Rosina Bierbaum


Professor and Dean Emerita Bierbaum, PhD, focuses her research on the interface of science and policy--principally on issues related to climate change adaptation and mitigation at the national and international levels.   She also holds an appointment in the School of Public Health at Michigan, and in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Her experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. Rosina served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She chairs the Scientific and Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, served on President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, was an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank, and a lead author of the U.S. National Climate Assessment.    She has lectured on every continent, and in more than 20 countries. 

Bierbaum is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of America, and Sigma Xi. She received the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo Smith award for ‘extraordinary service to Geoscience’ and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Award.  Bierbaum serves on the board of the AAAS, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the International Finance Corporation Business and Sustainability Group, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. She earned a BA in English, a BS in biology and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution. 

  • Adaptation and mitigation policy – domestically and internationally
  • Climate Change adaptation research needs
  • Designing development projects to meet multiple environmental objectives
  • Bridging the scientist-practitioner divide in developing metrics for sustainability


Select publications: 

2019. Erbaugh, J., Bierbaum, R., Castilleja, G., Fonseca, G., Toward sustainable agriculture in the tropics.  World Development, 121: pp 158-162. Special issue on “Commodity Agriculture” (all papers organized and commissioned by authors).

2017. L. V.Rasmussen, Agrawal A., Bierbaum R., Oldekop J.  Across the practitioner-researcher divide: Indicators used to assess the sustainability of commodity agricultural production, Global Environmental Change 42: pp. 33-46.

2016. Report on Science and Technology to Ensure the Safety of the Nation’s Drinking Water, President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (co-chair, lead author), Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President.

2015. Report on Private Sector Efforts in Adaptation to Climate Change, President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (co-chair, lead author), Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President.

2014. Bierbaum, R., Stocking, M., Bouwman, H., Cowie, A., Diaz, S., Granit, J., Patwardhan, A., Sims, R., Duron, G., Gorsevski, V., Hammond, T., Neretin, L., Wellington-Moore, C. Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development. Report of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the 5th GEF Assembly, México 2014. Global Environment Facility, Washington, DC.

2014. B Biagini, Bierbaum, R., Stults, M., Dobardzic, S. and McNeeley, S. A typology of adaptation actions: A global look at climate adaptation actions financed through the Global Environment Facility, Global Environmental Change 25 (2014), pp 97-108.

2013.  PCAST Letter Report to the President on developing a strategy for addressing climate change, President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (lead author), Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President.

2013. Bierbaum, R., and P. Matson, Energy in the Context of Sustainability, Dædalus 142 (1): 146–161.

2012. Bierbaum, R., J.Smith, A. Lee, M. Blair, L. Carter, F. Stuart Chapin III, P. Fleming, S. Ruffo, S. McNeeley, M. Stults,  E. Wasley, L. Verduzco, A Comprehensive Review of Adaptation in the United States: More Than Before, But Less Than Needed”, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 44 pages (

2011. Report to the President on Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy.  The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (co-chair and lead author), Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President.

2010. National Climate Adaptation Summit Report.   National Climate Adaptation Summit Committee (co-chair and lead author)

2009. World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change. (co-chair and lead author),  The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

  • U.S. National Climate Assessment - Member, Federal Advisory Committee, and Convening Lead Author of the Adaptation Chapter (2011-2014). 
  • Board Member, Alliance for Climate Protection (2012-present). 
  • (PCAST) President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2009-present)