Master’s Thesis Opportunity


Master’s students enrolled at any university worldwide are eligible to apply. Master’s students enrolled at TU Dresden are invited to visit the section Joint Junior Researcher Programme (Master’s Thesis).


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.


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.


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.


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 or

Supervisors: Serena Caucci, UNU-FLORES (, Juliane Dziumla, UNU-FLORES (

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.

Topic 1 – 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

Supervisors: Patrick O’Farrell, UNU-FLORES (; Inonge Guillemin, UNU-FLORES (

Topic 2 – 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

Supervisors: Patrick O’Farrell, UNU-FLORES (; Inonge Guillemin, UNU-FLORES (

A socio-ecological multiscale sustainability analysis of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture (UPA) and application of Nexus management options to reduce vulnerabilities 


 Considering the extent to which disruptions in the global supply chain can impact food security (as has been the case following pandemics or conflicts in significant productions areas), a dependency on a long-distance supply chain for food can be problematic. Local food production can reduce the vulnerability stemming from such disruptions. This project intends to investigate the potential for Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture (UPA) development to create benefits and trade-offs for socioeconomic sustainability at regional levels while mitigating the effects of current and future disturbances, including armed conflict and climate change. The study focuses on Latin America (specifically Colombia),and aims to perform a multiscale sustainability assessment on regional UPAs to explore avenues for the development of a new economic business model that incorporates sustainable resource management. The research is to be conducted at the smallholder level and is to address questions related to the socio-ecological and economic impacts of UPA at the regional level.

The expected outcomes of the project include:

  1. To produce new knowledge and contribute to the sustainable development of UPAs.
  2. To contribute to enhanced food security and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  
  3. To contribute to the advancement of the socio-ecological and economic factors that increase the resilience of cities. 

Topic 1:  Socio-ecological assessment to evaluate the current state of sustainability on Urban and peri urban agriculture 

This Master‘s thesis shall examine the challenges, benefits, and issues of the socio-ecological aspects of UPA. The project should address the following key questions:

  1. How can peri-urban food production develop sustainablywhile prioritising the progress and resilience of familial farming communities?
  2. Which drivers facilitate the socio-ecological conditions within UPAs at the community level?
  3. What are the socio-ecological challenges and drivers that impact  vulnerability in UPA?  

As part of the research for this thesis, a database of rural areas shall be analysed; the data pertaining to agriculture, biodiversity perspective, security (post-conflict), access to water, and gender is to be interpreted. A draft of a new survey of the urban area will be produced. 

Topic 2: Economic assessment for the definition of UPA sustainability in Rural Areas of Colombia 

The project will assess the economic sustainability status of two rural regions of Colombia via UPA’s multiscale sustainability analysis. A sustainability indicator that considered the relevant socioeconomic variables will be generated and then tested in one of the two study areas to develop potential economic scenarios to facilitate new business models within the UPA systems of the region. The objective of this thesis is to develop a composite sustainability index for the potential use by regional development governments to foster Innovative UPA systems with a high degree of sustainability. The successful candidate shall be required to design a survey and collect field data through interactions with an established network in Colombia. 

  • Spanish language proficiency is crucial to this research.
  • Sound knowledge of economic principles and sustainable development would be of advantage. 

For more information regarding the topic or theses, please reach out to Serena Caucci (caucci@unu.eduJairo Guzman ( 

Application Procedure

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)