Vanessa SchweizerVanessa Schweizer, PhD

Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

Department of Knowledge Integration


  • Geography and Environmental Management

  • School of Environment, Enterprise and Development

  • School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability

  • Systems Design Engineering

Director, Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation

Faculty, Balsillie School of International Affairs

Member, Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3)

Fellow, Cascade Institute, Royal Roads University

Contact information:

Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 45106
Office: Environment 1 (EV1), room 211


PhD Engineering and Public policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
Masters Environmental Studies, The Evergreen State College, 2007
BSc (H) Physics (minors in Mathematics, Philosophy, Speech Communication), University of Nevada, USA, 2001

Research interests:

Collective decision-making. This includes many processes such as articulating aspirations and values, exercising foresight, confronting uncertainties and risks, and negotiating tradeoffs.

Active research projects:

  • Systematic approaches to scenario design for large-scale environmental change
  • Path dependencies and discontinuities in social and technological change
  • Interdisciplinary knowledge integration for environmental problems, especially climate change

Key publications:

Selected honours/awards:

  • Paper with E.A. Lloyd recognized with a Diamond Ranking by editors of Synthese for being one of the top 10 downloaded papers of 2014
  • Contributing author to Ch. 21 (Regional Context) of the contribution of Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Paper with E. Kriegler selected for the "Highlights of 2012" collection of Environmental Research Letters
  • Doctoral fellowships from the Link Foundation (Energy Fellow, 2008-2010) and The Henry Luce Foundation (Clare Boothe Luce Fellow, 2005-2007)

Courses taught:

  • INTEG 121: Design and Problem Solving
  • INTEG 251: Creative Thinking
  • INTEG 452: Real World Problem Solving
  • INTEG 475 Special Topics: Evidence-Based Decision Making