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After an extended nationwide search, the Udall Center has a new director. Christopher Scott has been a faculty member at the Center since 2006, with an active externally-funded grant program and policy engagement that address water security, the food-energy-water nexus, and broader goals of societal and ecological resilience. At the UA he has garnered more than $13 million in research support from domestic and international sponsors. His published work consists of over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and research reports, 11 edited books, and over 100 chapters and other publications.
As Director, Dr. Scott aims to expand the Center work into new research and policy domains, while also consolidating and enhancing collaboration between the Center’s two main programs – the Native Nations Institute and the Environmental Policy Programs. He will continue as a jointly-appointed, tenured Professor in the UA School of Geography & Development, and as Director of the Consortium for Arizona-Mexico Arid Environments and Professor of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences – both in the UA College of Science.
Prior to joining the University of Arizona, Dr. Scott worked for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a year, coordinating international water-resources collaboration efforts, and for eight years before that with the International Water Management Institute, where he had numerous appointments including as Mexico Team Leader, India Director, and Asia Regional Director. He earned Masters and Doctoral degrees in hydrology from Cornell University, and dual Bachelors degrees in water resources and Asian studies from Swarthmore College.
Dr. Scott is fluent in Spanish and Hindi, and conversant in Portuguese and Nepali. His spouse, Dr. Stephanie Buechler, is an Assistant Research Scientist whose work addresses gender and environment. They have two children: Celina is a junior studying marine conservation and policy at Cornell University and Gabriel a graduating senior from City High School in Tucson. In his spare time, Dr. Scott enjoys hiking and running in the Sonoran Desert, and listening to Sufi qawwali music.
Over the past two decades, the Udall Center has been directed by Robert G. Varady (January 2016 – present) and by Stephen E. Cornell (July 1998 – December 2015), both of whom continue on at the Center. Under their leadership, the Center has grown considerably and is currently home to dynamic and innovative research and outreach programs. The Center employs about 30 persons, including 12 PhDs (6 of them jointly appointed with other UA departments) and one JD. In addition, 10 graduate and 7 undergraduate research assistants work on projects. The Udall Center’s annual budget is on the order of $4 million, of which about 85% is from sponsored research and contracts.