2023-2024 Water Policy Scholars Program

The Center for Water Policy is inviting proposals from UW System faculty to become the 2023-2024 Water Policy ScholarThe Scholar award is $10,000, which is supported by the UWM Office of the Provost. 

Established in 2011 with an endowment of $2.6 million from Lynde B. Uihleinthe Center is based within the School of Freshwater Sciences.  Our mission is to provide world class interdisciplinary solutions to resolve regional, national and international problems related to the protection, restoration and conservation of freshwater resources to ensure long term environmental health and quality of life.  

The Water Policy Scholars program brings policy researchers across the UW System together with freshwater scientists and economists to frame policy questions and create solutions to address water resource issues. The program is intended to increase the Center for Water Policy’s capacity to develop interdisciplinary and sustainable solutions to freshwater problems.      


The Center is seeking Water Policy Scholars to develop new initiatives in innovative research, collaboration and engagement to address one or more of the Grand Challenges identified by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.  

  1. Agricultural Water Management 
  2. Water Quality Safety and Emerging Contaminants 
  3. Industrial Water Engineering and Technology 
  4. Great Lakes Management and Restoration 
  5. Water Infrastructure: Collection, Distribution, Treatment  
  6. Water Business and Finance 
  7. Watershed Management and Restoration 
  8. Water Security, Protection and Resilience 
  9. Healthy Recreational and Transportation Water Use 
  10. Aquaculture/Aquaponics/Water Food Systems 

The scholar will receive $10,000 to pursue their project.  In addition to financial support, Scholars can expect other benefits from involvement in the Center, such as:  

  • Research support from a postdoc Water Policy Specialist on regulatory law and policy;   
  • New avenues for developing theoretical, methodological or practical applications of their established areas of research and expertise;  
  • Opportunities for funded research, working in collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized researchers in a variety of water-related research areas, including human and ecosystem health, freshwater system dynamics, freshwater technology, climate change and water resources sustainability 
  • Developing expertise in the domain of social-ecological systems and exploring policy interventions to protect and strengthen these systems; and  
  • Public promotion of the scholar’s work product.  

Examples of past work by Water Policy Scholars include:  

  • Developing a model for assessing illness risk from PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) ingestion exposures to inform policy making around this emerging contaminant.
  • Creating an interactive online map of Native American nations that are part of the Anishinaabe Confederacy located around the western Great Lakes; 
  • Highlighting issues of participation and justice in Great Lakes and freshwater governance;  
  • Exploring innovative practice and policy for advancing green infrastructure; and 
  • Articulating climate change impacts on water resources. 


Some examples of tangible deliverables scholars should produce are: 

  • Research and write a publishable paper on policy related to one of the Grand Challenges; 
  • Form a team of UW System faculty/researchers around one of the Grand Challenges and prepare a collaborative grant proposal for a longer term project;  
  • Co-advise on masters and doctoral thesis committees for students in the School of Freshwater Sciences;  
  • Organize a mini-conference or panel discussion that will attract policy scholars and practitioners from the Great Lakes region and beyond.  

We will announce the academic year 23-24 Scholar in April.  Scholars will complete their work by the end of the Spring 2024 semester. The Center will invite the Scholar to present their work at the School of Freshwater Sciences, and open to the broader public 


  • Center for Water Policy opens RFP and application period on January 17. 
  • Applicants submit materials via this link by March 3. 
  • Scholar selected by April 14. 

If you have any questions, you may email Marilyn at waterpolicy@uwm.edu.