Leverhulme Trust grant to enhance research and academic activity on water insecurity
08 August 2023
Water security


We are delighted to announce that Leverhulme Trust awarded London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), on behalf of Sera Young, a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship. Leverhulme Visiting Professorship is a grant that allows visits of eminent professors from overseas, to bring novel expertise and boost the skills and knowledge of academic staff.

With the Leverhulme Visiting Professorship, Professor Sera Young will come from Northwestern University, Illinois, to the UK to develop academic and scientific activity with LSHTM for 9 months. During this Visiting Professorship, she will apply her expertise in water insecurity to better understand the causes and consequences of critical societal issues through research, training, and dissemination and will provide many research and training opportunities for LSHTM students and LSHTM research.

Sera Young is a former IMMANA grantee who previously led the HWISE project, a tool for the assessment of household-level water insecurity. Until then, there had not been any validated scales to measure household water access, use, and reliability in a globally comparable way. Sera Young and a team of researchers filled this gap, bringing the human voice to global water indicators by developing the Water Insecurity Experiences Scales, short surveys to measure human experiences with water accurately, rapidly, and comparably. The WISE Scales enable scientists, program developers, community leaders, and policy makers to determine the magnitude of water insecurity within and across communities, track its changes over time and inform the development of targeted policies. Sera then went on to develop a scale to measure water insecurity at the individual level, with the Individual Water Insecurity Experiences (IWISE) Scale, in collaboration with UNESCO and Gallup World Poll.

The WISE scales have now been implemented in more than 50 countries by scholars, community-based organizations, multi-lateral agencies, and governments. As such, they are beginning to revolutionize how water security is understood and measured, thereby satisfying an urgent need for identification of this valuable resource.

This scientific work will continue even more closely in collaboration with IMMANA and other LSHTM researchers, in a collaboration about geospatial analyses of experiences of water insecurity and climate change using nationally representative data from 31 low- and middle-income countries. Sera Young will focus on the insights that the measure of water insecurity can offer into climate change, development, public health and nutrition. Water insecurity is a vivid manifestation of climate change, and working to better understand it is critical for human and planetary well-being.


Sera Young is a former grantee that worked on the IMMANA project: HWISE: A novel tool for the assessment of household-level water insecurity: scale refinement, validation, and manual development

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