UF Research Names Dr. Matt Cohen as the Interim Director of the UF Water Institute

Published: October 5th, 2023

Category: Memos

David Norton, Vice President for Research

UF Research is pleased to announce Dr. Matt Cohen as the Interim Director of the UF Water Institute.  Dr. Cohen will assume this role as Dr. Wendy Graham recently announced that she will be stepping down from her position as the Director of the Water Institute to take on the role of Division Director for the Division of Research, Innovation, Synergies, and Education (RISE) in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) at the National Science Foundation, effective Monday, October 9, 2023.

Since 2006, Dr. Graham has served as the Carl S. Swisher Eminent Scholar in Water Resources in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Director of the UF Water Institute. As founding Director of the Water Institute, Dr. Graham has created and nurtured an inclusive and intellectually stimulating cross-disciplinary environment that fosters collaboration and innovation. The Water Institute currently connects 405 faculty members from 11 UF colleges, representing specialties across the geophysical, biological, and social sciences, as well as engineering, law, and the humanities.

Under Dr. Graham’s leadership, the Water Institute has emerged as a leader in facilitating and coordinating convergent, transdisciplinary research, education, and outreach programs critical to understanding and providing solutions for long-standing and emerging water issues of state, national and global importance. In the past year alone, the Institute coordinated and supported faculty teams conducting 16 interdisciplinary projects funded at ~$20M. Likewise, diverse stakeholders from National Review Committees, the Governor’s Office, the State Legislature, State and Local Agencies, and Non-Governmental Conservation Organizations have sought the Institute’s expertise for knowledge synthesis on crucial statewide water issues.

The Water Institute Biennial Symposia, recognized as Florida’s premier water resources conference, serves as a platform for sharing cutting-edge water-related science, technology, education, policy, and management advancements across participants from academia, government, the private-sector and the public interest.

The University will soon initiate a national search for a new permanent director of this important institute.  During this transition, Dr. Matt Cohen will serve as the Interim Director of the Water Institute. Dr. Cohen is a Professor in the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. He is an ecohydrologist with nearly 20 years of experience addressing water resource and ecosystem science challenges in Florida and around the world. Dr. Cohen received his PhD from the University of Florida in 2003 and joined the faculty in 2006. He has led research focused on hydrological restoration of the Everglades and Big Cypress, the changing ecological state of Florida’s springs, the deep links between forests and water, and the changing patterns of Arctic and Antarctic stream functions. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, all five Water Management Districts and the Department of Environmental Protections, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, and has resulted in over 120 publications. Dr. Cohen has been deeply involved in the Water Institute since its inception, serving as Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee, advising two cohorts of Water Institute Graduate Fellows, and being selected as one of the inaugural Water Institute Faculty Fellows.  He is committed to maintaining the core excellence of Water Institute operations, seizing new opportunities as they arise, and helping navigate the transition to a new permanent Director.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Cohen for his willingness to serve UF in this role.  We extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Wendy Graham for her remarkable contributions and wish her continued success in her new role at the National Science Foundation.

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