Dr Ehsan Nabavi

PhD (Sociology), MEng (Civil Engineering), BEng (Civil Engineering)

I’m originally trained as a Civil Engineer with the majority of my training, research, and work experience on using System Thinking to build complex decision support systems, particularly for environmental issues. I did my PhD in sociology at ANU, looking at the role of technology and scientific modelling in shaping transboundary water conflicts. 

Prior to joining CPAS, I have worked as a Research Fellow at the 3Ai Institute at ANU (2018-20), and STS group at Harvard Kennedy School (2016-17).

Since 2013 I have also worked closely with colleagues at the Fenner School at the ANU on research and teaching for different courses on sustainability and environmental policy. I am also leading an EU-funded project on ‘water policy innovation’.

I have been privileged to take visiting positions at a number of world-leading schools and institutions including the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) at The University of London and Center for Development Research (ZEF) at University of Bonn. 

Research interests

Co-production of engineering and governance

Sustainable Development; Sustainability Imaginaries

Conflict Analysis and Transformation

Actor-Network Theory

Interactive Theatre

Cybersystems and System Dynamics Modelling

Book Chapters

“Politics of Innovation and The Spirit of Justice”

Daniell, K., Nabavi,E. Benham, C. In: Lukasiewicz et al, (eds.) Natural Resources and Environmental Justice: Australian perspectives. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (2017), pp. 185-203. [Link]

“Integrated Water Resource Management and Sustainability”

Najafi, H., Tavakoli-Nabavi, E., In S. Eslamian (Ed.), Handbook of Engineering Hydrology. Environmental Hydrology and Water Management: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis (2014), pp. 365-386. [Link]

Published Journal Papers

“(Ground)Water Governance and Legal Development in Iran, 1906-2016”

Nabavi, E. Middle East Law and Governance (2017), 9(1), 43-70. [Link]

“Boundary Matters: The Potential of System Dynamics to Support Sustainability?”

Nabavi,E., Daniell, K., Najafi, H. Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), 140, 312-323. [Link]

“Rediscovering Social–Ecological Systems: Taking Inspiration from Actor-Networks”

Nabavi, E., Daniell, K., Journal of Sustainability Science (2017),1-9. [Link]

“System Dynamic Approach to Hydropolitics in Hirmand Transboundary River Basin from Sustainability Perspective”

Bazrkar, M. H., Tavakoli-Nabavi, E., Zamani, N., Eslamian, S., International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology (IJHST), Vol. 3, No. 4, 2013. [Link]




Selected Conference Papers


From Model to Nougat: Understanding Mundane Governance of Urban Water Conflict

Nabavi, E., Mundane Governance Conference, ANU, 22-24 Nov. 2017 (Oral Presentation)

The End of Paradox? Stop Looking in the Wrong Place for Achieving Sustainability

Nabavi, E., Systems Modelling Conference, UNSW, 28 September 2017 (Oral Presentation) [Link]

 Investigating the Challenges of Water Governance in Oceania

Daniell, K.,.., Nabavi, E.,  37th Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium (HWRS), 28 November – 2 December, 2016, Queenstown, New Zealand (Oral Presentation) [Link]

The Omelette Paradox: On Using Fear and Urgency As Strategies to Stop Environmental Challenges

Nabavi, E.; 6th Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference, University of Kentucky, Feb 2016 (Oral Presentation) [Link]

Walking the Tightrope: The Challenge of Sustainability for the City of Isfahan

Tavakoli-Nabavi, E., Dresden Nexus Conference 2015, Dresden, Germany, March 2015

Routes and Roots: Setting Navigational Indicators as Sustainability Indicators

  Tavakoli-Nabavi, E., XVth IWRA World Water Congress, Edinburg, Scotland, 25-29 May 2015 (poster presentation).

Towards Process-Based Sustainability Indicators for Water Management and Planning: Developing Viable Paths through Strategic Systemic Innovations

Tavakoli-Nabavi, E.,Daniell, K.A.; Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering (SSEE) 2013 Conference; National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia; 2013. (Oral presentation) 

Toward Sustainable Zayandeh-Rood: Resolving Inter-Provincial Water Dispute Using Archetypes

Tavakoli-Nabavi, E., Safavi, H.R., Bagheri, A,. 4th American Society of Civil Engineering. International Perspective on Water Resources. NUS, Singapore. Jan, 2011. (Oral presentation)