The CREATE Initiative

Co-developing Research and Engaged Approaches to Transform our Environment

The CREATE Initiative supports solutions-oriented research and graduate training designed to address the Grand Challenges of “Assuring CleanWater” and “Fostering Just and Equitable Communities”.

Through partnerships with communities in the U.S. and internationally, CREATE is developing new models of academic scholarship based on:

  • Co-development of research questions with end users
  • Effective and respectful university engagement
  • Co-production and dissemination of knowledge
  • Resourcing communities to achieve their desired environmental futures


Project Purpose

The project seeks to identify how different ways of knowing and diverse data types can be mobilized to understand existing conditions and vision alternative pathways towards sustainable and equitable water futures.

CREATE will support community-engaged research addressing urgent problems at the intersection of water and equity, including:

  • Resourcing communities to address the causes and consequences of stormwater management in West Atlanta, Georgia
  • Elevating underrepresented narratives of communities affected by infrastructure development in North Florida
  • Understanding and mapping the equity dimensions of water management in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Investigating interactions between food security, climate change, and water resources in the Andes
  • Fostering more inclusive water decision-making through the integration of cultural values for clean water in Minnesota


To learn more about CREATE, contact CREATE Co-Directors Bonnie Keeler (keeler@umn.edu) or Kate Derickson (kericks@umn.edu).