Master’s Thesis Opportunity

Overview
Application Procedure
Related Files
  • Eligibility

    Master’s students enrolled at a university other than the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) are eligible to apply. Master’s students enrolled at TU Dresden are invited to visit the section Joint Junior Researcher Programme (Master’s Thesis).

    Objective

    This initiative provides graduate students with the opportunity to write a master’s thesis under the guidance of supervisors at both UNU-FLORES and the respective university the candidate is enrolled at. Upon completion of the master’s thesis, successful candidates are expected to have developed a deeper knowledge, understanding, and capabilities in the context of the study area and will disseminate the research results in a way that is beneficial for the research area and for their career.

    Criteria

    The qualifications which will be considered in the application process include, but are not limited to, the following. The ideal candidate:

    • is currently pursuing a master’s degree
    • has proven proficiency in oral and written English
    • is able to work within agreed timelines and to communicate clearly and effectively
    • is a good team player with strong interpersonal skills
    • demonstrates the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • works on a thesis topic that is related to the Resource Nexus
    • connects their work to ongoing projects

    We aim to be inclusive and to recruit students worldwide. Flexibility is key to our remote offer so that students can join alongside their studies and participate from anywhere in the world.

    UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation.

    Duration

    The successful candidate shall complete and submit the master’s thesis for evaluation within an agreed timeline of not more than six months with both supervisors.

    Important Information

    Please note that this opportunity will not be financially remunerated. The purpose of the master’s thesis opportunity is not to lead to further employment at UNU-FLORES but to complement an applicant’s studies. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment after the completion of the master’s thesis. Also, please note that the medium of instruction at UNU-FLORES is English.

    Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


    Topics

    Framework for Functions in Building Sustainability Assessments

    The building sector serves several functions for a steadily increasing global population. Being a major contributor to environmental and social impacts, it needs to reevaluate how to provide these functions while becoming more sustainable. Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment methods are used to determine the social, economic, and environmental impacts of buildings or building products and materials. Moreover, the spatial (e.g., resource availability) and temporal dimensions (e.g., end-of-life) are considered. As a central point of reference, they define functional units.

    This thesis aims to review functional units (see Goldstein and Rasmussen 2018: 710) used in building sustainability assessment literature and map them in a framework. Taking the perspective of functionality across different building components and across different degrees of detail, the results shall allow the transition from incremental changes in singular functions to the identification of sustainability gains on a broader level.

    For more information regarding the topic, please reach out to hatzfeld@unu.edu.

    Supervisor: Tobias Hatzfeld, UNU-FLORES (hatzfeld@unu.edu)


    ELCITA – Master’s Thesis opportunities

    Water reuse in an industrial city: Survey Analysis 

    Water stress has increasingly affected regions worldwide due to the lack of available water resources, industrialisation and extreme weather conditions. At the same time, increased agricultural and industrial activities and urbanisation have led to the unsustainable discharge of wastewater into the environment. ELCITA is an industrial city comprised of about 250 companies from different sectors, such as IT, manufacturing, and service organisations. The lack of proper infrastructure and water availability has made it essential for ELCITA to find sustainable circular water-use solutions.

    In collaboration with the SMART-WaterDomain Project, companies are being surveyed for their practices and needs regarding water management and wastewater use and their perceptions of barriers to using wastewater in their processes. The SMART-WaterDomain Project aims to develop a decision-making tool for companies for smart and sustainable uptake of urban wastewater in industrial activities.

    This master’s thesis looks at company responses from an industrial city with minimal availability of fresh water, where the concept of industrial symbiosis is being explored. The objective of the thesis is to understand the companies’ needs and identify the main barriers and opportunities for water reuse within the industrial city. For the undertaken of the thesis, statistical analysis and qualitative case study methodology will be employed.

    For more information about the topic, please reach out to caucci@unu.edu or georgiou@unu.edu.

    Supervisors: Serena Caucci, UNU-FLORES (caucci@unu.edu), Isabella Georgiou, UNU-FLORES (georgiou@unu.edu)

    Focal Point: Subha Niranjan

    Projects: ELCITA, SMART-WaterDomain


    ELCITA – Master’s Thesis opportunities

    Circular approach to water use in industries: Current practices and sustainability outlook in the Indian context

    Water stress has increasingly affected regions worldwide due to the lack of available water resources, industrialisation and extreme weather conditions. At the same time, increased agricultural and industrial activities and urbanisation have led to the unsustainable discharge of wastewater into the environment. ELCITA is an industrial city comprised of about 250 companies from different sectors, such as IT, manufacturing, and service organisations. The lack of proper infrastructure and water availability has made it essential for ELCITA to find sustainable circular water-use solutions.

    In collaboration with the SMART-WaterDomain Project, companies are being surveyed for their practices and needs regarding water management and wastewater use and their perceptions of barriers to using wastewater in their processes. The SMART-WaterDomain Project aims to develop a decision-making tool for companies for smart and sustainable uptake of urban wastewater in industrial activities.

    This master’s thesis aims to assess the current practices in India regarding water circularity and sustainable transitions in industries and suggest solutions for the industrial city of ELCITA. For the undertaken of the thesis, a systematic literature review and qualitative analysis will be employed.

    For more information about the topic, please reach out to caucci@unu.edu or dziumla@unu.edu.

