PhD Fellow
+32 50 47 13 04
Research Interests 

Water security
Human mobility 
Gender equity
Civil and minorities empowerment
Africa-EU collaboration  
Science policy interfacing  


MA Hydraulic & Environmental Engineering, National School for Water and Environmental Engineering (ENGEES)

Biographical Statement 

Alix Debray is a PhD Fellow at UNU-CRIS and Ghent University. Affiliated to the Department of Economics under the supervision of Professor Dr Ilse Ruyssen, she investigates immobility and its development implications using a mixed-method approach.  

The first chapters of her doctoral thesis are analysing voluntary immobility, both globally and particular cases of Western African countries as well as in Algeria looking at the role of irrigation as a mitigating factor for the impact of climate change on migration.  

The second part of her research moves attention to involuntary immobility and its impact on subjective well-being and broader life aspirations with a case study in Senegal under the co-supervision of Dr Sorana Toma (Ghent University) within the faculty of Public Health.  

Under the guidance of Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla (UNU-CRIS, McMaster University), she is also exploring retain factors for immobility in the context of the climate-migration-water nexus in the Congo Basin, which was supposed to be the red thread throughout her initial dissertation but was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  


Alix holds a hydraulic & environmental engineering degree (ENGEES, France) and has been working in the water field alongside her studies for five years, in both the private and public sectors. Her work has covered various issues including water quality and contamination risk assessment, flood management, river restoration, water legislation applications and sustainable development as an approach for innovation in engineering projects.  

In 2018, she undertook a research assistantship at UNU-INWEH (Ontario, Canada) where she built the structure of the online course “Peace and Political Stability module of the Global Water Security”. She also lectured with the Peace Studies programme at McMaster University to emphasise the link between ecosystems services, water security and peace processes.