Maria Carmen Lemos

Professor; Associate Dean for Research


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (political science)

MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (political science)

BS, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil (economics)



Maria Carmen Lemos' broad research interests are related to the human dimensions of global change and social studies of science. She is particularly interested in understanding: (a) the intersection between development and climate, especially concerning the relationship between anti-poverty programs and risk management (b) the use of technoscientific information, especially seasonal climate (El Nino forecasting) in building adaptive capacity to climate variability and change (drought planning, water management, and agriculture) in the U.S. (Great Lakes) and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Chile); (c) the impact of technocratic decisionmaking on issues of democracy and equity; (d) the co-production of science and policy and the role of technocrats as decisionmakers; (e) the role of popular participation in urban environmental policymaking and policymaker/client interactions; (f) U.S.-Mexico border region environmental policymaking especially regarding transboundary water conflict, environmental health, a common use of shared natural resources.

  • 1996: National Science Foundation - grant for: “A survey of the research and researchers relating to human dimensions of global environmental change in Latin America” Co-PI with Diana Liverman (PI), US$ 15,000.

  • 1996-1997: Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy - grant for the research: “Environmental protection and social movements in Ambos Nogales: the impacts of the BECC on popular participation,” US$ 5,000. 

  • 1997-2000: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA - grant for: “The social and policy implications of seasonal forecasting: a case study of Ceará, Northeast Brazil.” PI (with Tim Finan, Diana Liverman, Roger Fox and Nilton Rennó), US$ 360,000.

  • 1998-1999: University of Arizona Social and Behavioral Science Research Institute Small Grant for "The Impact of BECC on popular mobilization in Nogales, Mexico." US$ 1,499.

  • 1997-1998: The Pew Charitable Trusts. grant for: "Evaluation of the WaterWorks Program." Co-PI (with Robert Varady, Diane Austin, and Robert Merideth), US$ $57,000.


MIT-Center for International Studies/MacArthur Program in Transnational Security Summer Research Grant (1992).

MIT-Center for International Studies International Energy and Environment Policy Grants, Japan Endowment Fund, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dissertation Grant (1991-1992).

James Martin 21st Century School Fellowship, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, England (2006-2007).

Kavli Fellow, US National Academy of Sciences (2007).

National Science Foundation (NSF) Distinguished Lecture. Building Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change Impact (2015).

Select publications: 


James Martin 21st Century School Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, England (1998-2002).

Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture and Planning, U of A (1999-2001).

Faculty Fellow, Global Environmental Assessment (GEA) Project, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1999-2001).


Advisory Board, Research Application Laboratory (RAL), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) (2013-Present).

The National Academies/National Research Council Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change/Board of Environment Change and Society, (2008-Present).

The National Academies/National Research Council Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) (2011-13).