Department Environmental Social Sciences

Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO)


Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold Group leader, Cluster: PEGO Tel. +41 58 765 5676 Send Mail
Dr. Manuel Fischer Head of Department ESS & Group leader PEGO Tel. +41 58 765 5676 Send Mail

Social Media

Research in the cluster Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO) is driven by current complex environmental and societal challenges. These include the integration of different aspects of water resource management; the drivers and impacts of climate change; and the transition toward a clean energy system.

We utilize policy process theories, institutional analysis and multi-level governance frameworks to study a wide variety of substantial issues. Typical examples are innovative and effective policy design, instrument choice under uncertainty, and the integration of actors from different spatial scales or levels and stages of the policy process.

We adopt a strong methodological focus on approaches that analyze and model social networks. We combine these approaches with other quantitative and qualitative methods such as discourse analysis, qualitative comparative analysis and multicriteria decision analysis.

PEGO holds an affiliation to the Chair of Environmental Policy Analysis at the University of Bern.


We investigate the implementation of different policy instruments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, through a detailed analysis of international climate conferences.
This project disentangles the complexity of climate policy making by analyzing and comparing different climate networks in Switzerland and Germany
Dieses Projekt entwickelt eine interdisziplinäre Theorie zu den Faktoren, die in einem Mehrebenensystem, die dazu beitragen, dass Staaten auf den internationalen Klimaverhandlungen gemachten Versprechen einhalten und im Rahmen nationaler Regulierung umsetzen.
Social-ecological networks for biodiversity enrichment in Human dominated landscapes.
Sustainable transformation of the Swiss agriculture to internalized negative external effects of pesticide use.
The Political Economy of Meat System Transformation
Ausgetrocknete Emme unterhalb der Emme-Birne bei Aefligen in der Trockenperiode 2018
Conservation and restoration of biodiversity in water bodies to strengthen their resilience to climate change through integrated water body restoration
Social-ecological networks to enhance biodiversity in urban green areas
Efficient Technical Cycles project analyses potential future transition of the construction sector towards more sustainable techniques, materials, methods and procedures
Preferences of Swiss households for renewable energy supply systems and demand-side flexibility options

Past projects

Local climate change adaptation strategies
Impact of distant socio-ecological systems (telecoupling) on land-use decision-making
What are the biggest obstacles to a better surface water protection during wet-weather? an inter- and trans-disciplinary research project, studying environmental, health and institutional dimensions of pesticide use in tropical settings
Social-ecological networks allow for the joint modeling of ecological interdependencies and governance structure.
Digitalization is one of the most popular trends in public sector relying on information and communication technologies, internet of things, big data, sensor networks and artificial intelligence.
Ausgetrocknete Emme unterhalb der Emme-Birne bei Aefligen in der Trockenperiode 2018
Conservation and restoration of biodiversity in water bodies to strengthen their resilience to climate change through integrated water body restoration


Prof. Dr. Karin Ingold Group leader, Cluster: PEGO Tel. +41 58 765 5676 Send Mail
Dr. Manuel Fischer Head of Department ESS & Group leader PEGO Tel. +41 58 765 5676 Send Mail
Dr. Ueli Reber Postdoctoral Researcher Tel. +41 58 765 5671 Send Mail
Natascha Zinn Tel. +41 58 765 6841 Send Mail
Dr. Francine van den Brandeler Postdoctoral fellow Tel. +41 58 765 5120 Send Mail
Dr. Tural Aliyev Postdoctoral Researcher Tel. +41 58 765 5669 Send Mail

Former Team Members

Nadja Kunz
Philip Leifeld
Eva Lieberherr
Laurence Brandenberger
Laura Herzog
Mert Duygan
Florence Metz
Mario Angst
Lorenz Kammermann
Maria Gallmann
Anik Glaus
Fadri Crameri
Diane Porcellana
Simon Maag
Alexander Widmer


