I analyse resource use efficiency interventions by questioning how they work and for whom they work. In answering how we can use resources more just and judiciously, I contribute to theory development on circularity, resource use efficiency and water justice. I do so by means of practice-based, empirically informed research, conceptually inspired by science and technology studies and socio-ecological approaches. By combining ethnographic research methods with a sound understanding of engineering and environmental sciences, I unravel the intimate relation between the material and the social.
For example, in my postdoc research I developed a novel socio-ecological-technological approach to indicate how, and how much, mineral phosphorus can be realistically replaced by recovered phosphorus from wastewater. My cross-disciplinary research, carried out within a team including researchers from environmental technology, soil sciences, crop sciences and sociology, indicates knowledge gaps in and across different disciplines ànd urges for a transition in fertiliser use.
Likewise, in my PhD study I questioned what the introduction of efficient drip irrigation does with a farmer-managed irrigation system in Morocco, its institutions and irrigators’ water use practices. I studied the socio-technical co-shaping of irrigation institutions and infrastructures, mapped the re-allocations of water flows that accompanied the irrigation modernization and explored what drip irrigation does for and with farmers.