Project Details: The Natural Infrastructure for Water Initiative at WRI

The Natural Infrastructure for Water Initiative at the World Resources Institutes invites 1 or 2 FES student researchers to contribute to our suite of projects that analyze that opportunities and challenges to investing in natural infrastructure for water in Latin American cities. With projects and staff in in Washington DC, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City, we are currently conducting research in several fields of study (e.g. policy, economics, and environmental management).

Examples of specific research topics are:

  • Conducting economic analysis to evaluate costs and benefits of investing in natural infrastructure in a given city
  • Assessing public and private funding sources and financing mechanisms that could unlock investments in natural infrastructure
  • Designing a participatory process for local stakeholders to develop an action plan to invest in natural infrastructure

The student(s) will have the opportunity to work with staff and experts in WRI's Sao Paulo or Mexico City-based offices, build on our research to date, and tap into our network of stakeholders in the fields of natural infrastructure, sustainable finance, and water management. Students will independently crafting and conducting a relevant research project that feeds into WRI's projects; WRI staff will provide guidance and feedback on relevant research questions and methods, and credit the student for contributions to the project if results are robust.

This opportunity is open to Master's degree students at Yale FES who plan on applying to a TRI Fellowship or similar Yale fellowship grants. The students should have excellent English, Spanish, or Portuguese speaking and writing skills and sufficient experience or coursework in the proposed field of study.

Contact Suzanne Ozment ( by March 1 with questions or to express interest.

About our project: The Natural Infrastructure for Water Initiative (NIfW) works at the intersection of water security, environmental restoration, and sustainable rural development. NIfW is catalyzing a global movement to enhance water security and bolster economic development through landscape conservation, restoration, and sustainable development. In Brazil and Mexico, we examine how natural infrastructure could provide local water security, climate resilience, and rural economy benefits, while also helping governments meet their existing forest conservation and restoration goals. We are also analyzing the potential return on investment of natural infrastructure programs in source watersheds of each city. This fall, we will produce case studies to guide local decision makers through the process of building natural infrastructure programs in and around their cities.