Publications 2023

Angst, M.; Huber, M. N. (2023) Who is satisfied with their inclusion in polycentric sustainability governance? Networks, power, and procedural justice in Swiss wetlands, Policy Studies Journal, doi:10.1111/psj.12515, Institutional Repository
Bryner, A.; Fischer, M.; Vollenweider, S. (2023) Wasserpolitischer Jahresrückblick 2022, Aqua & Gas, 103(5), 70-80, Institutional Repository
Duygan, M.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2023) Assessing the readiness of municipalities for digital process innovation, Technology in Society, 72, 102179 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102179, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Duygan, M.; Manny, L.; Pakizer, K. (2023) Actor networks in urban water governance, In: Bolognesi, T.; Silva Pinto, F.; Farrelly, M. (Eds.), Routledge handbook of urban water governance, 243-256, doi:10.4324/9781003057574-21, Institutional Repository
Hofmann, B.; Ingold, K.; Stamm, C.; Ammann, P.; Eggen, R. I. L.; Finger, R.; Fuhrimann, S.; Lienert, J.; Mark, J.; McCallum, C.; Probst-Hensch, N.; Reber, U.; Tamm, L.; Wiget, M.; Winkler, M. S.; Zachmann, L.; Hoffmann, S. (2023) Barriers to evidence use for sustainability: insights from pesticide policy and practice, Ambio, 52(2), 425-439, doi:10.1007/s13280-022-01790-4, Institutional Repository
Huber, M. N.; Fischer, M.; Egli, N. (2023) Cross‐sectoral information and actors' contact networks in natural resource governance in the Swiss Alps, Environmental Policy and Governance, 33(44), 411-422, doi:10.1002/eet.2036, Institutional Repository
Janz, J.; Binz, C.; Fischer, M.; Hänggli, A. (2023) Paradigmenwechsel im Gewässerschutz. Illustriert durch die Wasser-Timeline der Schweiz, Aqua & Gas, 103(1), 64-68, Institutional Repository
Josi, D.; Seehausen, O.; Wegscheider, B.; Waldock, C.; Calegari, B.; Zinn, N.; Ingold, K.; Neuhaus, M.; Aeschlimann, A.; Fischer, M. (2023) Biodiversitätsverlust der Gewässer stoppen, Aqua & Gas, 103(9), 66-67, Institutional Repository
Molné, F.; Donati, G. F. A.; Bolliger, J.; Fischer, M.; Maurer, M.; Bach, P. M. (2023) Supporting the planning of urban blue-green infrastructure for biodiversity: a multi-scale prioritisation framework, Journal of Environmental Management, 342, 118069 (12 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118069, Institutional Repository
Montfort, S.; Fischer, M.; Hollway, J.; Jager, N. W. (2023) Design paths of federal intergovernmental cooperation, Policy Studies Journal, 51(4), 773-792, doi:10.1111/psj.12498, Institutional Repository
Pakizer, K.; Lieberherr, E.; Farrelly, M.; Bach, P. M.; Saurí, D.; March, H.; Hacker, M.; Binz, C. (2023) Policy sequencing for early-stage transition dynamics - a process model and comparative case study in the water sector, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 48, 100730 (20 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.eist.2023.100730, Institutional Repository
Reber, U.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M. (2023) The role of actors' issue and sector specialization for policy integration in the parliamentary arena: an analysis of Swiss biodiversity policy using text as data, Policy Sciences, 56, 95-114, doi:10.1007/s11077-022-09490-2, Institutional Repository
Trein, P.; Fischer, M.; Maggetti, M.; Sarti, F. (2023) Empirical research on policy integration: a review and new directions, Policy Sciences, 59, 29-48, doi:10.1007/s11077-022-09489-9, Institutional Repository
Varone, F.; Ingold, K. (2023) Switzerland, public policy in, In: van Gerven, M.; Rothmayr Allison, C.; Schubert, K. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of public policy, (10 pp.), doi:10.1007/978-3-030-90434-0_54-1, Institutional Repository
Wiedemann, R.; Inauen, J. (2023) Identifying determinants of pesticide use behaviors for effective agri-environmental policies: a systematic review, Environmental Research Letters, 18(4), 043001 (18 pp.), doi:10.1088/1748-9326/acbe51, Institutional Repository

