Connection Award: Karen Bakker

Karen Bakker

Connection Award

Karen Bakker

Department of Geography

The University of British Columbia

SSHRC grants supported my research, which has resulted in more than 100 academic publications (including five books)—one of which, Eau Canada, became a UBC Press bestseller and stimulated significant public debate across Canada. SSHRC’s support also enabled our Decolonizing Water team to grow quickly in just two years: from an initial Connections Grant in 2015, to a network of 21 scholars at 15 universities, working with over 20 students. One of the accomplishments of which I am most proud is the support and mentorship that our team can provide to the outstanding work being done by Indigenous students and early-career scholars.


Karen Bakker leads an interdisciplinary team of academic researchers and community-based organizations for the Sustainable Water Governance and Indigenous Law project.

Her research is oriented towards designing and implementing governance reforms to enhance water security in light of ongoing water crises facing Indigenous communities, and focuses on environmental sustainability, reconciliation, and the contributions of Indigenous law to Canadian governance.

Bakker is also Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology at The University of British Columbia (UBC), a professor in UBC’s Department of Geography, and a founding co-director of UBC’s Program of Water Governance. She is the author of over 100 academic publications, including five books on water governance. She has advised such organizations as the UNDP, UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Her commentaries appear frequently in the popular press. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

In addition to being passionate about her research, Bakker is enthusiastic about disseminating that knowledge using creative and sophisticated communications methods, including the arts and social media. Her approach has inspired and engaged students and scholars at all stages of their careers.

About the award

The annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements in SSHRC-funded research, knowledge mobilization and scholarship, as well as the highest achievements resulting from a SSHRC fellowship awarded.

SSHRC’s Connection Award recognizes an outstanding individual or team whose project has engaged campus and community and led to intellectual, cultural, social or economic impacts.