Dr. GĂŒl Özerol is a policy scientist, concerned with sustainability and justice. She holds a PhD degree in Governance for Sustainability from the University of Twente, and MSc degrees in Integrated Assessment from the University of OsnabrĂŒck, Germany, and Industrial Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey.

Her research and teaching experience extends over 20 years, mainly in the Middle East and Europe. Her expertise and recognition in water, energy and climate governance relies on local, national and international collaborations. A core value in her work is co-creating knowledge with non-academic organisations. These range from local and regional authorities in the North Sea Region to ministries and NGOs in Palestine. From 2016 until 2023, she was the senior editor of Fanack Water, an online platform covering water and climate issues in the Middle East and North Africa.

She supervises PhD and postdoctoral researchers and BSc and MSc students, and teaches courses and gives guest lectures that often resonate with her research interests. Since 2022, she has been serving as the educational director of MEEM, the MSc programme in Environmental and Energy Management.


Dr. GĂŒl Özerol is keen to improve the scientific and practical foundations of governance and infrastructure studies by applying comparative and transdisciplinary research methods. She has gained experience and recognition in actor-based and institutional analysis of natural resource governance, focusing on water, energy and land resources. Over the past 20 years, she has participated in and managed collaborative projects in Europe, North America, Middle East and North Africa, and gained local experience in Turkey, Palestine, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Research interests

  • Water, energy and climate governance
  • Sustainable and just transitions in water and energy sectors
  • Transdisciplinary and comparative research methods

PhD supervision

  • Linde Franken: Planetary justice and energy transition technologies from philosophical and governance perspectives (ongoing - in collaboration with the Section of Philosophy)
  • Nof Afghani: Desalination in Jordan from coupled infrastructure systems and sustainability transition perspectives (ongoing)
  • Anne Ellermann: Participatory and collaborative innovations for sustainable and equitable water use in Europe (ongoing - in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering Technology)
  • Amro Wawi: Data governance and digitalisation in the Palestinian water sector (ongoing)
  • Franziska Baack: Climate change adaptation and stakeholder participation in the cities of Overijssel, the Netherlands (ongoing - in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering Technology)
  • Dr. Juliane Schillinger: Impacts of armed conflict on local water management systems in the Middle East (completed in 2024, cum laude)
  • Dr. Adnan Mirhanoglu: A socio-material approach to water access struggles of smallholder farmers - Co-shaping actors, institutions, and infrastructures in Ağlasun, Turkey (completed in 2023 - in collaboration with KU Leuven)
  • Dr. Marielle Feenstra: Gender just energy policy - Engendering the energy transition in Europe (completed in 2021)
  • Dr. Latif Mohammadzadeh: Climate change adaptation and farmer decision making in the Urmia Lake Basin, Iran (guest researcher in 2019)
  • Dr. CĂ©sar Casiano Flores: Context matters - Water governance assessment of the wastewater treatment plant policy in Central Mexico (completed in 2017)


Enhancing the resilience of midsize cities to climate extremes: A tool for practitioners to assess their governance context, Article 100080. Özerol, G. & Bressers, H.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.totert.2023.100080Non-state armed groups with territorial control as emergent actors of wartime water governance. Schillinger, J. & Özerol, G.https://doi.org/10.1177/27538796231204761Erratum: Journal of Water & Climate Change 14 (5), 1638–1655: Assessing the leapfrogging potential to water sensitive: the Dutch case of Zwolle, https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2023.493, 2515. Flores, C. C., Müller, A. P. R., Dolman, N. & Özerol, G.https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2023.002Assessing the leapfrogging potential to water sensitive: the Dutch case of Zwolle, 1638-1655. Casiano Flores, C., Müller, A. P. R., Dolman, N. & Özerol, G.https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2023.493Transforming a Problem-based learning course into a Challenge-based learning course: UT M-EEM “Challenge-based Sustainability Case projects”. University of Twente. Aukes, E. J., Franco-Garcia, L., Lulofs, K. R. D., McGreevy, S., Özerol, G. & Sanderink, L.Socio-Material Bricolage: (Co)Shaping of Irrigation Institutions and Infrastructures, 69-86. Mirhanoğlu, A., Özerol, G., Hoogesteger, J., VAN DEN BROECK, P. & Loopmans, M.https://doi.org/10.5334/ijc.1188Interactions Between Changing Climates and Land Uses: The Case of Urmia Lake, IranIn Indigenous and Local Water Knowledge, Values and Practices (pp. 139-159). Springer Nature. Ghanian, M., Ghoochani, O. M., Mohammadzadeh, L., Cotton, M., Ozerol, G. & Tiefenbacher, J. P.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-9406-7_9Governance of Agricultural Water Management: How Does the EPSI Model Explain Iranian Farmers' Satisfaction? An Experience from Northwestern Iran, 19-32. Mohammadzadeh, L., Ozerol, G. & Ghanian, M.http://jast.modares.ac.ir/article-23-53363-en.htmlGovernance of Agricultural Water Management: How Does the EPSI Model Explain Iranian Farmers' Satisfaction? An Experience from Northwestern Iran, 19-32. Mohammadzadeh, L., Özerol, G. & Ghanian, M.https://doi.org/10.52547/jast.25.1.19

Research profiles

Main educational activities of Dr. GĂŒl Özerol take place within MEEM, the MSc programme in Environmental and Energy Management. Since 2022, she serves as the educational director of the programme, where she is also coordinating the Rurban Commons and Research Proposal course, and teaching in the Water Management course. She has co-supervised more than 50 students in MEEM and other MSc and BSc programmes.

