Debra Knopman's expertise is in hydrology, environmental and natural resources policy, systems analysis and operations research, and public administration. Her project work spans a range of topics including long-term water management, policy options for disposition of nuclear waste, governance and funding for U.S. Gulf Coast recovery, and the design of a National Research Fund for Qatar. Knopman served for six years (1997–2003) as a member of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and chaired the board's Site Characterization Panel. She was the director of the Progressive Policy Institute's Center for Innovation and the Environment from 1995 to 2000. From 1993 to 1995, Knopman was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior. She had previously been a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and later chief of the Branch of Systems Analysis in the USGS's Water Resources Division. From 1979 to 1983, she served first as legislative assistant for energy and environmental issues to Senator Daniel P. Moynihan and then as professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Knopman's recent RAND publications include Planning Tool to Support Louisiana's Decisionmaking on Coastal Protection and Restoration: Technical Description (David Groves et al, 2012); Choosing a New Organization for Management and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel and Defense High-level Nuclear Waste (Lynn Davis et al, 2012); and Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel: Technical Approaches and Policy Options (Tom LaTourrette et al, 2010). She is a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Lynn E. Davis et al., Choosing a New Organization for Management and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel and Defense High-level Nuclear Waste, RAND Corporation (MG-1230), 2012
David Groves, Christopher Sharon, and Debra Knopman, Planning Tool to Support Louisiana's Decisionmaking on Coastal Protection and Restoration: Technical Description, RAND Corporation (TR-1266), 2012
Tom LaTourrette, Thomas Light, Debra Knopman, and James Bartis, Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel: Technical Approaches and Policy Options, RAND Corporation (MG-970), 2010
Victoria A. Greenfield et al., Design of the Qatar National Research Fund: An Overview of the Study Approach and Key Recommendations, RAND Corporation (TR-209), 2008
David Groves et al., Presenting Uncertainty About Climate Change to Water-Resource Managers: A Summary of Workshops with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, RAND Corporation (TR-505), 2008
Jacqueline MacDonald et al., Transferring Army BRAC Lands Containing Unexploded Ordnance: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future, RAND Corporation (MG-199), 2006
James P. Kahan et al., From Flood Control to Integrated Water Resource Management: Lessons for the Gulf Coast from Flooding in Other Places in the Last Sixty Years, RAND Corporation (OP-164), 2005
Debra Knopman et al., Systems of Innovation Within Public and Private Organizations: Case Studies and Options for the EPA: Report, RAND Corporation (DB-393), 2004