Publications 2022

Duygan, M.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2023) Assessing the readiness of municipalities for digital process innovation, Technology in Society, 72, 102179 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102179, Institutional Repository
Kammerer, M.; Ingold, K.; Dupuis, J. (2021) Switzerland. International commitments and domestic drawbacks, In: Climate governance across the globe. Pioneers, leaders and followers, 235-256, doi:10.4324/9781003014249-16, Institutional Repository
Huber, M. N.; Fischer, M.; Egli, N. (2023) Cross‐sectoral information and actors' contact networks in natural resource governance in the Swiss Alps, Environmental Policy and Governance, 33(44), 411-422, doi:10.1002/eet.2036, Institutional Repository
Manny, L. (2022) Socio-technical challenges towards smart urban water systems, 200 p, doi:10.3929/ethz-b-000578852, Institutional Repository
Huber, M. N. (2022) How the qualities of actor-issue interdependencies influence collaboration patterns, Ecology and Society, 27(4), 6 (14 pp.), doi:10.5751/ES-13536-270406, Institutional Repository
Hofmann, B.; Ingold, K.; Stamm, C.; Ammann, P.; Eggen, R. I. L.; Finger, R.; Fuhrimann, S.; Lienert, J.; Mark, J.; McCallum, C.; Probst-Hensch, N.; Reber, U.; Tamm, L.; Wiget, M.; Winkler, M. S.; Zachmann, L.; Hoffmann, S. (2023) Barriers to evidence use for sustainability: insights from pesticide policy and practice, Ambio, 52(2), 425-439, doi:10.1007/s13280-022-01790-4, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Duygan, M.; Manny, L.; Pakizer, K. (2023) Actor networks in urban water governance, In: Bolognesi, T.; Silva Pinto, F.; Farrelly, M. (Eds.), Routledge handbook of urban water governance, 243-256, doi:10.4324/9781003057574-21, Institutional Repository
van den Brandeler, F. (2022) Scalar mismatches in metropolitan water governance. A comparative study of São Paulo and Mexico City, 283 p, doi:10.1007/978-3-031-08061-6, Institutional Repository
Pakizer, K.; Fischer, M.; Lieberherr, E. (2022) Entrepreneurial strategies for transformative change: an application to grassroots movements for sustainable urban water systems, Journal of Cleaner Production, 375, 134003 (13 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.134003, Institutional Repository
Späti, K.; Huber, R.; Logar, I.; Finger, R. (2022) Incentivizing the adoption of precision agricultural technologies in small‐scaled farming systems: a choice experiment approach, Journal of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, 1(3), 236-253, doi:10.1002/jaa2.22, Institutional Repository
Pärli, R.; Fischer, M.; Lieberherr, E. (2022) What are the effects of transdisciplinary research projects in the global North and South? A comparative analysis, Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 100180 (15 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.crsust.2022.100180, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Maag, S. (2022) Actors in forums: work input and different types of benefits, Journal of Public Policy, 42(3), 573-592, doi:10.1017/S0143814X22000022, Institutional Repository
Lieberherr, E.; Ingold, K. (2022) Public, private, or inter-municipal organizations: actors’ preferences in the Swiss water sector, Sustainability, 14(13), 7560 (12 pp.), doi:10.3390/su14137560, Institutional Repository
Manny, L.; Angst, M.; Rieckermann, J.; Fischer, M. (2022) Socio-technical networks of infrastructure management: network concepts and motifs for studying digitalization, decentralization, and integrated management, Journal of Environmental Management, 318, 115596 (14 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115596, Institutional Repository
Huber, M. N.; Angst, M.; Fischer, M. (2022) Multi-level network dataset of ten Swiss wetlands governance cases based on qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys, Data in Brief, 43, 108401 (10 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.dib.2022.108401, Institutional Repository
Donati, G. F. A.; Bolliger, J.; Psomas, A.; Maurer, M.; Bach, P. M. (2022) Reconciling cities with nature: Identifying local Blue-Green Infrastructure interventions for regional biodiversity enhancement, Journal of Environmental Management, 316, 115254 (14 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115254, Institutional Repository
Wiedemann, R. (2022) To intervene or not to intervene: potential for targeted pesticide policy in Uganda, Environmental Science and Policy, 129, 168-178, doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2022.01.003, Institutional Repository
Duygan, M.; Fischer, M.; Pärli, R.; Ingold, K. (2022) Where do smart cities grow? The spatial and socio-economic configurations of smart city development, Sustainable Cities and Society, 77, 103578 (12 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.scs.2021.103578, Institutional Repository
Reber, U.; Fischer, M.; Ingold, K.; Kienast, F.; Hersperger, A. M.; Grütter, R.; Benz, R. (2022) Integrating biodiversity: a longitudinal and cross-sectoral analysis of Swiss politics, Policy Sciences, 55, 311-335, doi:10.1007/s11077-022-09456-4, Institutional Repository

