Rethinking Infrastructure Design for Multi-use Water Services

Application Procedure

    The aim of this course is to provide participants with an understanding of the goals and elements of urban water infrastructure systems, technical options for wastewater treatment and stormwater management. The course will draw on international case studies that emphasise the importance of adopting multiple-use perspectives in planning and implementing water and wastewater projects. The role of pricing and costing of infrastructure projects will be discussed to highlight NEXUS approaches to management of water, soil and waste resources.

    “The course was very useful and beyond my expectations. The lectures were very useful and provided new viewpoints on water supply problems”
    (2015 course participant)

    Blended Learning Platform - Online Courses

    Blended Learning Platform – Online Courses


    The United Nations University (UNU) was established in 1973 and currently encompasses 13 Research Institutes and Programmes located in 12 countries around the world. Through a problem-oriented and transdisciplinary approach, UNU targets policy-relevant research, education and capacity development that aims to develop sustainable solutions to pressing global problems of human survival and development.

    The United Nations University Institute for the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) offers online courses that are hosted on the Blended Learning Platform. These online courses will be integrated into the Nexus Observatory, a flagship initiative of the institute. The Nexus Observatory will serve as an online platform for consolidating and translating science into relevant information and evidence, which will empower decision makers to develop strategies, policies as well as environmental resources management planning and implementation frameworks.

    Brochure: Nexus Observatory (Online Courses)


    NexOb_OnlineCourses_GeneralInfo_img1The main objective of online courses hosted on the Blended Learning Platform, is to provide decision makers, practitioners and students with an interest in the planning and management of environmental resources with access to relevant knowledge. Participants anywhere in the world are able to address capacity development needs, learn at their own convenience and develop new skills on how to apply the acquired knowledge in practice.

    The UNU-FLORES online course programme took place for the first time in 2015. Participants came from all parts of the world and sectors:

    'Geographical background of 2015 participants' (left) and 'Type of organisation where 2015 participants were employed' (right)

    ‘Geographical background of 2015 participants’ (left) and ‘Type of organisation where 2015 participants were employed’ (right)

    About the Programme

    In 2016, three online courses considering the NEXUS approach from different methodological perspectives will be delivered through the Blended Learning Platform. UNU-FLORES online courses run for a period of 12 weeks (study load: 130 hours) and are divided into three modules with three lectures per module. In addition to lecture videos, course participants will be provided with a complementary textbook.

    Throughout the online course, participants will prepare four assignments (see the Blended Learning Platform Brochure for more information) that will form a portfolio. The portfolio serves as a testimony of participants’ learning. Upon successful completion (having received at least a pass grade for all assignments), participants will be awarded a certificate at the end of the course. No certificates of participation will be issued.

  • If you are interested in one of the online courses offered by UNU-FLORES and meet the requirements specified in the admissions section, please submit your application using the link below no later than 2 September 2016.

    **Applications now closed

  • For whom

    This course is designed for decision makers, practitioners, professionals and students who want to develop their knowledge in planning and management of environmental resources. The course will be particularly useful to participants involved in or affected by policy-making planning processes and/or management of environmental resources.

    “I think I am now able to identify measures and options to apply (multi-use water services) concepts to specific cases, particularly in my country.”
    (2015 course participant)


    • Start: 19 September 2016 – End: 11 December 2016
    • Course fee: $250 (includes cost of the textbook and mailing of DVDs containing course lectures)

    Admission Criteria

    • MA/MSc in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences or other closely related fields
    • Good command of the English language
    • Work experience related to management of environmental resources – water, soil and/or waste; experience with local government/non-governmental agencies and think tanks in developing/emerging economies would be an asset

    Technical Requirements

    Delivery of online courses and submission of assessments will take place through the Blended Learning Platform. Participants should have access to an internet connection that is stable enough to support the following: upload of assessments (Word, PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.), correspondence with tutor (this will be done predominantly using e-mail, but may also include the use of the Blended Learning Platform discussion board or face-to-face interactions using applications such as Skype).


    Discounts on course fees for online courses hosted on the Blended Learning Platform apply to the following:

    • 25% for UN Staff
    • 30% for UNU-FLORES Alumni and previous online course participants
    • 30% for group applications by an organization sponsoring the enrolment of 3 or more participants


    Payments of online course fees will be done by bank transfer. Upon successful application, participants will be given details for payment of course fees. A participant will be fully enrolled in the course, when all fees have been paid before the deadline specified by the course administrator.

  • Learning objectives

    Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

    • Identify available measures and options to apply the multi-use water services paradigm
    • Understand main concepts and techniques related to multi-use water services
    • Understand methods of planning that advance multi-use water services based on an analysis of case studies
    • Identify policy challenges related to the application of the multi-use water services paradigm

    Course content

    The course consists of three parts:

    • Introduction to rethinking infrastructure design for multi-use water services
    • Main options for applying the multi-use water services paradigm
    • Case studies illustrating multi-use water services options

    Total study load: 130 hours

    Course assessment

    Throughout the course, participants are asked to submit a number of assignments, which will form a portfolio. Portfolio items include a literature review, short paper, policy memos, presentation and portfolio review. Participants may also test their knowledge by completing non-graded multiple-choice questions. To be able to create high quality portfolios, participants must organise, synthesise and clearly describe their learning outcomes and effectively communicate what they have learnt. The final portfolio, besides being a testimony of a gradual process of learning for the individual participant, could also possess outputs for stakeholder groups involved in the development of research ideas or topics, creating links to the UNU-FLORES Nexus Observatory.

    Course participants will be evaluated based on the results of the different assignments. The portfolio will constitute the final assessment. Participants who submit assignments and successfully meet the grading criteria will receive a certificate from UNU-FLORES. No certificates of participation will be issued.

  • All inquiries about the online courses should be addressed to: