Bryan Bruns, Ph.D.

Consulting Sociologist: improving participation in irrigation, water resources management, and institutional development

Independent Scholar
: water governance, institutional analysis and development, designing commons, and solving social dilemmas

Professional work experience in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam,  Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Tajikistan, Yemen, Egypt, Nigeria, Malawi, and Ghana, including consulting for the Ford Foundation, World Bank, International Water Management Institute, International Food Policy Research Institute, United States Agency for International Development, Asian Development Bank, WWF, CARE, Oxfam-America, and United Nations agencies.


  • Plan and facilitate public participation
  • Water user association development
  • Institutional analysis and design
  • Social assessment and research: rapid appraisal, case studies, surveys, and action research
  • Project preparation, implementation, and review: proposal drafting, team leadership, project management, supervision, monitoring and evaluation
  • Report writing, technical editing, conference proceedings and book editing, peer review


  • Ph.D. Sociology of Development, Cornell University.
    Minor Fields: Agricultural Economics, Southeast Asian Studies
  • M.S. Sociology of Development, Cornell University.
  • B.A. Major in Anthropology, Beloit College.

Training and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Research Award. Thailand. 1985-1986.
  • Certificate in Public Participation. International Association for Public Participation. 2003.
  • Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University Bloomington. 2009-2010.

Professional Memberships

  • International Association for Public Participation - IAP2
  • International Association for the Study of Commons - IASC
  • Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology - SfAA

Representative Accomplishments

  • Increased water user participation in irrigation system design and management
  • Improved capacity of agencies and farmers to work together
  • Prepared social and institutional aspects of rural development and water resources projects
  • Analyzed water rights system development in China
  • Co-edited books: Negotiating Water Rights and Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design
  • Developed applications and enhanced visualizations of topology of two-person two-strategy games

Selected Publications

Curriculum Vitae and additional information available upon request.


Negotiating Water Rights book cover

Water Rights Reform book cover

2x2 games chart