Jan Franklin Adamowski

Image by Tom DiSandolo.

Professor, William Dawson Scholar

Liliane and David M. Stewart Scholar in Water Resources
Director - Integrated Water Resources Management Program
Associate Director - Brace Centre for Water Resources Management

T: 514-398-7786  |  jan.adamowski [at] mcgill.ca (Email) |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-026


Post-Doctoral Associate - Hydrology and Water Management (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Ph.D. - Environmental Engineering (Warsaw Technical University, Poland)
Main topic: Hydrological Engineering (Warsaw Technical University, Poland)
Secondary topic: Strategic Management (École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris), France)

M.B.A.  -  International Business (Warsaw Technical University Business School, Poland; in conjunction with London Business School, UK; École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris), France; Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway)

M.Phil. - Engineering for Sustainable Development (University of Cambridge, UK; in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

B.Eng. - Civil Engineering (Royal Military College of Canada)

Short Bio

Jan Adamowski is a Full Professor in the Department of Bioresource Engineering in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. He came to McGill in 2009 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure) in 2014, and Full Professor in 2020. At McGill, he is a William Dawson Scholar (similar to a Canada Research Chair - Tier 2), and the Liliane and David M. Stewart Scholar in Water Resources. Jan is also an Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Water, Environment and Health at the United Nations University (the UN Think Tank on Water).

Jan’s interdisciplinary research explores engineering, as well as social, economic and management problems. His main areas of research include: collaborative, integrated and adaptive water resources management; participatory coupled human-water systems modeling as well as participatory social-ecological modeling; artificial intelligence applications in hydrology; sustainable agriculture; and water and food security. This interdisciplinary research has been conducted in over 30 countries in close collaboration with diverse stakeholders, including multiple projects in, for example, China (grassland degradation), Iran (water resources), Pakistan (soil salinity), Guatemala (food security), and the Arctic (water security). A particular focus of his recent research has been the development of approaches to improve the inclusiveness of stakeholder engagement processes and empowering marginalized communities (e.g., Indigenous communities) in water resources and agroecosystem modeling and management.

Over the course of his academic career, Jan has published over 300 journal papers in high impact refereed journals (e.g., Journal of Hydrology, Water Resources Research, Science Advances, Nature Sustainability, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), as well as five books and numerous chapters in books. His research has been profiled in over 50 news outlets such as the as the New York Times, Forbes, Guardian, World Economic Forum, and Der Spiegel. He has also given over 100 research talks at national and international conferences, workshops and symposiums (including over 10 Keynote Talks). Over the course of the last ten years, he has supervised over 25 PhD and MSc thesis students, as well as numerous Postdoctoral Fellows. As the Director of McGill’s Master of Science in Integrated Water Resources Management Program, he also supervises between 20 and 30 IWRM Master of Science students each year, who have come from over 20 different countries.

Jan serves on the editorial boards of several journals (e.g., Canadian Biosystems Engineering Journal; Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability; Water Journal), and is currently the Vice President (Technical) of the Canadian Society for Bioengineering, as well as the Chair of the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference. In recognition of his contributions to research in water resources management, Jan was elected as a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), where he now serves on several RSC committees.

Jan came to McGill University in 2009 after working as a Post-Doctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA. He completed his graduate studies in the US and Europe at several universities (Cambridge, MIT, London Business School, HEC Paris, NHH Bergen, and Warsaw Technical University) and his undergraduate degree in Canada at the Royal Military College of Canada. Prior to pursuing his graduate studies, he worked as a Lecturer in Tokyo, Japan for one year. During and after his undergraduate studies, he served in the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserves) for over six years, first as an Infantry Soldier in the Canadian Army, then as an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military College of Canada, and finally as an Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2020 - Appointed as an Adjunct Professor, Institute for Water, Environment and Health, United Nations University (UNU-INWEH)
  • 2017 - Elected as a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2017 - Appointed as a William Dawson Scholar, McGill University
  • 2016 - Young Engineer of the Year Award, Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference
  • 2016 - Young Engineer of the Year Award, Canadian Society for Bioengineering
  • 2015 - Award for Teaching Excellence, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University
  • 2015 - New Holland Young Researcher Award, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • 2015 - Accelerator Supplement Award, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant
  • 2012 - Appointed as the Liliane and David M. Stewart Scholar in Water Resources at McGill University

Active Affiliations

  • Steering Committee (Alternate Member) - Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations
  • Scientific Committee – CentrEau (Water Research Centre of Quebec)

Research Interests

  • Water resources management:
    • Inclusiveness of stakeholder engagement processes and empowering marginalized communities (e.g., Indigenous communities) in water resources management
    • ‘Serious games’ and stakeholder collaboration, social learning, and knowledge co-creation in water resources management
    • Water resources vulnerability and management in the Arctic
    • Ecosystem services in a water resources management context
  • Water resources modeling:
    • Artificial intelligence (i.e., machine learning, deep learning) and wavelet transform based approaches in hydrological forecasting (e.g., floods, droughts), as well as urban water supply system forecasting
    • Participatory coupled human-water systems modeling approaches, including stakeholder-friendly dynamic coupling of stakeholder built system dynamics models with physically based models
    • Hydro-meteorological trend estimation (e.g., streamflow, precipitation), and linking dominant periodicities with climate indices (e.g., PDO, NAO, ENSO)
    • Groundwater contamination and remediation modeling
  • Sustainable agriculture; water and food security; renewable energy:
    • Agro-ecological food web modeling
    • Smallholder agriculture
    • Irrigation forecasting; optimizing agricultural water use; supplemental irrigation
    • Grassland degradation and restoration in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
    • Effects of land use and agricultural practices on soil carbon storage
    • Tillage implements and soil structure
    • Solar and wind energy prediction
  • Research project locations:
    • Canada (Quebec, Ontario, Arctic); USA; Mexico; Guatemala; Brazil; Cuba; Germany; Cyprus; Poland; Italy; Hungary; Spain; United Kingdom; Egypt; Jordan; Israel; Algeria; Iran; Saudi Arabia; India; Nepal; Mongolia; Kyrgyzstan; Georgia; Pakistan; Ethiopia; Cameroon; Ivory Coast; Nigeria; Australia; Japan; South Korea; China.

