I study the intersection of public policy and the environment in the context of development. Broadly speaking, I am interested in understanding the role of knowledge in politics, especially in a transnational context. I am fascinated by the interplay of public policy, culture, language, and human perception and have a strong interpretive predisposition in my research and teaching. Normatively, my research is informed by the values of equity, social justice, pluralism and the importance of the context in politics. Over the years, I developed three major lines in my research that I pick or let to rest depending on opportunities and shifts in interests.

1. Policy Mobility and Policy Translation

I am interested in applying dynamic lenses to understanding policy design and implementation, and institutional design for policy. By dynamic lenses I mean that seeing policy as a flowing plurality of meanings and designs allows for much more vairation and explanatory power, I am convinced, than more static concepts and theories of policy change and stability.

What originally started as an interest in how western-born environmental and water policy models travel across various borders (often from the Global North to the Global South), has now developed into the interest in seeing policy as being “always on the move”, eternally unfolding and in the flow. This has implication for the theories of public policy as well as practice.

2. Knowledge Pluralism and Policy (Institutional) Design

I am interested in how policy-makers and public managers can make use of multiple ways of knowing in public policy and governance. Scientific knowledge is only one type, there is indigenous knowledge, knowledge based on rituals, practice and values. They all are valuable and need to be included in the policy-making process.

The role of dicsourses and framing of knoweldge make an important part of this research avenue, including the stuggles over meanings and their placticity. However, the key challenge in policy-making, in my understanding, is the ability of the system to allow for stitching together knowledge claims that come from different sources (e.g. knowledge based on experience as opposed to knowledge based on books), not only different frames.

3. Behavioural Approaches to Public Policy

I am interested in the role of emotions and nudging in changing environmental (as well as policy) attitudes and promoting sustainable public policies in the world. I approach emotions and behavioral science from a public policy perspective and ask questions about the transition to sustainability and the place of so-called “libertarian paternalism” in it. Taken broader, this theme includes my interest in understanding the role of emotions, cognition and behavioural aspects in public policy, be it in an environmental domain or any other policy domain.


Refereed Journal Articles (15 as of 21 July 2019, not including book review essays)

Mukhtarov F, Dieperink C, Driessen P, Riley J. (2019) Collaborative learning for policy innovations: sustainable urban drainage systems in Leicester, England. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. 2019 Jun 15:1-4.

Alberich, J. P., Mukhtarov, F., Dieperink, C., Driessen, P., & Broekman, A. (2019). Upscaling Urban Recycled Water Schemes: an Analysis of the Presence of Required Governance Conditions in the City of Sabadell (Spain). Online.

Leong, C., & Mukhtarov, F. (2018). Global IWRM Ideas and Local Context: Studying Narratives in Rural Cambodia. Water. Online.

Mukhtarov, F., Dieperink, C., & Driessen, P. (2018). The influence of information and communication technologies on public participation in urban water governance: A review of place-based research. Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 89, November 2018, pp 430-438.

Mukhtarov, F., Pierce, R. and Gerlak, A. (2017) Away from Fossil-Fuels and Toward a Bioeconomy: Knowledge Versatility for Public Policy? Environment and Planning C, 35(6): 1010-1028.

Mukhtarov, F., de Jong, M. and Pierce, R. (2017) Political and Ethical Aspects in the Ethnography of Policy Translation: Research Experiences from Turkey and China. Environment and Planning A, 49(3): 612-630.

Gerlak, A., and Mukhtarov, F. (2016) Many Faces of Security: Discursive Framing in Cross-border Natural Resource Governance in the Mekong River Commission. Globalizations, 13 (6): 719-740.

Thiel, A., Mukhtarov, F. and Zikos, D. (2015) Crafting or Designing? Science, Politics and Conditions Determining Processes of Intended Institutional Change for Social-Ecological Systems. Environmental Science and Policy, 53 (B): 81-86.

Mukhtarov, F., Fox, S., Mukhamedova, N., and Wegerich, K. (2015) Institutional Design in the Face of Contextual Relevance: Water User Associations in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Environmental Science and Policy, 53 (B): 206-214.

Gerlak, A. and Mukhtarov, F. (2015) ‘Ways of Knowing Water’: Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Security as Complementing Discourses. International Negotiations and Environmental Agreements (INEA), 15 (3): 257–272.

*Mukhtarov, F. (2014) Rethinking the Travel of Ideas: Policy Translation in the Water Sector. Policy and Politics, 42 (1): 71-88.*In top 3 most cited articles in the journal in the last 5 years, 77 citations in Google Scholar.

