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Personal profile


Dr Shirin Malekpour develops and leads interdisciplinary research projects in the area of planning and governance for sustainable development. Her research explores how transformative change towards sustainable development could be enabled in different contexts, acknowledging that this would be a long-term endeavour, faced by uncertainty and disruption, and requiring robust and adaptive strategies. She has designed interventions based on scenario planning and participatory approaches to help with future thinking and developing pathways toward sustainable outcomes in different contexts. Her interventions have been adopted by industry, mainly in the water and food sectors.


Shirin is an advisor to the UN on sustainable development. She has been appointed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the 15 members of the Independent Group of Scientists, who will shape the next quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report. 


Shirin has developed a research program at MSDI on localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The program tries to understand how the global SDG framework can be realised in different parts of society and by different societal actors: in cities and urban spaces, in local and regional areas, and within sectors and organisations.


Shirin has an interdisciplinary background with a PhD in Environmental Sociology (Monash University – Australia), a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering (Delft University of Technology – the Netherlands) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering (the University of Tehran – Iran). Prior to her academic career, she has worked for 5 years in large water and wastewater infrastructure projects across Africa and the Middle East.


In 2018, Shirin was recognised as one of the top 25 young scientists in the world in the field of sustainable development. 


Research area keywords

  • Strategic Planning
  • Governance
  • Sustainable Development
  • Scenario Planning
  • Urban Water
  • Food-Energy-Water Nexus
  • Deep Uncertainty
  • Sustainability Transitions
  • Futures
  • Infrastructure Planning
  • Urban Transformations
  • SDGs


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