Gemma Smith researches the governance and politics of international freshwater resources. To this end, her work combines theory and methods from international relations, comparative politics, public policy, environmental governance, and civil and environmental engineering. Her dissertation research aims to contribute to improving the management of transboundary water quality and pollution issues, through better understanding of governance processes and outcomes in North American borderlands. Her methods draw on a variety of social, political, economic and environmental qualitative and quantitative data with the goal of making more robust causal connections between policy decisions and environmental outcomes.

Prior to joining the E-IPER Ph.D program, Gemma completed her Master’s in International Policy (Environment and Energy track) at Stanford University. She previously worked in international finance in Europe and Asia, having completed her Bachelor’s in English Literature and Spanish at the University of Exeter, UK, in 2013.

All Publications

  • The Promise of Collective Action for Large-Scale Commons Dilemmas: Reflections on Common-Pool-Resource Theory INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS Yoder, L., Wagner, C., Sullivan-wiley, K., Smith, G. 2022; 16 (1): 47-63

    View details for DOI 10.5334/ijc.1163

    View details for Web of Science ID 000792481900001

  • Private citizens, stakeholder groups, or governments? Perceived legitimacy and participation in water collaborative governance POLICY STUDIES JOURNAL Hui, I., Smith, G. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psj.12453

    View details for Web of Science ID 000705171600001

  • A path forward for qualitative research on sustainability in the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainability science Santana, F. N., Hammond Wagner, C., Berlin Rubin, N., Bloomfield, L. S., Bower, E. R., Fischer, S. L., Santos, B. S., Smith, G. E., Muraida, C. T., Wong-Parodi, G. 2021: 1–7


    The unique strengths of qualitative research, through in-depth inquiry and identification of unexpected themes and linkages, is essential to our growing understanding of COVID-19's impacts on the social world and its intersection with sustainability science. However, many challenges-physical, psychological, and ethical in nature-face qualitative researchers during the pandemic, as social distancing and travel restrictions prevent in-person field work. In this paper, we outline the essential contributions of qualitative study to sustainability science, discuss current challenges, and in turn, provide recommendations for researchers.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11625-020-00894-8

    View details for PubMedID 33495701

  • Trade-offs across the water-energy-food nexus: A triple bottom line sustainability assessment of desalination for agriculture in the San quintin Valley, Mexico ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY Smith, G., Block, L., Ajami, N., Pombo, A., Velasco-Aulcy, L. 2020; 114: 445–52
  • Think globally, act locally: adoption of climate action plans in California CLIMATIC CHANGE Hui, I., Smith, G., Kimmel, C. 2019; 155 (4): 489–509