Strategic advisor, transdisciplinary education



Profile summary

  • Social innovation
  • Water governance
  • Local-transnational cross-scale interactions
  • Transformation and Transformability
  • Resilience practice
  • Water-energy nexus

Michele-Lee Moore's research focus is on social innovations and transformations

Moore’s research seeks to build and mobilize knowledge about social innovations - ones that allow us to transform and build positive paths towards social-ecological-cultural resilience. Primarily, she has focused on topics of transnational and local water governance, social innovation, and transformation. In each of these domains, she has aimed to build new theoretical constructs and conduct empirical case study analyses, as well as undertake projects that begin to bring these fields together. However, beyond her water governance research, she also collaborates with scholars to examine case studies in other domains to gain insights on social innovation and transformation.

Currently, Moore’s areas of research interest include:

  1. Governance innovation pathways in transboundary water governance in the Columbia Basin (in partnership with Dustin Garrick, Oxford University)
  2. Transformative learning spaces to strengthen capacity for social innovation and resilience in development practitioners (associated with the Bertha Centre at the University of Cape Town and the Waterloo Institute on Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo);
  3. Imagination as a capacity for transformation (in partnership with Manjana Milkoreit, Purdue University).

Through this work, Moore remains deeply committed to growing her own knowledge about decolonization, two-eyed seeing methodologies, and developing her capacity for understanding and implementing, both truth and reconciliation.

Moore has studied across different disciplines for each degree, including Ecology (BScHons, The University of Western Ontario), Geography (MSc, University of Victoria), and Global Governance (PhD, Wilfrid Laurier University, Balsillie School of International Affairs). Moore has spent time conducting field work on remote glaciers in northwest Canada, on shrimp aquaculture ponds in Thailand, and on watershed governance and networks in watersheds in several different countries. Having spent time as a strategic water policy advisor in the provincial government of British Columbia (Canada), Moore’s research continues to maintain a focus on policy and governance relevant topics.

Previous projects have included:

  • Establishing baseline knowledge on priority water governance issues and opportunities for innovation surrounding hydraulic fracturing in Canada, in partnership with Karena Shaw, UVic, Heather Castleden, Queen’s University, Fort Nelson First Nation and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq)
  • Designed and hosted national initiative to build water governance capacity in Canada (#Watersheds 2014) to ensure water research (natural and social science related) was applied to Indigenous and non-Indigenous community needs (in partnership with Oliver Brandes, POLIS Project on Water Sustainability, and Ryan Plummer, Brock University and Stockholm Resilience Centre)
  • Collated the first in-depth examination of social finance and social innovation debates, published in a special issue in the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship (in partnership with Frances Westley, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience)

In addition to conducting research, Moore has invested heavily in mobilizing social innovation, transformation, and resilience research to help build the understanding and capacity of both students and practitioners to grapple with complex, social-ecological challenges. The practitioners have included staff from large international development aid organizations and foundations (e.g. USAID, Inter-American Development Bank, Virgin Foundation) major networks (e.g. Rockefeller Resilient Cities, Asian Cities for Climate Change Network), national governments, and social enterprises. These experiences often provide a “real-time” testing of transformation concepts and are directly informing her ongoing research.

Major initiatives and engagement includes:

  • Design and Delivery of the Rockefeller Global Fellowship on Social Innovation
  • Social Innovation Lab Methodology Coach for LabWISE program led by the Waterloo Institute of Social Innovation and Resilience
  • Research Associate & Strategic Faculty Advisor – POLIS Project on Water Sustainability, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada

Publications by Moore, Michelle-Lee