Mukhtarov, F. and Gerlak, A. (2014) Epistemic Forms of Integrated Water Resources Management: Towards Versatility of Knowledge. Policy Sciences, 47 (2): 101-120.

Mukhtarov, F., Osseweijer, P., and Pierce, R. (2014) The Global Governance of Biofuels: Case for Private Governance? Bio-based and Applied Economics, 3 (3): 101-110.

Mukhtarov, F. and Gerlak, A. (2013) River Basin Organizations in the Global Water Discourse: an Exploration of Agency and Strategy. Global Governance, 19 (2): 307-326.

Mukhtarov, F., Brock, A., Janssen, S., and Guigner, A. (2013) Actors and Strategies in Translating Global Conservation Narratives to Vietnam. Policy and Society, 32 (2): 113-124

Books and Book Chapters (7 as of 30 September 2018)

Thiel, A., and Mukhtarov, F. (2018) Purposeful Institutional Change for Adaptive Governance of Natural Resources: How to Cater for Context and Agency? In “Sage Handbook of Nature”, Eds (Terry Marsten et al.), Sage. Forthcoming.

Mukhtarov, F. (2017) Reflexivity, Positionality, and Normativity in Studying Policy Translation. In Tobias Berger, Alejandro Esguerra (Eds), Translation in World Politics. Routledge Series of the Centre on Global Cooperation.

Mukhtarov, F. and Daniell, K. (2016) Transfer, diffusion, adaptation and translation of water policy models. In Ken Conca and Erika Weindthal (Eds), Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy, Oxford University Press. Online. URL:

Mukhtarov, F. and Cherp, A. (2014) The hegemony of integrated water resources management as a global water discourse. In Victor Squires, Hugh Milner, and Katherine Daniell (Eds), River Basin Management in Twenty-First Century: Understanding People and Places, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, London, pp. 3-21.

Mukhtarov, F. (2013) Translating water policy innovations into Kazakhstan: the importance of context. In Cheryl de Boer, Joanne-de Kruijf, Gul Ozerol and Hans Bressers (Eds), Water Governance, Policy and Knowledge Transfer: International Studies on Contextual Water Management, Earthscan: London, pp. 113-128.

Mukhtarov, F. (2008) Intellectual history and current status of integrated water resources management: a global perspective. In Claudia Pahl-Wostl , Pavel Kabat, Joerg Möltgen (Eds), Adaptive and Integrated Water Management: Coping with Complexity and Uncertainty. Berlin: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp.167-185.

Mukhtarov, F. (2008) The Prospects of Privatization of Water Supply Services: With Focus on Private Sector Participation in Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in Secondary Towns of Azerbaijan. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller.

Reviews and Review Essays (3 as of 30 September 2018)

Mukhtarov, F. (2017) Policies on the move: Translation, assemblages and ethnography. Book review essay. Environment and Planning C, 35 (1): 191-194.

Mukhtarov, F. and Cherp, A. (2015) Water security. Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press. Online. URL:

Cherp, A. and Mukhtarov, F. (2015) Energy security. Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press. Online. URL:

Policy Reports and Media Appearances (5 as of 30 September 2018); available upon reqest

Koop, S. Mukhtarov, F., Dieperink, C., Driessen, P. and van Leeuwen, K. (2017) Guidance document for the analysis of Urban Water Cycle Services governance in municipalities and regions. Deliverable for EC project Political and sOcial awareness on Water EnviRonmental challenges (POWER), GA N.687809.

Mukhtarov, F. (2015) Climate change strikes oil & gas industry: Tragedy in the Caspian Sea. Hurriyet Daily News, December 21, 2015. (Hurriyet Daily News is the Leading Turkish English Langauge Newspaper with 600 000 copies of daily circulation).

Mukhtarov, F., Huitema, D., Medvey, J., Kouwenhoven, R., Uribe, M., and Funke, N. (2011) Agency in Biodiversity Conservation: Park Decisions in Developing countries, International Meta-Trends and their Implementation. EC FP-7 LiveDiverse Project Background Report 2 for 6.2.

Mukhtarov, F. (2009) Integrated Water Resources Management: Global Water Collaborations on the Rise. Water World, online. URL:
UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (2009) IWRM Implementation in Basins, Sub-basins and Aquifers: State of the Art Review. Contributor.

Mukhtarov, F. (2005) Review of the experience of using economic environmental policy instruments in Azerbaijan. The Caspian Panorama, (1): 17–19.

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