Current Research

Given the inter-disciplinary nature of his research, Jan has obtained extensive funding from:

  1. Engineering granting agencies such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Discovery Grant; Accelerator Supplement Grant; Engage Grant; Alliance Grant; and RTI Grant), Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (New Researcher Grant; Team Grant), Canada Foundation for Innovation (Leaders Opportunity Fund), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Knowledge Translation and Transfer Grant), Department of National Defence Canada (Targeted Engagement Program), and Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems;
  2. Social sciences granting agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Standard Research Grant; Insight Grant; Partnership Development Grant; Engage Grant), Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (Agence universitaire de la Francophonie Grant), and Québec ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie;
  3. International granting agencies such as the European Commission (Water Grant).

Examples of funding include:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Discovery Grant
    Development of novel approaches to improve water resources data records, deep learning based forecasting, and participatory socio-hydrological systems modeling for integrated and adaptive water resources management
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Insight Grant
    Improving the inclusiveness of participatory socio-environmental modelling for water resource management with diverse communities
  • Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT) - Team Grant
    Élaboration d'une approche de modélisation inverse fondée sur le couplage de l'optimisation-simulation visant à identifier les sources de contamination des eaux souterraines et des méthodes d'assainissement appropriées pour le Québec
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada - Partnership Development Grant
    Understanding game based approaches for improving sustainable water governance
  • Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) Grant
    Evaluating the potential of supplemental irrigation to increase agricultural and water productivity in India with climate change
  • European Commission - Erasmus+ Grant
    Capacity building for water managers
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada - Insight Development Grant
    Framing environmental flows as providers of ecosystem services: Implications for policy implementation
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) - Leaders Opportunity Fund Grant
    Development of new methods to investigate and predict urban heat island effects on water resources using remote sensing and GIS
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - Engage Grant
    Development of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence river forecasting models
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada - Standard Research Grant
    Agriculture, water, and climate change in Quebec watersheds: Transforming societal institutions to collaborative adaptive systems to increase social-ecological resilience


BREE 420 Eng for Sustainability 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 510 Watershed Systems Management 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 630 IWRM Internship 13 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 631 IWRM Project 6 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 655 IWRM Research Visits 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Online Certification in Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Planning, Management and Governance


View a list of current publications

Recent Talks/Conferences

  • Symposium on Climate Resilient Urban Water Systems: New Technologies and Policy Challenges. Hong Kong, China.
  • Workshop on Artificial Intelligence Approaches in Hydrology. Military Technical College, Cairo, Egypt.
  • European Geosciences Union General Assembly. Vienna, Austria.
  • Beijing University of Science and Technology Workshop on Water Resources Management. Beijing, China.
  • 36th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. Reykjavík, Iceland.
  • Computational Methods in Water Resources XXII. Saint-Malo, France.
  • Congreso de la Sociedad Latinoamericana de Nutrición. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
  • IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Big Data Management. Macau, China.
  • 7th International Conference on Water Resources and Environment Research. Kyoto, Japan.
  • NABEC Annual Conference. Orono, Maine, USA.
  • EGU Water-Food-Energy River and Society in the Tropics Conference. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Annual Hydrological Congress. Warsaw, Poland.
  • 14th International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications. Miami, USA.
  • ASABE Annual International Meeting. New Orleans, USA.
  • 3rd International Conference on Water Economics, Statistics, and Finance. Marbella, Spain.
  • Brazilian Symposium on Water Resources. Rio Grande do Sol, Brazil.
  • 6th IAHS -EGU International Symposium on Integrated Water Resources Management. Bologna, Italy.
  • IDRC Workshop on Malnutrition in Guatemala. Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment. Guatemala City, Guatemala.
  • Hydrological Modeling Symposium. University of Basilicata, Italy.
  • ASABE Annual International Meeting. Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
  • Northeast Agricultural/Biological Engineering Conference. Altoona, PA, USA.
  • Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • Canadian Water Resources Associate Joint Scientific Conference. Saskatoon, Canada.
  • International Interdisciplinary Conference on Land Use and Water Quality: Reducing Effects of Agriculture. The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Conference on Methods and Technologies for Environmental Monitoring and Modelling: Hydrological and Hydraulic Risk. Matera, Italy.
  • World Congress on Engineering and Technology. Xi'an, China.
  • ASABE Annual International Meeting. Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • 8th Watershed Management Conference. Lorestan, Iran.
  • ASABE Annual International Meeting. Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
  • Third International Conference on Climate Change. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Northeast Agricultural/Biological Engineering Conference. Geneva, NY, USA.
  • American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • CSWCRTI Workshop on Adaptive and Sustainable Solutions for Water Integrity, Safety, Security and Supply. Chandigargh, India.
  • 13th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Environmental Studies. Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Canada-Mexico Industry-Science Workshop for Innovation in Water Sustainability Technologies. Mitacs Canada and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Chihuahua, Mexico.

Research Grants

Research Team


Master of Science in IWRM (Non-thesis)

Online Certification in Water Resources Management

Other (Military Service, Personal Interests/Pastimes)

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