Michele-Lee Moore

Michele-Lee Moore
Assistant Professor
Water governance; social innovation; resilience

PhD (Wilfrid Laurier)


On Leave

Office: DTB B350

In both research and in practice, I am passionate about the subject of water. I am interested in issues that are specific to water, but also use water as a lens to explore a broader range of social, political, economic, and environmental problems.

Cutting across all of my research is an interest in social innovation and the potential role that processes for transformative change may have for addressing complex ecological and governance challenges.

I thoroughly enjoy the nature of conducting truly interdisciplinary research and using mixed method approaches for both data collection and analysis – follow and for updates.


I lead the Water, Innovation, and Global Governance Lab (WIGGLab) housed at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies. The WIGGLab is a group of graduate student researchers fascinated by the seemingly insurmountable social-ecological challenges being faced in watersheds throughout Canada and the world. We believe that improving water governance in the future will require social innovation and transformative change. With that interest in mind, we undertake case studies from across the province, the country, and the world, to find out how to build the existing capacity for social innovation in watersheds to address the most complex issues for water. We attempt to understand and characterize the conditions required for social and governance innovation and how that may contribute to the overall resilience of our watersheds.


Teaching, and the engagement with students, is an important part of how I feel connected to the Department of Geography’s community. In a classroom, I seek to bridge the importance of creating a collegial community with the recognition of the collage of diverse, individual communication styles.

Courses within this Department that I have taught or will be teaching include:

GEOG 209 – Introduction to Environmental Management
GEOG 371 – Water Resources Management
GEOG 314 – Global Environmental Change and the Human Response
GEOG 357 – Parks and Protected Areas Management
GEOG 539 – Advanced Seminar in Natural Resources Governance
SOSC 300 – Working in the Community

In my attempt to inspire students to become involved in any variety of pursuits that meaningfully contribute to the subject areas that I am most passionate about in the Department of Geography’s Environmental and Sustainability stream, I try to support the development of practical skills. I recognize that in this field, students may continue in academia, or work in government, non-governmental organizations, industry, and/or other innovative arrangements. Regardless of their path, they will undoubtedly confront the same types of complex problems across those organizational types. Therefore, I believe that the most transferrable skills that I can help build in the classroom include, firstly, the ability to think critically about issues using the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that I introduce and to be able to communicate those thoughts with precision. Secondly, I prioritize developing the capacity to be resourceful in finding both potentially creative solutions and robust evidence that support the solutions that they choose or favour. To accomplish this, I tend to use a mix of assignments that demonstrate their knowledge of the theoretical and conceptual debates in the sub-discipline, and then their understanding of how to use these concepts to think differently about complex challenges.


Google Scholar Profile

Recent Selected Publications and Dissemination Activity

Refereed Contributions

Moore, M-L., von der Porten, S., Plummer, R., Brandes, O., and Baird, J. (2014) Water policy reform and innovation: a systematic review. Environmental Science and Policy 38(1), 263-271

Moore, M-L., Tjornbo, O., Enfors, E., Knapp, C., Hodbod, J., Baggio, J., Olsson, P., Norström, A., and Biggs. D. (2014) Studying the complexity of change: towards an analytical framework for understanding deliberate social-ecological transformations. Ecology and Society 19(4), 54. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06966-190454

Milkoreit, M., Moore, M-L., Schoon. M., and Meek, C. (2014) Resilience scientists as change-makers: growing the middle ground between science and advocacy?’ Environmental Science and Policy 44(1), online: DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2014.08.003

Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L., Brandes, O., Imhof, J., and Krievins, K. (2014) Governance of aquatic systems: what attributes and practices promote resilience? International Journal of Water Governance 4(1), 1-18

McGowan, K.A., Westley, F., Fraser, E.D.G., Loring, P.A., Weathers, K.C.,  Avelino, F., Sendzimir, J., Chowdhury, R., and Moore, M-L. (2014) The research journey: travels across the idiomatic and axiomatic toward a better understanding of complexity. Ecology and Society 19(3), 37

Moore, M-L. (2013) Perspectives of complexity in water governance: local experiences of global trends. Water Alternatives 6(3), 154-172

Moore, M-L., and Tjornbo, O. (2012) From coastal timber supply area to Great Bear Rainforest: exploring power in a social-ecological governance innovation’ Ecology and Society 17(4), 26

Moore, M-L., Westley, F., and Nicholls, A. (2012) The social finance and social innovation nexus. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 3(2), 115-132

Moore, M-L., Westley, F., and Brodhead, T. (2012) Social finance intermediaries and social innovation. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 3(2), 184-205

Moore, M-L., Westley, F.R., Tjornbo, O., and Holroyd, C. (2012) The loop, the lens, and the lesson: using resilience theory to examine public policy and social innovation. Chapter 3 in: Nicholls, A., and Murdock, A. (eds.), Social Innovation. UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Moore, M-L., and Westley, F. (2011) Surmountable chasms: networks and social innovation for resilient systems. Ecology and Society 16(1), 5

Moore, M-L., and Westley, F. (2011) Public sector policy and strategies for facilitating social innovation. Horizons: Public Policy Journal 11, 1-11


Moore, M-L., Shaw, K., Castleden, H., with Breiddal, R., Kot, M., and Murray, M. (2015) Building capacity to build trust: key challenges for water governance in relation to hydraulic fracturing. Report prepared for: Canadian Water Network, Waterloo, ON.

