- PROJECT STATUS :
2020/10/08 Dresden, Germany
By Ying Liu
On 23 September 2020, UNU-FLORES doctoral candidate, Thuy Hoang Nguyen, successfully defended her thesis titled “Optimisation of Water Quality Monitoring Network Design Considering Compliance Criterion and Trade-offs between Monitoring Information and Costs”, which was graded magna cum laude.
In adapting to the current COVID-19 situation, the defence was held in a hybrid (online/in-person) format, and was evaluated by a Dissertation Committee consisting of Prof. Peter Krebs (TU Dresden), Prof. Nguyen Xuan Thinh (TU Dortmund), and Prof. Edeltraud Guenther (UNU-FLORES) on-site, with Prof. Hiroshan Hettiarachchi (formerly UNU-FLORES) joining remotely. The live-streamed defence was also attended by over twenty colleagues and members of the public.
Dr Nguyen began the defence by delivering a comprehensive presentation about her research, which was then followed by a detailed discussion led by the Dissertation Committee.
A doctoral student in the Joint PhD Programme of UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden, Dr Nguyen came from Vietnam to begin her journey in October 2015, under the shared supervision of Prof. Peter Krebs and Prof. Hiroshan Hettiarachchi. Focusing on the Integrated Management of Water, Soil, and Waste, this PhD Programme is the first one addressing integrated resources management in a holistic way and is a key element of the strategic partnership between UNU-FLORES and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden).
Dr Nguyen’s dissertation project focuses on water quality monitoring (WQM) which is crucial for managing and protecting riverine ecosystems. Adopting Freiberger Mulde river basin in eastern Germany as a case study, the project aims to optimise river WQM network design, based on compliance criteria and the trade-off between monitoring network and monitoring expenses through identifying the commonly used methods and boundary conditions for accessing and designing of WQM networks in rivers.
In Dr Nguyen’s research, she points out that variability in river water quality (WQ) is mainly caused by weathering process, historical mining, wastewater discharges, and seasonality. Under the current situation, preserving WQ variables appears to be more economical than preserving sites. She also emphasises the need for a more nexus-oriented research on water, waste, and land management to improve the water quality in the Freiberger Mulde river basin.
Following her well-received defence, the joint degree certificate of UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden was awarded to Dr Nguyen, who in addition to her research project, also successfully completed the required coursework on the concepts of the Water-Soil-Waste Nexus.
Nguyen, Thuy Hoang, Björn Helm, Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, Serena Caucci, and Peter Krebs. 2019. ‘The Selection of Design Methods for River Water Quality Monitoring Networks: A Review’. Environmental Earth Sciences 78 (3): 96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-019-8110-x.
Nguyen, Thuy Hoang, Björn Helm, Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, Serena Caucci, and Peter Krebs. 2020. ‘Quantifying the Information Content of a Water Quality Monitoring Network Using Principal Component Analysis: A Case Study of the Freiberger Mulde River Basin, Germany’. Water 12 (2): 420. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020420.