Gemma Smith

Assistant Research Professor, Udall Center
Assistant Professor, School of Government and Public Policy
gemma photo
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Gemma Smith holds a joint appointment as Assistant Research Professor at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. 

Gemma is an interdisciplinary scholar at the intersection of environmental policy, governance, and justice, and water resources engineering. She graduated from Stanford University with a PhD in Environment and Resources and a Minor in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2023. 

Her current research focuses on the governance of international freshwater resources. She works to improve the management of transboundary water quality and climate change adaptation through better understanding of governance processes and outcomes in North American borderlands. Her methods draw on social, political, economic and environmental qualitative and quantitative data with the goal of making more robust causal connections between institutional design, policy decisions, and environmental outcomes. Her research has been published in Policy Studies JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy, and International Journal of the Commons, among others. 

Prior to her PhD, Gemma completed her Master’s in International Policy (Environment and Energy specialization) at Stanford University and a Graduate Diploma in Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She previously worked in international investment management in Europe and Asia, having completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Spanish at the University of Exeter, UK, in 2013.


  • PhD in Environment & Resources, Stanford University, PhD Minor in Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • MIP in International Policy, Stanford University
  • BA in English Literature and Spanish, University of Exeter