Mohammad Gharesifard

PhD fellow

Biography

Mohammad Gharesifard received his BSc. degree in Civil Engineering from IAU University, Iran in 2005. He has seven years of combined study/design and construction supervision work experience in Iran's water sector. During this period he worked for water and environmental consulting companies and was involved in several socio-technical water and sanitation projects. In 2013 he enrolled in Water Resources Management MSc. program at IHE Delft and graduated with distinction in April 2015. Mohammad has a keen interest in studying innovative water management paradigms and especially the role of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in citizen science initiatives. During his MSc. thesis research, he focused on understanding the drivers and barriers for citizen participation in ICT-enabled citizen observatories. He employed a social psychology framework from behavioural sciences to map influential factors on willingness of citizens to share their Personal Weather Station (PWS) data. He carried out this research within the scope of the WeSenseIt  project; an EU-FP7 project in the area of environmental monitoring utilizing Citizen Observatories. Directly after graduation, he streamlined into a PhD funded by the WeSenseIt, and Groundtruth2.0 (A Horizon2020 Research and Innovation project) focusing on different dimensions and dynamics of ICT-based citizen participation in water and environmental management.

Topic

ICT-enabled Citizen Observatories of the environment: evaluation of the participation dynamics and outcomes

Research Summary

Citizen participation in environmental management (via Citizen Science projects or Citizen Observatories) has been praised for the potential to facilitate better informed, more inclusive, transparent, and representative decision making. However, the capacity to evaluate the dynamic processes that might lead to such promised effects and the short, medium and long term outputs and impacts of these processes, are largely limited. This is due to the fact that there have not (yet) been enough instances of methodological and empirical research that try to conceptualize and evaluate these dynamics and outcomes of citizen observatories. This research tries to address this gap in research by systematically studying the dynamics behind establishment and functioning of two real life citizen observatories in the GroundTruth2.0 project. These two citizen observatories focus on the issue of pluvial floods in 'Land van Heusden en Altena' (the Netherlands) and balancing biodiversity and livelihoods in the Maasai Mara ecosystem (Kenya). The framework developed for this research incorporates multidimensional characteristics of these initiatives, and takes into account the institutional, political and technological context in which the Citizen Observatories are embedded and with which they interact.

Publications

Journal articles:

  • Gharesifard, M., Wehn, U., & van der Zaag, P. (2017). Towards benchmarking citizen observatories: Features and functioning of online amateur weather networks. Journal of Environmental Management193, 381-393. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.02.003
  • Gharesifard, M., & Wehn, U. (2016). To share or not to share: Drivers and barriers for sharing data via online amateur weather networks. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 535, pp.181-190. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.01.036

Conference papers/abstracts:

Books/Book chapters: