Asim Zia, Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont
208E Morrill Hall, Burlington, VT 05405 | 802.656.4695 | Email:

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Dr. Asim Zia is currently serving as a Professor of Public Policy and Computer Science in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science, at the University of Vermont (UVM). He is Director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS) and Co-Director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) lab at the UVM. Dr. Zia is undertaking National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research with a large interdisciplinary team as a science leader to develop computational integrated assessment models that project and quantify high-resolution impacts of global climate change and land-use land cover change on watershed scale hydrological systems and lake systems, and their feedbacks on social systems. Since joining UVM (fall 2008), his scholarship, research and public service activities have focused on advancing the interdisciplinary fields of Public Policy, Computational Sciences and Complex Systems.  In this interdisciplinary context, he has developed and tested theoretically grounded applications in computational policy analysis, governance network analysis, coupled natural and human systems and social ecological systems. These activities have focused on understanding and modeling public policy and governance problems involving environment, water, air, climate, energy, food, and sustainable development issues across many regions of the world, spanning management of Lake Champlain basin in Vermont to conservation of tropical forests in Peru, Vietnam and Tanzania, and resilience in large river basins, such as Indus, Mekong and Amazon.

Asim Zia has published 41 journal articles, 14 book chapters and 3 books, totaling 58 peer-reviewed publications. His articles have appeared in journals such as Environmental Research Letters, Global Environmental Change, Nature Climate Change, Ecology and Society, Public Understanding of Science, Journal of Policy and Complex Systems, Public Management Review, Public Administration Review, Land Use Policy, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, AI & Society, Transport Policy, International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, Policy & Politics, Energy Policy, Journal of Environmental Psychology, and Sustainability. He has delivered 94 oral presentations and 10 poster presentations in peer reviewed national or international conferences and 18 invited presentations across different universities, think tanks, government agencies and UN agencies.  He has served as a Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on sixteen research grants worth more than $55 Million. Grant funds have been secured from NSF, McArthur Foundation, US-DOT, US-DoD and USDA.  Notable projects funded by NSF include “resilience to extreme events in social ecological systems of the Lake Champlain Basin” ($20M 2016-21), “research on adaptation to climate change” ($20M 2011-2016), and “ecological boundary setting in mental and geophysical models” ($625K 2004-2008); by USDA include “a human behavioral approach to reducing the impact of livestock pest or disease incursions of socio-economic importance” ($7.4M 2015-19); by US-DoD “strategic response to energy-related security threats” ($172K, 2012-14); and by McArthur Foundation “advancing conservation in  social context” ($6M). He served on scientific review committee of national socio-environmental synthesis center (SESYNC) from 2014-17, acts as an academic editor for PLOS One since 2013, and associate editor of Complexity, Governance and Networks . He has reviewed 68 articles in 39 journals and numerous grant proposals for NSF, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, and Governments of Romania and Pakistan. He serves as a member in the Shelburne Planning Commission (2017-19) and a member of advisory boards for People Empowering & Development Alternatives, SWARM development group and THINKMD. He has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology; recipient of 2004-2005 best dissertation award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (2004-2006), a fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and a senior research fellow for the Earth System Governance project. He has also served in the civil superior services of Pakistan as part of 21st common training program (1993-94) and worked for Economic Affairs Division in the Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (1995-2000), administering bilateral and multilateral developmental assistance projects from Germany, Asian Development Bank, US-AID and Aus-Aid.


Beckage, Brian, Louis Gross, Katherine Lacasse, Eric Carr, Sara Metcalf, Jonathan Winter, Peter Howe, Nina Fefferman, Travis Franck, Asim Zia, Ann Kinzig, and Forrest Hoffman (2018) Linking models of human behavior and climate alters projected climate change. Nature Climate Change 8: 79-84.

Asim Zia, Chris Koliba (2017) Dynamics of Intergovernmental Networks: Harnessing Agent Based Modeling Simulations for Resilient Infrastructures. Journal of Policy and Complex Systems 3(2): 49-71.

Shang Wu, Asim Zia, Mengyuan Ren, Kent Messer (2017) Simulating Heterogeneous Farmer Behaviors under Different Policy Schemes: Integrating Economic Experiments and Agent-Based Modeling. Journal of Policy and Complex Systems 3(2): 164-188.

Rachel Schattman, Ernesto Mendez, Scott Merrill, Asim Zia (2017) A mixed methods approach to understanding farmer and technical service provider perceptions of climate change and adaptation in Vermont, United States. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Online first:

Sarah Coleman, Stephanie Hurley, Christopher Koliba, Asim Zia (2017) Crowdsourced delphis: Designing solutions to complex environmental problems with broad stakeholder participation. Global Environmental Change 45: 111-123.

Steve Scheinert, Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba, and Scott Merrill (2017) Growing Collaborations: Forecasting Changes in Partnership Networks using a Bottom-Up Approach. Journal of Policy and Complex Systems 3(1) doi: 10.18278/jpcs.3.1.1

A.R. Egan, W.S. Keeton, C.M. Danks, I. Soloviy, A. Zia (2017) Forest carbon projects in the Ukrainian Carpathians: an assessment of potential community impacts and benefits. Annals of Forest Research 60(1)

Zia, Asim, Arne Bomblies, Andrew W. Schroth, Christopher Koliba, Peter D.F. Isles, Yushiou Tsai, Ibrahim N. Mohammed, Gabriela Bucini, Patrick Clemins, Scott Turnbull, Morgan Rodgers, Ahmed Hamed, Brian Beckage, Jonathan Winter, Carol Adair, Gillian L. Galford, Donna Rizzo and Judith Van Houten (2016) Coupled impacts of climate and land use change across a river-lake continuum: insights from an integrated assessment model of Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Basin, 2000-2040. Environmental Research Letters 11, Number 11. Available online at

Koliba, C., Zia, A., Schroth, A., Bomblies, A., Van Houten, J., and Rizzo, D. (2016) The Lake Champlain Basin as a Complex Adaptive System: Insights from the Research on Adaptation to Climate Change (“RACC”) Project. Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 17(4): 533-563

Conner, D., Miller, J., Zia, A., Wang, Q., and Darby, H. (2016) Conjoint Analysis of Farmers’ Response to Conservation Incentives. Sustainability 8: 684; doi 10.3390/su8070684

Ali, Saleem; Asim Zia (2016) Trans-boundary Data Sharing and Resilience Scenarios: Harnessing the Role of Regional Organizations for Environmental Security. In Zafar Adeel, Robert Wirsing (Ed.) Imagining Industan: Overcoming Water Insecurity in the Indus Basin. Heidelberg, Springer.

Koliba, C., Wiltshire, S., Scheinert, S., Turner, D., Zia, A., Campbell, E. (2016) The critical role of information sharing to the value proposition of a food systems network. Public Management Review. Online First. DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2016.1209235

James, T. A., Kreiger, L. M., Zia, A., Gaalema, D., Jones, C., (2016) A Practical Framework for Incentive-Based Cancer Prevention. Population Health Management. April 2016 ahead of print. doi:10.1089/pop.2016.0007

Schulz, Anna, Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba (2015) Adapting Bridge Infrastructure to Climate Change: Institutionalizing Resilience in Intergovernmental Transportation Planning Processes in the Northeastern United States. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. Online First DOI 10.1007/s11027-015-9672-x

Littenberg, B., Bonnell, L. N., LeBruin, A. S., Lubetkin, D. A., Troy, A. R., & Zia, A. (2015). The Relationship Between Access to Natural Environmental Amenities and Obesity. Cureus, 7(11).

Tsai, Yushiou, Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba, Justin Guilbert, Gabriela Bucini, Brian Beckage (2015). An Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-Based Model (ILUTABM): Endogenizing Human-Environment Interactions at Watershed Scales. Land Use Policy 49: 161-176.

Zia, A., Koliba, C. (2015) The Emergence of Attractors Under Multi-level Institutional Designs: Agent-Based Modeling of Intergovernmental Decision Making for Funding Transportation Projects. AI & Society: Knowledge, Culture and Communication: 30: 315-331. DOI 10.1007/s00146-013-0527-2

Hamed, Ahmed; Alexa Ayer; Eric Clark; Erin Irons; Grant Taylor; Asim Zia  (2015) Measuring Climate Change on Twitter Using Google's Algorithm: Perception and Events. International Journal of Web Information Systems: 11(4).

Fernandez, Luca, Chris Koliba, Asim Zia, Katherine Cheung, Richard Solomon, Chris Jones (2015) System Dynamics Modeling can be Leveraged to Predict Critical Care Pathways and Costs for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): US Population to 2020. Journal of Health Economics and Outcomes Research, 3(1): 24-33

Scheinert, Steve, Christopher Koliba, Stephanie Hurly, Sarah Coleman, and Asim Zia (2015) The Shape of Watershed Governance:  Locating Network Boundaries within Multiplex Networks. Complexity, Governance and Networks, 2(1): 65-82. DOI 10.7564 15-CGN25

Novak, David, Chris Koliba, Asim Zia, Matt Tucker (2015) Evaluating the outcomes associated with an innovative change in a state-level transportation project prioritization process: A case study of Vermont. Transport Policy 42: 130-143

Zia, Asim, Courtney Hammond Wagner (2015) Mainstreaming Early Warning Systems in Development and Planning Processes: Multi-level implementation of Sendai Framework in Indus and Sahel. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 6(2): 189-199. DOI 10.1007/s13753-015-0048-3

Zia, Asim, Christopher Koliba, Jack Meek, Anna Schulz (2015) Scale and Intensity of Collaboration as Determinants of Performance Management Gaps in Polycentric Governance Networks:  Evidence from a National Survey of MPOs. Policy & Politics: Advancing Knowledge in Public and Social Policy 43(3): 367-390

Hamed, Ahmed Abdeen; Asim Zia (2015) Mining Climate Change Awareness on Twitter: A PageRank Network Analysis Method. In Computational Science and Its Applications – ICCSA 2015 Volume 9155 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science (pp. 16-31). Heidelberg, Springer. [Online:]

Koliba, Chris; Asim Zia (2015) Educating Public Managers and Policy Analysts in an Era of Informatics. In Marijn Janssen, Maria A. Wimmer, Ameneh Deljoo (Ed.) Policy Practice and Digital Science: Integrating Complex Systems, Social Simulation and Public Administration in Policy Research (pp. 15-34). Heidelberg, Springer.

Schattman, R., Mendez, V. E., Westdijk, K., Caswell, M., Conner, D., Koliba, C., Zia, A., Hurley, S., Adair, E.C., Berlin, L., & Darby, H. (2015). Vermont agricultural resilience in a changing climate: A transdisciplinary and participatory action research (PAR) process. In N. Benkeblia (Ed.), Agroecology, ecosystems, and sustainability (pp. 326–346). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Zia, A., Kelman, I., Glantz, M. (2015) Arctic Melting Tests the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In Diplomacy on Ice: Energy and the Environment in the Arctic and Antarctic. Editors: S. Ali and R. Pincus. Yale University Press, New Haven CT, Pages 128-140

Koliba, C., Zia, A. (2015) Governance Informatics: Using computer simulation models to deepen situational awareness and governance design considerations. In Governance in the Information Era: Theory and Practice of Policy Informatics. Editor: E. Johnston. Rutledge Press, London UK, Pages 189-212

Zia, Asim, Paul Hirsch, Hoang Van Thang, Tran Chi Trung, Sheila O’Connor, Thomas McShane, Pete Brosius, Bryan Norton (2015) Eliciting Inter-Temporal Value Trade-Offs: A Deliberative Multi-Criteria Analysis of Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long National Park Management Scenarios. IAFOR Journal of Sustainability, Energy and the Environment: 2(1): 41-62.

Koliba, C., Berman, M., Brune, N., Zia, A. (2014) The Salience and Complexity of Building, Regulating, and Governing the Smart Grid: Lessons from a Statewide Public-Private Partnership. Energy Policy 74: 243-252 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2014.09.013

Koliba, C., Reynolds, A., Zia, A., and Scheinert, S. (2014). Isomorphic Properties of Network Governance: Comparing Two Watershed Governance Initiatives in the Lake Champlain Basin Using Institutional Network Analysis. Complexity, Governance and Networks. 1(2): 99-118. DOI: 10.7564/14-CGN12

Zia, A., Kauffman, S., Koliba, C., Beckage, B., Vattay, G., Bomblies, A. (2014) From the Habit of Control to Institutional Enablement: Re-envisioning the Governance of Social-Ecological Systems from the Perspective of Complexity Sciences. Complexity, Governance and Networks. 1(1): 79-88. DOI: 10.7564/14-CGN4

Zia, Asim, Bryan Norton, Sara Metcalf, Paul Hirsch, Bruce Hannon (2014) Spatial Discounting, Place Attachment and Environmental Concern: Toward an Ambit-Based Theory of Sense of Place. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 40: 283-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.08.001

Zia, A., Hameed, K. (2014) Politics of Conflict in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Vulnerability Reduction in Violence-Prone Complex Adaptive Systems. In Middle East Conflicts & Reforms, edited by Mohammed M. Aman and M. J. Parker Aman. Washington, DC: Policy Studies Organization/Westphalia Press, Pages 223-236. ISBN-13:978-1941472002

Zia, A. (2013) Post-Kyoto Climate Governance: Confronting the Politics of Scale, Ideology and Knowledge. Rutledge, London UK

Beckage, B., Kauffman, S., Zia, A., Koliba, C. and Gross, L. J. (2013) More complex complexity: exploring the nature of computational irreducibility across physical, biological, and human social systems . In Irreducibility and Computational Equivalence: Wolfram Science 10 Years After the Publication of A New Kind of Science.

Hirsch, Paul, Pete Brosius, Sheila O’Connor, Asim Zia, Meredith Welch-Devine, Juan Luis Dammert, Jennifer L. Rice, Zachary R. Anderson, Sarah Hitchner, John Schelhas, Thomas O. McShane (2013) Navigating Complex Trade-Offs in Conservation and Development: An Integrative Framework. Issues in Integrative Studies 31: 99-122

Zia, A., Kauffman, S., Niiranen, S. (2012) The Prospects and Limits of Algorithms in Simulating Creative Decision Making. Emergence: Complexity and Organization (E:CO) – An International Transdisciplinary Journal of Complex Social Systems 14 (3): 89-109.

Zia, A. (2012) Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change: Economic Damages from Land-Falling Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States of the USA, 1900-2005. Sustainability 4: 917-932.

Zia, A., Koliba, C., Tian, Y.(2012). Governance Network Analysis: Experimental Simulations of Alternate Institutional Designs for Intergovernmental Project Prioritization Processes. In L. Gerrits & P.K. Marks (Eds.), COMPACT I: Public Administration in Complexity. Litchfield Park: Emergent Publications. Pages 144-165.

Koliba, C., Zia, A., (2012) “Complexity Friendly” Meso-Level Public Administration and Policy Studies Frameworks for Modeling Complex Governance Systems: Challenges and Opportunities for a Meta-Theoretical Research Program. In L. Gerrits & P.K. Marks (Eds.), COMPACT I: Public Administration in Complexity. Litchfield Park: Emergent Publications. Pages 119-136.

Zia, A., and Glantz, M. (2012) Risk Zones: Comparative Lesson Drawing and Policy Learning from Flood Insurance Programs. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 14(2): 143-159.