Over the past 10 years, she has contributed to teaching in various BSc and MSc programmes within and outside the University of Twente and co-supervised students on various topics related to her research interests, such as urban water management, participatory irrigation management, gender equity in water governance, and climate adaptation in rural and urban areas. 

Affiliated study programs

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023

Dr. GĂŒl Özerol is the project manager for the University of Twente in GOVAQUA (2023-2027), an EU Horizon Europe project on governance innovations for a transition to a sustainable and equitable water use. She is leading the work package on participatory and collaborative approaches and co-leading the workpackage on transitions to sustainable and equitable water governance.

She was the project manager for the University of Twente and work package leader in CATCH (2017-2022) and C5a (2019-2022), EU Interreg projects on climate resilience in the North Sea Region, and in CATCH+ (2018-2021), a spin-off of the CATCH project focusing on the Province of Overijssel. The projects involved close collaboration with local, reigonal and national authorities in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

From 2013 until 2020, she was the coordinator of the Palestinian-Dutch Academic Cooperation Programme on Water (PADUCO) that involved six universities from Palestine and five universities from the Netherlands. She also participated in seven projects, focusing on her research interests, such as water governance assessment, climate adaptation in agriculture, and gender equity in water management and research.

Current projects


Governance innovations for a transition to sustainable and equitable water use in Europe

Europe is facing water challenges ranging from water scarcity to degradation of the freshwater ecosystems. These challenges are expected to be exacerbated by climate change, growing development needs, and structural changes in sectors such as agriculture and energy. Overuse and depletion of water resources causes ecological debt, threatens livelihoods, and weakens the European economy. Reconciling water uses and environmental needs in Europe requires a transition towards sustainable and equitable water use. This transition is also needed to reach the aims of the EU Water Framework Directive, the European Green Deal, and Sustainable Development Goals. Horizon Europe project GOVAQUA aims to accelerate this transition by better water governance. The GOVAQUA project will – for the first time – define what sustainability transition means in water governance and create criteria and indicators for its assessment. GOVAQUA takes a close look at the most innovative water governance solutions to find out how they could help Europe to meet its water challenges. The project identifies the good practices related to legislation and regulation, multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration, economic and financial instruments, and digital solutions for information sharing. These practices are systematically reviewed, analysed, and compared – and further co-developed, assessed and validated with key stakeholders in six real-world living labs in France, Finland, Spain, the UK, and Romania, and transnationally between Finland and Sweden.


An Urban Water Resilience Approach to Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation in Turkish Cities

Finished projects


Palestinian-Dutch Academic Cooperation Programme on Water

Water resources in Palestine are under increasing stress due to a combination of factors, such as Israeli control and occupation, increasing demand, economic development, population growth, climate change, and pollution from untreated wastewater. The Palestinian water sector should transform to meet these challenges. Against this background, PADUCO has been established in 2012 by five Palestinian and five Dutch universities with the objective of contributing to a self-sustaining, self-reliant Palestinian water sector in terms of institution building, resource management and improved service delivery. The two underlying principles of PADUCO are transdisciplinarity that engages universities, government, civil society and private organizations in applied research; and intersectorality that addresses the linkages of water with environment, agriculture, energy, land use and climate change. Within the first phase (2013-2016), the PADUCO team carried out eleven joint research projects and six education-based activities. Upon the successful completion of the first phase, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the second phase of PADUCO (2016-2020), which included a total of 21 projects. CSTM has been the Netherlands country coordinator of PADUCO starting from its initiation, and contributed to six research and capacity building projects on water governance, wastewater reuse, and gender mainstreaming in applied water research.


'water sensitive Cities: the Answer To CHallenges of extreme weather events'.

In the North Sea Region, a majority of the population lives in midsize cities. Due to their scale, limited resources and expertise, the midsize cities face specific challenges to deal with climate adaptation. The CATCH project aims to enhance the climate resilience of midsize cities in the North Sea Region through demonstrating and accelerating the redesign of their urban water management. Project partners include municipalities, local water authorities and universities from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden. Key activities involve a needs assessment study to identify the current status of the seven pilot cities, the co-creation of a decision support tool by the practice partners and universities, and the formulation of climate adaptation strategies for pilot cities.


Cluster for Cloud to Coast Climate Change Adaptation

The North Sea Region is facing a significant increase in the frequency and severity of floods in response to climate change. Flood management approaches need to urgently adapt to this new reality to keep people safe, the environment healthy and our economies prosperous. To respond to this challenge, the project 'Cluster for Cloud to Coast Climate Change adaptation' (C5a) aims to deliver a cloud-to-coast approach for the management of flood risk, known as the C2C approach. Combining the outcomes of seven ongoing Interreg North Sea Region projects, the C5a project will ensure an approach that is both evidence-based and practice-based. Project partners include ten partners from six countries, and the project runs from 2019 to 2022. The project is co-funded by the North Sea Region Programme. CSTM contributes to lead the work package on applying the C2C approach in practice through the seven case studies in Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.


Accelerating Climate Change Adaptation in the Cities of Overijssel, the Netherlands

The CATCH+ project focuses on climate change adaptation (CCA) in the cities of the Province of Overijssel, the Netherlands. Collaborating partners are the province of Overijssel, the regional water authority of Vechtstromen, the municipalities of Zwolle and Enschede, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente. The project partners build on the knowledge and tools that they developed within the CATCH project and tailor them to the Dutch context and the needs of the small and midsize cities in Overijssel. Special emphasis is given to the design and implementation of ‘risk dialogues’ as part of the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. Main activities of the project involve the analysis of different approaches to stakeholder participation in CCA, a self-assessment by cities on their CCA capacity and actions, and the identification of training needs and opportunities for cities towards improving their CCA capacity.


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