Sustainability
TECH FLASH

Global water issues need research to avoid crisis situations

September 10, 2012

Water research reportResearch into water is growing faster than the average 4 percent annual growth rate for all research disciplines, says a report from Elsevier and Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The report, The Water and Food Nexus: Trends and Development of the Research Landscape, analyzes the major trends in water and food-related research articles at international, national and institutional levels.

The report examines the dynamics of global water research between 2007 and 2011, focusing on two areas:

  • Water resources research, referring to natural and social science studies on water use
  • Food and water research focusing on the study of water consumption and recycling to produce food.

Water resources research is growing at a rate of 9.2 percent per year, while research into food and water is growing at 4.7 percent each year. Research is also becoming more collaborative and interdisciplinary, with a dramatic rise in publications from the fields of computer science and mathematics. Research from fields within the social sciences has become the fastest growing area in food and water research.

Research output is the highest in the US in both water resources and food and water research, but growth between 2007 and 2011 was slow. On the other hand, China is experiencing ongoing growth in water research output and, if its trajectory continues, could be the leading producer of water research within the next few years. Other countries experiencing high-growth rates in both water resources and food and water research include Malaysia and Iran.

For more information or to download this paper, visit the Elsevier website.

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