Zia, A., Paul Hirsch, Alexander N. Songorwa, David R. Mutekanga, Sheila O’Connor, Thomas McShane, Pete Brosius, Bryan Norton (2011) Cross-Scale Value Trade-Offs in Managing Social-Ecological Systems: The Politics of Scale in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Ecology and Society 16(4):7.

Zia, A., and Koliba, C. (2011) Accountable Climate Governance: Dilemmas of Performance Management Across Complex Governance Networks. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 13(5): 479-497.

Koliba, C., Mills, and Zia, A. (2011) Accountability in Governance Networks: An Assessment of Public, Private, and Nonprofit Emergency Management Practices Following Hurricane Katrina. Public Administration Review 71(2): 210-220.

Hirsch, P. D., Adams, B., Brosius, J. P., Zia, A., Bariola, N., and Dammert, J. L. (2011) Acknowledging Conservation Trade-offs and Embracing Complexity. Conservation Biology 25: 259-264.

Koliba, C., Campbell, E. and Zia, A. (2011) Performance Measurement Considerations in Congestion Management Networks: Aligning Data and Network Accountability.  Public Performance Management Review. 34(4): 520-548.

Koliba, C., Zia, A., and Lee, B. H.Y. (2011) Governance Informatics: Managing the Performance of Inter-Organizational Governance Networks. The Innovation Journal 16(1), Article 3.

Koliba, C., Meek, J., and Zia, A (2010) Governance Networks in Public Administration and Public Policy. CRC Press, Boca Raton FL

Koliba, C., Meek, J., and Zia, A. (2010) Gordian Knot or Integrated Theory? Critical Conceptual Considerations for Governance Network Analysis. In The Future of Governance: Selected Papers from the Fifth Transatlantic Dialogue on Public Administration. Taco Brandsen and Marc Holzer (Editors). Published by National Center for Public Performance (NCPP), Newark NJ. Pages 277-300.

Zia, A., Todd, A. M. (2010) Evaluating the Effects of Ideology on Public Understanding of Climate Change Science: How to Improve Communication Across Ideological Divides? Public Understanding of Science 19(6): 743-761.

Koliba, C., and Zia, A. (2009) Dispelling the Myth of the Invisible Hand: An Argument for Democratically Legitimate Inter-Organizational Governance Networks. Administrative Theory & Praxis 31(2): 417-423

Zia, A., B. G. Norton, D. S. Noonan, M. O. Rodgers, and L. DeHart-Davis (2006) A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of High Emitter Non-Compliance and its Impact on Vehicular Tailpipe Emissions in Atlanta, 1997-2001. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 11(1): 77-96

Zia, A. (2006) Cooperative and Non-Cooperative Decision Behaviors in Response to the Inspection and Maintenance Program in the Atlanta Airshed, 1997-2001: The APPAM Ph.D. Dissertation Award. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 25(3): 773-775

Zia, A. (1999) Can Beggars Be Choosers: a Critique of Pak-German Developmental Cooperation. Heinrich Boell Foundation. Lahore, Pakistan/ Berlin, Germany


Policy Analysis of Complex Systems

arrowEcological boundary setting in mental and geophysical models
arrowAgent-based modeling of land-use change and watershed systems
arrowThe analysis of complex governance system dynamics

Adaptive Decision Making and Adaptive Management

arrowComplexity and meta-decision models
arrowCooperative and non-cooperative decision behaviors
arrowValue of forecast information and communication of uncertain forecasts

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policy Evaluation

arrowPublic understanding of climate change science
arrowAdaptation policy and risk zoning
arrowInternational negotiation of climate change mitigation policy
arrowDiffusion of renewable energy and energy efficient systems

International Development and Environmental Sustainability

arrowTrade-offs between conservation and development
arrowInternational development policy
arrowEnvironmental education, service-learning and capacity building

Transportation, Air Quality and Land-Use Planning

arrowSmog control and policy compliance
arrowRegulations and environmental justice
arrowActivity-based transportation models