Derek Kauneckis Profile Photo
Derek Kauneckis [he/him/his]
Associate Research Professor

Dr. Kauneckis conducts research on community and regional adaptation to climate change, interjurisdictional cooperation on environmental issues, and environmental governance. His work examines how localized policy systems interact with climate information, formal and informal mechanisms of cooperation, and the institutional design of regional scale climate collaborations. Recent research has looked at the use of climate modeling in river systems management, local governments climate adaptation networks, work with native communities on developing climate adaptation and resilience plans, organic waste systems, and scenario development around extreme weather events. Dr. Kauneckis works on integrated analysis of complex systems where human decision-making interacts with natural and built systems. His work draws on institutional analysis, network theory and socio-technical ecological systems analysis. Dr. Kauneckis is the recipient of multiple teaching and mentoring awards and has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He teaches courses on resilience theory and practice, science, technology and innovation policy, environmental policy, and policy analysis.

Research Areas

Environmental governance, resilience theory, water resources, policy design, urban resilience

Recent Projects


2005, Ph.D., Public Policy, Indiana University, Bloomington

1997, M.S., International Agricultural Development, University of California, Davis

1991, B.A., Anthropology, University of California, Davis

Select Publications

2020, D. Kauneckis & R. Martin, Patterns of cooperation among coastal communities responding to climate risks, Journal of Coastal Management, 48(4): 257-274, DOI: 10.1080/08920753.2020.1773209.

2017, Sapin, J., L. Saito, A. Dai, B. Rajagopalan, R.B. Hanna, D. Kauneckis, Demonstration of integrated reservoir operations and extreme hydroclimate modeling of water temperatures for fish sustainability below Shasta Lake, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 143(10): 1-9, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000834.

2016, Davis, S., D. Kauneckis, N. Kruse, K. Miller, M. Zimmer, G. Dabelko, Closing the loop: Integrative systems management of waste in food, energy, and water systems, Special Issue: FEW Nexus, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 6(1): 11-24, DOI: 10.1007/s13412-016-0370-0.

2015, Benson, M.H., C. Lippitt, R. Morrison, B. Cosens, J. Boll, B.C. Chaffin, R. Heinse, D. Kauneckis, T. E. Link, C. Scruggs, M. Stone, V. Valentin. Five ways institutions can support interdisciplinary research and scholarship before tenure, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 6(2): 260-267, DOI: 10.1007/s13412-015-0326-9.

2014, Ostergard, R. and D. Kauneckis, Health security and environmental change, In: The Routledge Handbook of Health Security, eds. S. Rushton and J. Youde, New York: Routledge. pp. 151-162.

2014, Kauneckis, D., Researching complex governance arrangements: The impact of the Ostrom legacy on research methods and the analysis of institutional design. Policy Matters: 53-61.

2012, Saito, L., F. Fiedler, B. Cosens, and D. Kauneckis, Visions of interdisciplinary graduate education in water resources. In: Toward a Sustainable Water Future: Visions for 2050. W. Grayman, D. Loucks and L. Saito, eds. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA. pp. 196-206.

2009, Kauneckis, D. and D. Halsing, Integrating the social sciences in research planning. In: An Integrated Science Plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin: Conceptual Framework and Research Strategies, Z. Hymanson and M. Collopy, eds., U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. pp. 303-367.

2009, Kauneckis, D., Climate change policy. In: Governing America: Major Policies and Decisions of Federal, State, and Local Government from 1789 to the Present, B. Cunion and P. Quirk, eds. Facts-on-File: New York.

2000, Kauneckis, D., L. Koziol and M. Imperial, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency: The Evolution of Collaboration, Prepared for the Center for the Economy and the Environment, National Academy of Public Administration: Washington, D.C.

Recent Presentations

2021, Utilizing the socio-ecological systems framework to understand waste systems, Organic waste sciences as convergent research: Connecting food, energy and water system sciences, American Geophysical Union (AGU), Dec 13.

2021, Integrating narratives and institutions in environmental governance: Commonalities, complementarities, and discontinuities, w/ J. Huda, Western Political Science Association, Seattle, WA, April 1-3.

2021, Invited Talk, The impact of organizational diversity on local climate adaptation implementation, Polycentricity Network Webinar, University of Kassel, Germany, Aug. 5.

2021 Invited Talk, Regionalizing of information systems for public waters, Water Data Forum Cultivating Regional Resilience: Water, Data, and Climate Challenges at Scale, Organized by Cleveland Water Alliance, the Water Environment Federation, and the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub, April 20.

2020, Designing forecasting into reservoir operations: An application of institutional analysis to identify barriers and opportunities for resilient decision systems, American Geophysical Union (AGU), San Francisco, CA, December 8.

2020, Invited Talk, Building the boat in the rising seas: Developing professional knowledge and competencies for climate adaptation and resilience, Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), October 22.

2020, What is smart tech and how does it relate to resilience?, Engaging smart tech in tribal resilience planning, National Tribal and Indigenous Climate Conference, St. Paul, MN, September 14.

2020, Invited Talk, COVID, climate, and collective Action, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB), Dhaka, Bangladesh, August. 25.

2020, Invited Talk, COVID-19, Climate and compound crises: Lessons for building community resilience, Xavier School of Sustainability, Xavier University Bhubaneswar, Xavier Odisha, India, July 5.

2020, Multi-level governance of climate change: a comparative analysis of US and UK local government programs, w/ R. Romsdahl, Western Political Science Association, Los Angeles, CA, April 9-11.

2020, Designing regional climate cooperation: Toward a theory of institutional bricolage, International Association for the Study of the Commons Workshop, Tempe, AZ, March 12.

2019, Networked governance as a local response to climate vulnerability: Theory and evidence from local governments in the United States, International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), Lima, Peru, July 3.


Environmental policy; environmental governance; climate adaptation and mitigation policy; institutional analysis; science, technology and innovation policy; water; forest; biological conservation; public lands; human dimensions