    Supervisors: Serena Caucci, UNU-FLORES (caucci@unu.edu), Juliane Dziumla, UNU-FLORES (dziumla@unu.edu)

    Focal Point: Subha Niranjan

    Projects: ELCITA, SMART-WaterDomain


    Background to the research opportunity

    An established research cooperation exists between MEFT, GIZ Biodiversity Economy in Selected Landscapes in Namibia Project and a consortium consisting of NUST BRC and UNU-FLORES. The primary objectives of this broader Research Project are to supervise, conduct and support the research needed to underpin Namibia’s approach and mainstream biodiversity economy. The Research Project further aims to strengthen Namibia’s interdisciplinary research landscape in biodiversity economy.

    Biodiversity loss is one of the most acute crises threatening human well-being. Many vital economic activities depend on biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services. For example, biodiversity forms a crucial basis for Namibia’s economy and livelihoods, where 70% of the population depend on biodiversity and natural resources. Thus, it is essential to enhance the sustainable use of biodiversity. In close collaboration, UNU-FLORES, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will support research and capacity building in the field of Biodiversity Economics in Namibia. We offer the following research topics and associated opportunities in keeping with our broader project objectives.

    Assessing the role of landscape and biodiversity in the Namibian film industry using value chain analysis to explore environmental and socio-economic impacts

    The vast and diverse Namibian landscape and a conducive climate offer numerous opportunities for local and international filmmakers and content producers. This project is framed by traditional value-chain analysis to unpack the social, economic, and environmental benefits and losses associated with the film industry in Namibia. Namibia has an iconic landscape that forms a visual backdrop across diverse media.

    The study should address the following key questions – What are the biodiversity features and essential landscape elements that underpin aspects of the film industry in Namibia? Who are the central actors in the Namibian film industry value chain? What are the social, economic, and environmental benefits and losses associated with the film industry in Namibia? What are the opportunities and obstacles to sustainably growing this biodiversity-related sector?

    This study will apply a value-chain analysis to reveal the biodiversity, landscape elements, and key associated actors along the value chain. This will entail a review of published and unpublished industry data and exploring monetary and nonmonetary benefits. The study will map out the industry and establish the flow of benefits across the value chain with particular attention to the Namibian landscape and its associated biodiversity.

    For more information regarding the topic, please reach out to Patrick O’Farrell ofarrell@unu.edu.

    Supervisors: Patrick O’Farrell, UNU-FLORES (ofarrell@unu.edu); Inonge Guillemin, UNU-FLORES (inonge.guillemin@unu.edu)


    Background to the research opportunity

    An established research cooperation exists between MEFT, GIZ Biodiversity Economy in Selected Landscapes in Namibia Project and a consortium consisting of NUST BRC and UNU-FLORES. The primary objectives of this broader Research Project are to supervise, conduct and support the research needed to underpin Namibia’s approach and mainstream biodiversity economy. The Research Project further aims to strengthen Namibia’s interdisciplinary research landscape in biodiversity economy.

    Biodiversity loss is one of the most acute crises threatening human well-being. Many vital economic activities depend on biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services. For example, biodiversity forms a crucial basis for Namibia’s economy and livelihoods, where 70% of the population depend on biodiversity and natural resources. Thus, it is essential to enhance the sustainable use of biodiversity. In close collaboration, UNU-FLORES, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will support research and capacity building in the field of Biodiversity Economics in Namibia. We offer the following research topics and associated opportunities in keeping with our broader project objectives.

    Eco-entrepreneurships and indigenous plant industry exploration in Namibia

    This project is framed by the notion of eco-entrepreneurship and seeks to understand what opportunities are available that can truly meet the goals of the eco-entrepreneur framework within the indigenous plant use industries in Namibia. Eco-entrepreneurship speaks to livelihood development but in a manner that is simultaneously sustainable. It is hoped that this work will support the growth of entrepreneurial activity and foster opportunities for entrepreneurial activity, particularly in the developing world context where poverty is prevalent and livelihoods opportunities are few, in a sustainable manner. The successful applicant will explore what indigenous plant products are currently under development or being marketed and expanded in Namibia. They will establish the policy context for this industry to understand policy constraints or assist eco-entrepreneurship opportunities. Once the industry and associated policy terrain have been scoped and described, the student should select one or more specific plant-based industries to undertake a detailed case study analysis. This analysis should be framed by the eco-entrepreneur concept and explore the industry adopting a cradle-to-grave approach to see where the industry meets or deviates from the concept and identify where alternative approaches might be adopted better meet livelihood and conservation mandates.

    The study should address the following key questions – To what degree are indigenous plant industries (or an industry) in Namibia fulfilling eco-entrepreneurship criteria? What are the supporting factors, and what are the barriers to eco-entrepreneurs emergence in this space?

    This project will require a top-down and a bottom-up approach. The first will require a detailed review of the policy environment to establish the governance framework within which eco-entrepreneurs operate. A detailed policy review will involve scoping local, regional, and international policies, laws, and agreements related to indigenous plant use. The bottom-up aspect will entail selecting a case study (an industry, a plant species, or an area of interest) and an in-depth development of the case.

    For more information regarding the topic, please reach out to Patrick O’Farrell ofarrell@unu.edu.

    Supervisors: Patrick O’Farrell, UNU-FLORES (ofarrell@unu.edu); Inonge Guillemin, UNU-FLORES (inonge.guillemin@unu.edu)


  • All applications should include:

    1. Completed and signed application form
    2. Letter of motivation
    3. Curriculum Vitae
    4. Copy of academic records related to master’s courses
    5. Proof of English proficiency

    Interested applicants should send their application material in one single PDF file to the respective thesis topic supervisor where available topics are advertised.

    Alternatively, students are also welcomed to propose their own thesis topic to a potential supervisor at UNU-FLORES. Please reach out directly to the experts according to the Institute’s research themes and/or analytical perspectives.

  • Application Form: Master Thesis

    (164.6 KB PDF)