Sarah Michaels
Professor Political Science

Dr. Sarah Michaels is the 2021-2022 Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in Environmental Science at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. She is Professor, Department of Political Science and Faculty Fellow, Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. She has consulted for the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Water Partnership, the International Sava River Basin Commission, the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Areas of Interest

  • Water resources policy and governance
  • Uncertainty and knowledge uptake in public policy decision making
  • Science-policy interface
  • Comparative environmental policy
  • Regional governance


  • Advanced Study Program Faculty Fellowship, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • Gilbert F. White Fellowship, Resources for the Future, Washington, District of Columbia
  • Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Economics,
  • University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Stuart Nesbitt White Research Fellowship, Emergency Preparedness Canada
  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Selected Publications

  • Michaels, S. Forthcoming. Laying the policy groundwork for considering integrated uncertainty. In Mearns, L., Forest, C., Fowler, H., Lempert, R. and Wilby, R. (eds.) Uncertainty in Climate Change Research: An Integrated Approach. New York, NY: Springer.

  • Crase, L., Cooper, B, Michaels, S. and Connor, J. 2020. "Is Australian water policy reform transferable globally, given future climate extremes?" Climate Policy 20:5:641-651.

  • Michaels, S. and Gruszczynski M. 2016. "Venue matters: Deliberating on Missouri River water diversions in congressional committee hearings." Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education  158:August 2016:132-147.

  • de Loë, R., Murray, D., Michaels, S. and Plummer, R. 2016. "Policy transfer among regional-level organizations: Insights from source water protection in Ontario." Environmental Management 58:1:31-47.

  • Michaels, S.  2016.  "Probabilistic forecasting and the reshaping of flood risk management," Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 7:1:41-51. 
  • "Localized concerns, scientific argumentation, framing and federalism." Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 6:2-3:173-193. 2014. With Gruszczynski. M.W.
  • "Science communication and the tension between evidence-based and inclusive features of policy making." New Trends in Earth Science Outreach and Engagement: The Nature of Communication (eds.) Drake, J. L., Kontar, Y. Y. and Rife, G. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research. New York, NY: Springer 38:83-92. 2014. With Holmes, J. and Shaxson, L.
  • "The evolution of elite framing following enactment of legislation." Policy Sciences 45:4:359-384. 2012. With Gruszczynski, M.W.
  • "How indeterminism shapes ecologists’ contributions to managing socio-ecological systems." Conservation Letters 5:4:289-295. 2012. With Tyre, A.J.
  • "Confronting socially generated uncertainty in adaptive management." Journal of Environmental Management 92:5:1365-1370. 2011. With Tyre, A.J.
  • "Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems and settings." Environmental Science and Policy 12:7:994-1011. 2009.