Project News

Project News


  • August: Our (final?) trip to Sri Lanka to present our work to stakeholders:
    • Josh Bazuin presented results from quantitative and qualitative field work as well as policy recommendations to irrigation and agriculture officials at three regional workshops in Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, and Hambantota.
    • Jonathan Gillian and George Hornberger delivered lectures to Sri Lankan professional groups
    • George Hornberger and Jonathan Gilligan delivered keynote addresses at the Conference on Recognizing Climate Change Risk of Dry Zone Farmers in Sri Lanka. Amanda Carrico, Josh Bazuin, Nick Williams, Arielle Tozier de la Poterie, and Thushara de Silva presented papers at the same conference.  In the audience were stakeholders from the Ministry of Disaster Management (including the Secretary of the Ministry) Irrigation Department, Mahaweli Authority, Department of Agrarian Development, NBRO, and many non-governmental stakeholders.
    • Udeni Nawagamuwa, George Hornberger, and Jonathan Gilligan facilitated a workshop on the use of physical science data in support of agricultural adaptation to climate change.
    • Amanda Carrico, Nick Williams, and Josh Bazuin facilitated a workshop on the SEADS farmer survey data
    • Thushara de Silva, Hiba Baroud, George Hornberger, and Jonathan Gilligan facilitated a workshop entitled Assessing Stakeholders’ Preferences in Planning of Energy Sector in Sri Lanka.
    • Thushara de Silva and Hiba Baroud interviewed stakeholders from the power sector of Sri Lanka.
    • Amanda Carrico, Nick Williams, and Arielle Tozier de la Poterie interviewed policy makers and other officials in Kandy and Colombo
  • May: Due to a severe drought in Sri Lanka in 2016-2017, we are collecting additional data from 500 households on the effects of drought.
  • Multiple ADAPT-SL-related dissertations and theses are successfully defended: John Nay (VU), Emily Burchfield (VU), Brandon Araujo (UNF), Thushara Gunda (VU); Arielle Tozier de la Poterie (UC-B). (see Publications page for access to their dissertations)
  • February: data collection is complete on our survey, comprising approximately 1500 respondents, each surveyed twice, in 31 villages
  • January: Dr. Udeni Nawagamuwa from the University of Moratuwa joins Vanderbilt (January through June) as a Visiting Scholar at VIEE to work collaboratively on several soil-related projects.
  • January: Amanda Carrico and Nick Williams travel to Sri Lanka to examine how farmers’ home gardens influence food security. Dr. Carrico presents on drought forecasting to the Ministry of Disaster Management.


  • December: Josh Bazuin travels to Sri Lanka to present Nay, Gilligan, and Burchfield’s work on vegetation health forecasting at NBRO’s international conference, and to conduct additional focus groups along the eastern coast
  • August: Thushara de Silva travels to Sri Lanka to interview stakeholders related to tradeoffs in infrastructure development related to electricity-water-food production
  • August: Project personnel meet in Nashville to plan for the final year of the project
  • April: Emily Burchfield organized and chaired a session on “Human-Environment Interactions: Linking Remote Sensing and the Social Sciences” at the Association for American Geographers Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, April 2016.  Josh Bazuin presented on connections between drought as measured through remote sensing (vegetation health) and accumulation of farmer debt at the same conference, chairing a session on development challenges in rural areas.
  • March: Thushara Gunda wins Vanderbilt 3 Minute Thesis competition
  • March: James Fraser, Josh Bazuin, John Nay, and Thushara Gunda present at the NSF WSC meetings
  • January: Thushara Gunda, Josh Bazuin, Amanda Carrico, and Nick Williams travel to Sri Lanka.  Meetings resulted in three white papers that included follow-up analyses that were delivered to national government institutions in Sri Lanka (Irrigation Management Division, the Mahaweli Authority, and the National Building Research Organization). Gunda and Bazuin studied how farmers understand and react to multiple uncertainties related to weather and markets using a game developed by Gunda, Bazuin, John Nay, and Sam Keung.
  • January: Thushara Gunda traveled to Sri Lanka where she presented a paper, “Could we have forecasted the 2014 drought in Sri Lanka?,”  at the ASCE-EWRI’s Eighth International Perspective on Water Resources and the Environment (IPWE) conference in Colombo, January 2016.



  • Thushara Gunda receives funding from the Curb Center for Art and Public Policy and the Vanderbilt Graduate School to conduct additional field work in Sri Lanka
  • Summer 2015: students, Emily Burchfield and Arielle Tozier de la Poterie, travel to Sri Lanka for field work research
  • Elizabeth Stone named finalist in Vanderbilt 3 Minute Thesis Competition
  • ADAPT-SL team travels to Sri Lanka (March): Jonathan Gilligan, Amanda Carrico, Sam Keung, and Josh Bazuin
  • George Hornberger, Emily Burchfield, and Elizabeth Stone attend NSF WSC meetings