Hunter, R., with Brandes, O., Moore, M-L., and Brandes, L. (2014) The Cowichan Watershed Board: an evolution of collaborative watershed governance. Watershed Governance Case Study Series. Victoria, BC: POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

Riddell, D., and Moore, M-L. (2014) Scaling out, scaling up, and scaling deep: lessons on scaling social innovation and designing the learning processes to support it. J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Tamarack Institute. Montreal, QC: McConnell Foundation.

Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L., Brandes, O., and. Krievins, K. (2013) Resilience Primer. Cowichan Basin Watershed Board. Victoria, BC: POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L., Brandes, O., and Krievins, K. (2013) Resilience analysis workshop summary. Cowichan Basin Watershed Board. Victoria, BC: POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

Moore, M-L., Brandes, L., and Mateer, J. (2013) Water governance in the Columbia and Great Lakes: a preliminary analysis of treaty discourses. Summary of WIGGLab Co-Creation Discussion Series, Victoria, BC.

Dobell, R., Moore, M-L., and Taylor, M., with Bagnulo, M., Bates-Eamer, N., Chénier, P-L., Longo, J., and Walsh, J. (2012) Social innovation and civil society: might the wisdom of the crowd improve the metrics of the HERD? SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis.

Moore, M-L., and Westley, F.R. (2011) The Intermediary Strategy. Waterloo, ON: SIG Working Paper.

Moore, M-L., and Cairns, S. (2011) Synthesis report: transformational policy change. Sustainable Prosperity, Lessons Learned Report. Ottawa: University of Ottawa.

Conferences, Presentations, Media, and Outreach

Moore, M-L., Shaw, K., and Castleden, H. (2015) ‘We need more data’: why monitoring alone will not solve water governance dilemmas. Presented at: American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, Chicago, USA: April 21-25.

Moore, M-L. (2014) Transnational networks in water governance: innovation or alienation? Presented at: Vrie Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands: December 10.

Moore, M-L. (2014) Stormwatching or opportunity seeking? Making the case for water governance innovation research for hydraulic fracturing. Presented at: DRIFT, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands: November 17.

Moore, M-L. (2014) Deliberate transformations in social-ecological systems. Presented at: Earth System Governance: Allocation and Access in the Anthropocene, University of East Anglia, UK: July 2-4.

Moore, M-L. (2014) The role of transnational networks in transforming earth system governance: a case study of water. Presented at: Earth System Governance: Allocation and Access in the Anthropocene, University of East Anglia, UK: July 2-4.

Krievins, K., Plummer, R., Baird, J., Moore, M-L., and Brandes, O. (2014) Nurturing governance for resilience of aquatic systems. Presented at: Canadian Water Resources Association Conference, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: June 2-6.

Baird, J., Plummer, R., Moore, M.-L., and Brandes, O. (2014) Learning about resilience; learning for resilience. Presented at: Environmental Studies Association of Canada Conference, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: May 26-30.

Invited panellist: Methods for studying social and governance innovation. Presented at: The New Frontier for SI Research: SFU Public Square, Vancouver, BC: May 30.

Moore, M-L., Meek, C., Milkoreit, M., and Schoon, M. (2014) Coherence at a crossroads: integrating resilience science into policy. Presented at: Resilience 2014, Montpellier, France: May 4-8.

Brandes, L., Brandes, O., and Moore, M-L. (2014) Thinking like a watershed. Presented at: Water Canada: July/August 28-29.

Interviewed and quoted in: Marcoccia, P. (2014) As BC shifts to water stewardship, who is welcome at the table? Axiom News, March 17, 2014.

Moore, M-L. (2013) Thoughtful intervention or creative emergence? Social Innovation and Resilience Community of Practice: Nov 21.

Moore, M-L. (2013) Hot issues in watershed governance: energy, law, and First Nations rights and titles. Facilitator at: IDEAFEST 2013, Victoria, BC: March 12.

Water Canada (2013) The Droplet Interview with Michele-Lee Moore on Global Water Governance. Available at: http://watercanada.net/2013/interview-michele-lee-moore-on-global-water-governance/

Moore, M-L., with Westley, F. (2013) Global networks and governance innovation: tools for resilient watersheds. Creating a Blue Dialogue, POLIS Water Sustainability Project Discussion Series: January 9

Moore, M-L., Westley, F., and Brodhead, T. (2012) Social finance and foundation intermediaries. Paper presented by co-author at: 4th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC): September 12-14. Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham.

Moore, M-L. (2012) Water entitlements workshop and an evening of public discussion. Vancouver, BC: June 11-12.

Moore, M-L. (2012) The challenge of social innovation in water governance. IDEAFEST 2012, Victoria, BC: March 8.

Capacity-Building Initiatives

Co-Lead, Design and Delivery Team for Rockefeller Global Fellowship on Social Innovation, in partnership with University of Cape Town and the Stockholm Resilience Centre: see http://www.gsb.uct.ac.za/s.asp?p=554

Hosted: Cross-Canada workshop: Water Governance and Hydraulic Fracturing, October 16-17, 2014, Victoria, BC.

Hosted: Watersheds 2014: Building Capacity for Watershed Governance in BC and Beyond. Qu’wutsun Tribes Conference Centre, Duncan, BC, January 26-28, 2014. (150 participants, plus 7 satellite events across Canada)