Applications are accepted all year round (see Application Procedure).
United Nations University (UNU) was established in 1973 and is comprised of research institutes and programmes in 12 countries around the world. UNU is a research-oriented think tank addressing the needs of the UN System and its Member States, serving as a bridge to the academic world and offers postgraduate training and education programmes at various levels.
The Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) is one of Germany’s Universities of Excellence and one of the top universities in Europe. As a modern comprehensive, multidisciplinary university, TU Dresden unites the natural and engineering sciences with the humanities and social sciences, as well as medicine. The broad and diverse scientific spectrum seeks to help promote interdisciplinarity and integration of science and society.
The Joint PhD Programme established at the United Nations University Institute for the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at TU Dresden is one of the select doctoral programmes UNU currently offers.
The main objective of this doctoral programme is to provide graduate students with detailed knowledge, critical understanding, strategies, and tools to take an interdisciplinary and integrated approach towards the management of environmental resources.
The Joint PhD Programme aims at creating a new generation of environmental scientists, engineers, and managers to conduct, promote, and provide guidance on the sustainable management of environmental resources. These resources and their sustainable management are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States, particularly to developing countries and emerging economies.
The Joint PhD Programme of TU Dresden and UNU, launched in 2015, is embedded within UNU-FLORES’s nexus-oriented research agenda and the corresponding research interests at TU Dresden. The established doctoral research projects, co-supervised by researchers from UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden, are designed to reflect nexus thinking on particular problems of environmental resources management.
UNU taps on its research to inform policymaking and promote positive global change. The work of all UNU institutes contributes to the advancement of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to inspire global action to overcome the world’s biggest challenges. In line with the mission of UNU, policy relevance is a decisive feature or the research conducted at UNU-FLORES, and therefore also the research conducted by doctoral researchers.
While each individual doctoral research project must have a clear focus – preferably associated to a case study in a particular country – it must also be framed within the broad picture of integrated resources management as part of the Resource Nexus. The latter aims to connect the generation of evidence-based scientific knowledge to (adapted) management and policies, thus addressing also public services and associated risks.
Due to the focus on integrated management of environmental resources, UNU-FLORES’s research is mainly – but not exclusively – relevant for:
Research projects may address these issues from various perspectives in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary manner, using a broad range of approaches and methods and building on a diverse set of both quantitative and qualitative data. Typically, our research projects – including doctoral research – are implemented with partners in respective Member States or from international organisations, universities, and research institutions.
The programme is the first international doctoral programme addressing integrated resources management in a truly holistic way. Prospective students are expected to come from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. To ensure that students have an evenly-matched starting point, and to introduce the basic concepts of the Resource Nexus, the programme comprises of 35 course credits (see Courses) in addition to 175 dissertation credits. The total of 210 credits span over seven semesters. The credits are defined in terms of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
All coursework is science-based and all courses require basic knowledge in physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics at undergraduate level. In addition, the courses also require basic knowledge in the social sciences. Courses are offered by academic staff at both universities. In line with UNU-FLORES’s research agenda (see Research) and a matching research agenda of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, research topics for doctoral dissertations are focused on solving current challenges related to the Resource Nexus.
Doctoral dissertations are co-supervised by advisors from both universities. Successfully graduating students receive a joint degree certificate.
The doctoral programme is tuition-free. However, students are responsible to enrol themselves with TU Dresden and are required to pay a semester contribution each semester. Included is access to TU Dresden facilities and services and a ticket for public transport and nextbike, a bike-sharing company in Dresden. The contribution also entitles students to various perks such as discounts at the university cafeterias and for many cultural and leisure activities in Dresden. Applicants are responsible for covering the costs of living and other expenses related to their stay in Dresden. To cover all costs of living, secured funding is to range between 1,200 and 1,600 euros per month (see FAQ).
Therefore, the respective applicants must include in their application a proof of funding to satisfy step 1 of the Application Procedure. In case there are any restrictions on the research themes as imposed by the respective sponsors, this should be explained in the letter of motivation (see step 2 of the Application Procedure). It is understood that any such restrictions would still fall within the scope of UNU-FLORES’s and TU Dresden’s research programme. Letters of admission will only be issued upon admission to the programme with secured funding.
If the medium of instruction of previous university degrees is English, please provide the supporting evidence (see Application Form).
Applicants are invited to submit a completed and signed application form and a proof of funding to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that secured third-party funding from individual scholarships or from governmental organisations must be provided for the entire duration of the programme (36 months). Applications without a proof of funding will not be considered. Please note that only selected candidates will be invited to move forward to step 2.
Only once step 1 will be cleared, applicants will be invited to submit the following application documents:
Applicants should send their application material in one single PDF file to email@example.com.
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
The doctoral programme includes mandatory and elective courses. The courses can be further categorised into thematic courses (to be taken in the first and second semester) and methodological courses. In addition, students have the opportunity to take courses at the Graduate Academy of TU Dresden. Courses and workshops offered in the framework of the Graduate Academy are of short duration (typically 1–2 days) and without credits.
Students devote the first semester to learning the basic concepts of the Resource Nexus and the important aspects of Governance and Capacity Development in addition to two other courses that will help improve the skills necessary to conduct their research. Doctoral researchers start working on their research topics during the first semester. In terms of credits, half of the second semester is again course-based while the other half is devoted to preparation of the final dissertation proposal and defence. In agreement with the supervisors, doctoral researchers can choose additional courses focusing on specific skills required for their research topics. From the third semester onwards, doctoral candidates concentrate fully on research. In most cases, this involves some months of field work and stays abroad accordingly in collaboration with partner institutions. This is defined on a case-by-case basis.
For further questions related to the Joint PhD Programme, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.