Maria Saldarriaga holds a Bachelor's degree in Management Engineering from the National University of Colombia and a Masters and a Ph.D. in System Dynamics from the University of Bergen in Norway. She is originally from Colombia, but her studies and research have taken her to Norway, India and Zambia. She specializes in the use of modeling and social sciences methods to study the linkages between humans and the environment, and in the design of integrated policies for natural resources management. For the past two years, she has conducted research on local climate change and food security in the south of Zambia, where she has worked with smallholder farmers to investigate their vulnerability to climate change and their ability to adapt to it.
Maria is an also IRIS Research Fellow. The working title of Saldarriaga’s research is: “A Social-Ecological Systems Study of Karez in Iraqi Kurdistan: Understanding the Role of Traditional Groundwater Management Systems in Sustainability, Food Insecurity and Internal Migration.” Through her research, Saldarriaga aims to understand the role that karez currently play in rural water and food security. Additionally, she will explore whether karez can be used for sustainable water management given the future challenges of climate change.