Christine Kirchhoff


Christine Kirchhoff

University of Michigan

Christine Kirchhoff finished her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment in Resource Policy and Behavior.  Besides her Ph.D. studies, Christine was also an Instructor of Water Resource Policy for two years and a teaching assistant in Water Policy and in a Science and Technology Policy Seminar for several years.  Her course work at Michigan has focused on environmental and science policy studies and social science research methods.

Christine’s undergraduate degree is in civil engineering and her master’s is in environmental and water resources engineering both from the University of Texas at Austin.  Prior to enrolling at the University of Michigan in 2004 she was a practicing professional engineer in Austin, Texas.  In that capacity Christine was responsible for the design and project management of several multi-million dollar water and wastewater treatment plant projects as well as several distribution systems and water resource planning efforts for municipal clients throughout Texas. 

After starting her career as an engineer focusing on water supply and management, Christine soon realized that solving water resources most challenging problems, especially under the threat of climate variability and change, required an interdisciplinary approach. She came to Michigan to broaden her education and better understand the challenges and opportunities of applying science to support decision-making.

Christine’s dissertation research investigates the supply of climate science by two NOAA RISAs and the use of that information by water managers across five states in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and the Southwest (SW) United States.  She uses a mixed method approach (surveys and interviews) of water managers to examine information sources, collaborations, and barriers to and drivers of climate information use.  The goal of this approach is not only to compare across the two RISA programs but also to compare information production and use across both RISA clients and the broader population of water managers across the SW and PNW. While there has been valuable research focusing on knowledge production in the context of the RISAs, there has been relatively less focus on the broader knowledge supply and demand context in which they operate.  Christine also contributes to understanding how climate information use increases resilience potential in water systems.

Christine is excited to continue her focus on water management and climate here at CSTPR by contributing to the SPARC project under the guidance of Lisa Dilling.  The project is an excellent opportunity to focus on science policy and information supply and demand for adaptation.