PEGO is looking for students doing their MA or BA thesis on one of the following issues:
Analysis of Swiss energy policy instruments: Actor coalitions over time. The decarbonization of the energy sector is a central issue in fighting climate change. Policy instruments can foster such a decarbonization. Such instruments should ideally persist over time in order to deploy their effects, but they also need to be capable of adapting to the inherent dynamics of technological change in this domain. We are looking for a Master student with a strong interest in Swiss climate and energy policy. The MA thesis is expected to cover the analysis of a given policy in the Swiss energy sector over time (several years to a decade). From a methodological point of view, the thesis should rely on Discourse Network Analysis (DNA) in order to reveal the positions and arguments of the most central political actors with respect to the design of such policy instruments. Potential topics are the feed-in tariffs or CO2 taxation, but other relevant and long-term policies can also be analyzed. A comparison with data from Germany is also possible. The thesis will be co-directed by Manuel Fischer (Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance group at Eawag and University of Bern) and the Energy Politics Group at ETH Zurich.
Survey and appraisal of data management practices in the Swiss urban drainage management landscape: Switzerland invests up to CHF 1.2 billion annually in the maintenance of its current sewer system, primarily on the basis of the evaluated sewer condition. The evaluation is done by recording a video, watching the video, manually reporting the detected defects and estimating an overall condition score. Throughout this process there is a high degree of subjectivity and uncertainty, which leads to incomparable and non-reproducible results. In addition, often data are stored insufficiently due to limited time, financial resources, skills or clear ideas about their use for future applications, creating difficulties in accessing and using the information. Inadequate data quality and management hampers more advanced asset management solutions. When sewer inspection data become better curated, new opportunities for advanced asset management can be devised and contribute to extend the service life of infrastructure assets and move from mainly reactive to more predictive decision making. The main goal of this thesis is to assess the current data management practices applied in the field of sewer infrastructure asset management throughout Switzerland and identify ways to facilitate data-driven asset management.
Governance of alluvial plains: The governance of alluvial plains is complex. Different organizations from the public sector, civil society and private firms with different responsibilites and preferences interact in and around alluvial plains. Further, the governance of alluvial plains involves a host of interdependent issues, which have to be balanced. Mostly, these issues revolves around questions of flood management, nature protection and agricultural production. In a project led by Manuel Fischer at Eawag we utilize social-ecological network models to understand the governance of alluvial plains and identify crucial factors for successful governance. To do so, we compare 10-12 alluvial plains throughout Switzerland. The master thesis will include working with us within the project and the responsibility for gathering data (mostly through stakeholder interviews) and a thorough analysis of one or more cases. We offen a nice and active working environment within our project team, the possibility to work in an exciting new research field, and close supervision of the thesis work. Depending on the interest of the master student, employment as a scientific assistant at Eawag in Dübendorf is possible. We specifically look for a French-speaking person who is interested in environmental topics. If beavers, federalism, residual flows, and policy do not sound completely foreign to you, we would be excited to hear from you.
Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Water) in Switzerland: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Eleven of the 17 goals concern the environment. Among those eleven, SDG 6 is specific to the resource water and aims at “ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. Responsibilities in Switzerland for implementing and reporting on this multi-facetted and broad issue are distributed among different state agencies (agency for development, agency for the environment ). Furthermore, the process involves a variety of non-governmental actors, scientific institutions, and NGOs. This Master thesis should assess a. the broad landscape of public and private actors, their concrete responsibilities and competences in implementing SDG 6 in Switzerland; and b. evaluate the potential mechanisms of evidence-based policy-making and science-policy transfer, that is, evaluate where and how politics pull for evidence, and where science and practice push for bringing evidence into politics.
Policy processes on renewable energy policies in Denmark and Germany: The MA thesis is expected to analyze the development of renewable energy policies in Denmark (wind) and/or Germany (photovoltaic) and the related policy processes. The study should take on a long-term perspective, and will thus cover at least two decades, and several, subsequent policy processes and will be based on existing literature and the analysis of policy document (as well as potential expert interviews).
Formal and informal networks in sanitation regulation in India: The task of the MA student will be to conduct a stakeholder and network analysis of the regulation of specific sanitation sites in two Indian states, as a part of a bigger Eawag project. The task includes the identification of the actors involved in the regulation of small-scale sanitation systems, the visualization and analysis of their networks, and the comparison of formal and informal structures of responsibilities. The prospective student will spend around two months in the field and is expected to deliver a report to the Eawag project.
Environmental Protection on municipality level: Together with the organization PUSCH, the chair of PEGO at the University of Bern organizes an MA thesis about the issue of actors’ network related to environmental protection on the local level. At the municipality level, there exists a wide array of projects dealing with issues such as biodiversity or energy consumption. Questions arise asking about whom is well integrated in such local networks, whom is participating in them and whose is rather located at their periphery.