical field experience collaborating with Universities, Governments, Development Agencies and NGOs across Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Simon has an interdisciplinary background that focuses on bringing together physical sciences, policy and law to better understand the interlinkages between practical international development, human ecology and hydrology in all matters related to accessing water in semi-arid regions.


PhD in Sustainable Water Resources & Policy, University College London Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL, 2019.

Master of International Environmental Law & Sustainable Development, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, 2012.

BSc, Environmental Geography, University College London, 2010

Work History

2019 – 2020: Attaché for Development Cooperation, European Union Directorate for Development and Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Mali.

2018 – 2019: Research Analyst, Global Water Intelligence.

2018 – 2019: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, UCL Writing Lab.

2016 – 2018: Vice-President, UCL Water Group.

2016 – 2018: Water Governance Coordinator, Water Youth Network.

2015 – 2017: Research Associate, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.

2015 – 2016: Sustainability Fellow, Anheuser-Busch InBev Ltd.

2014: Rapporteur, Stockholm International Water Institute.

2013: Scientific Programme Committee, Stockholm International Water Institute.

2012 – 2013: Water Programme Advisor, Danish International Development Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda.

2012: Communications Officer, Waterlex.

2011 – 2012: Senior Researcher – Water Resources, the Environmental Justice Foundation.

2011: Legal Researcher – Climate and Energy, ClientEarth

2010: Research Assistant, Salormey Volunteer Group, Ghana.

2006: Volunteer Geography Teacher, Zambezi Environmental Education Centre, Zambia.

Research interests

  • Access to water:  I am in particularly interested in how adaptive pathways for accessing water for domestic use develop in semi-arid Sub-Saharan Africa and especially the contribution of small-scale surface- and sub-surface water storage systems.
  • Water Scarcity Metrics & Indicators:  Widely applied metrics for measuring and characterising water stress and scarcity both lack adequate regard for the inter- and intra-annual variability of renewable freshwater availability in arid- and semi-arid areas as well as what constitutes an adequate daily per capita water demand.
  • Youth-driven Citizen Science and Water Policy: I am very keen on Citizen Science as an established research methodology and am in particular interested in research on how Youth Citizen Science Networks develop within the domain of Water Policy and Environmental Sustainability.
  • Finally, I am interested how the above research areas are linked to implementing international development assistance as well how they relate to:
    • o   Water Diplomacy
    • o   Water and Wastewater tariffs
    • o   Affordability of Water
    • o   The Human Rights-Based Approach to Water
    • o   Water Policy and Law
    • o   Transboundary Freshwater Security
    • o   Transboundary Aquifers

Research Projects

Water & Waste Project

Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures) – Unlocking Potential for Groundwater in Africa (UPGro)

YouKnoW!: Youth-Driven Knowledge in Water!

Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Dr Simon Damkjaer
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 44

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