Marcela Brugnach

Marcela Brugnach PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Water Engineering and Management group in the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Twente. She has completed doctoral studies in both Bioresource Engineering and Forest Ecology from Oregon State University (USA, 2003), and a masters degree in Computer Science from Universidad Nacional del Centro (Argentina, 1991). After completing her doctoral education, she became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis (USA, 2003-2005), and, later on, a research associate in the Institute for Environmental Systems Research at the University of Osnabrück (Germany, 2005-2009).

Dr Brugnach’s research focuses on collective decision making processes in natural resources management. Her expertise includes computer modelling and simulations, participatory processes and decision making under uncertainty. Her research combines quantitative and participatory methods of inquiry and modelling. Over the past years she has been developing concepts and innovative methods to handle uncertainty in collective decision making processes. In September 2009 she joined the University of Twente, and since then she devotes her time to lecturing, supervising students and carrying out research in topics that are concerned with modelling and decision making in water resources management.

At the UT, she has coordinated and taught the courses “Tools for Water Policy Analysis” –with Prof. Eelco van Beek – until last year, and currently, she is in charge of the course “Integrated Water Management” – with Dr. Govert Geldof - offered as part of the MSc programme in Civil Engineering. She has supervised several students at the bachelor, MSc and PhD level, and she is also an active member of the Female Faculty Network Twente (FFNT) of the University of Twente.

Latest Publication

Van den Hoek R.E., Brugnach M., Mulder J.P.M. and Hoekstra A.Y., Analysing the cascades of uncertainty in flood defence projects: How “not knowing enough” is related to “knowing differently”. Global Environmental Change, 24 (2014) 373–388.

Van den Hoek, R.E., M. Brugnach, J.P.M. Mulder and A.Y. Hoekstra. 2014. Uncovering the origin of ambiguity in nature-inclusive flood infrastructure projects, Ecology and Society19(2): 51.

Leskens J.G., Brugnach M., Hoekstra A.Y. and Schuurmans W., 2014. Why are decisions in flood disaster management so little supported by information from flood models? Environmental Modelling & Software, 53: 53-61.

Key Publications

(For a complete list of publications click here)

Brugnach M.,  M. Craps and A. Dewulf,  2014.  Including indigenous peoples in climate change mitigation: addressing issues of scale, knowledge and power. Climatic Change. DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1280-3

Brugnach, M. and H. Ingram, 2012. Ambiguity: The challenges of knowing and deciding together. Environmental Scienceand Policy, 15: 60-71.

Brugnach M., Dewulf A., Henricksen H.J. and van der Keur, P., 2011. More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(1):78-84.

Brugnach M., Dewulf A., Pahl-Wostl C. and Taillieu T., 2008. Towards a relational concept of uncertainty: about knowing too little, knowing too differently and accepting not to know. Ecology & Society, 13(2) (

Brugnach M., Tagg A., Keil F. and de Lange W., 2007. Uncertainty matters: computer models at the science-policyinterface. Water Resources Management, 21:1075-1090.

Contact Information

Water Engineering and Management Group | University of Twente
PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede | Drienerlolaan 5 7522 NB Enschede the Netherlands
+31 (0)53 489 4209