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The overarching goal of my scholarship is to create knowledge that advances scientific understanding of how people relate to the natural environment and also empowers individuals, communities, and institutions to make better decisions about natural resources. The broader impact of my work lies in developing theory and methods for linking knowledge to action for sustainable resource management.
My research with the ASU Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) has developed and studied processes, outcomes, and institutional forms of boundary organizations for the co-production of knowledge and decisions; identified divergent perspectives between stakeholder groups at the science-policy nexus; and tested competing methods for gathering information on sensitive topics from decision makers. This work has contributed to the development and refinement of new tools and techniques for collaborative environmental decision making such as the DCDC WaterSim model.
My research in the area of public understanding of science examines how individuals actively construct and strategically employ available cultural notions of science to explain the relations between citizens, science, and resource policy in democratic process. This work unites framing analysis and discourse analysis to examine the meso-level discursive strategies used by policy actors to build support for their preferred outcomes, undermine the positions of competing actors, and depict the issues surrounding resource management. The broader impact of this work comes from the implications for improving policy deliberations for collaborative environmental management.
I also conduct research is to further our understanding of human-environment interactions in America’s National Parks and other conservation areas. In this work, I employ social-psychological theories and both quantitative and qualitative techniques to understand cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of human experiences in natural and cultural landscapes.
Dr. Dave D. White is Professor in the ASU School of Community Resources and Development, Director of the Decision Center for a Desert City, and Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Dr. White is internationally-recognized for his contributions to science in support of sustainable development. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles advancing numerous fields including decision science, science and technology studies, sustainability science, and natural resources management.
His research develops theory and methods to understand and enhance the linkages between science and policy for sustainability. His work brings together scientists and stakeholders to cooperatively define challenges, develop credible and usable knowledge, promote social learning, build institutional capacity, and implement solutions attuned to cultural, economic, and political context. He has led or co-led projects in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, and the Niger River basin.
Dr. White serves as Director and Principal Investigator for the Decision Center for a Desert City, which has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation with more than $18M in grants. He leads a team of more than 25 scientists, research staff, and postdoctoral fellows working in close collaboration with a range of stakeholders to co-develop transformational solutions for water sustainability in an era of climate change. Under Dr. White’s leadership, DCDC scientists have published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, generated tens of millions in leveraged grant funding, developed decision support systems to inform environmental management, and built an international scientific network.
Dr. White is committed use-inspired research with true global impact. He is an inaugural Fellow of the PLuS Alliance, combines the strengths of three leading research universities on three continents - ASU, Kings College London, and University of New South Wales - to solve global challenges around health, social justice, sustainability, and technology and innovation. White is an inaugural Fellow of the Global Security Initiative, a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for global security research. White is a contributing author to the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment and his work has been covered in popular media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio. White is a recipient of the President's Medal for Social Embeddedness from Arizona State University and the Celebrating Natural Resources Award from the University of Idaho.
Graduate Faculty (Endorsed to Chair):