Publications 2021

Duygan, M.; Kachi, A.; Oliveira, T. D.; Rinscheid, A. (2021) Introducing the Endowment-Practice-Institutions (EPI) framework for studying agency in the institutional contestation of socio-technical regimes, Journal of Cleaner Production, 296, 126396 (13 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.126396, Institutional Repository
Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Christopoulos, D. (2021) The roles actors play in policy networks: central positions in strongly institutionalized fields, Network Science, 9(2), 213-235, doi:10.1017/nws.2021.1, Institutional Repository
Brandenberger, L.; Angst, M. (2021) Information exchange in governance networks - who brokers across political divides?, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 35(2), 585-608, doi:10.1111/gove.12601, Institutional Repository
Pärli, R.; Fischer, M.; Lieberherr, E. (2021) Information exchange networks among actors for the implementation of SDGs, Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 3, 100049 (14 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.crsust.2021.100049, Institutional Repository
Glaus, A.; Wiedemann, R.; Brandenberger, L. (2022) Toward sustainable policy instruments: assessing instrument selection among policy actors, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 65(9), 1708-1726, doi:10.1080/09640568.2021.1944847, Institutional Repository
Herzog, L.; Ingold, K.; Schlager, E. (2022) Prescribed by law and therefore realized? Analyzing rules and their implied actor interactions as networks, Policy Studies Journal, 50(2), 366-386, doi:10.1111/psj.12448, Institutional Repository
Wiedemann, R.; Ingold, K. (2022) Solving cross-sectoral policy problems: adding a cross-sectoral dimension to assess policy performance, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 24(5), 526-539, doi:10.1080/1523908X.2021.1960809, Institutional Repository
Trencher, G.; Truong, N.; Temocin, P.; Duygan, M. (2021) Top-down sustainability transitions in action: how do incumbent actors drive electric mobility diffusion in China, Japan, and California?, Energy Research and Social Science, 79, 102184 (28 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.erss.2021.102184, Institutional Repository
Hileman, J. D.; Angst, M.; Scott, T. A.; Sundström, E. (2021) Recycled text and risk communication in natural gas pipeline environmental impact assessments, Energy Policy, 156, 112379 (12 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112379, Institutional Repository
Stutzer, R.; Rinscheid, A.; Oliveira, T. D.; Loureiro, P. M.; Kachi, A.; Duygan, M. (2021) Black coal, thin ice: the discursive legitimisation of Australian coal in the age of climate change, Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8, 178 (9 pp.), doi:10.1057/s41599-021-00827-5, Institutional Repository
Manny, L.; Duygan, M.; Fischer, M.; Rieckermann, J. (2021) Barriers to the digital transformation of infrastructure sectors, Policy Sciences, 54, 943-983, doi:10.1007/s11077-021-09438-y, Institutional Repository
Angst, M.; Mewhirter, J.; McLaughlin, D.; Fischer, M. (2022) Who joins a forum - and who does not? - Evaluating drivers of forum participation in polycentric governance systems, Public Administration Review, 82(4), 692-707, doi:10.1111/puar.13427, Institutional Repository
Wiedemann, R.; Stamm, C.; Staudacher, P. (2022) Participatory knowledge integration to promote safe pesticide use in Uganda, Environmental Science and Policy, 128, 154-164, doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2021.11.012, Institutional Repository

Publications 2020

Narayan, A. S.; Fischer, M.; Lüthi, C. (2020) Social network analysis for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH): application in governance of decentralized wastewater treatment in India using a novel validation methodology, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7, 198 (18 pp.), doi:10.3389/fenvs.2019.00198, Institutional Repository
Pakizer, K.; Fischer, M.; Lieberherr, E. (2020) Policy instrument mixes for operating modular technology within hybrid water systems, Environmental Science and Policy, 105, 120-133, doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.12.009, Institutional Repository
Metz, F.; Angst, M.; Fischer, M. (2020) Policy integration: do laws or actors integrate issues relevant to flood risk management in Switzerland?, Global Environmental Change, 61, 101945 (12 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101945, Institutional Repository
Pärli, R.; Fischer, M. (2020) Implementing the Agenda 2030 - what is the role of forums?, International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 27(5), 443-457, doi:10.1080/13504509.2020.1719546, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Jager, N. W. (2020) How policy-specific factors influence horizontal cooperation among subnational governments: evidence from the Swiss water sector, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 50(4), 645-671, doi:10.1093/publius/pjaa002, Institutional Repository
Ingold, K.; Gavilano, A. (2020) Under what conditions does an extreme event deploy its focal power? Toward collaborative governance in Swiss flood risk management, In: Bynander, F.; Nohrstedt, D. (Eds.), Collaborative crisis management. Inter-organizational approaches to extreme events, 132-147, doi:10.4324/9780429244308-11, Institutional Repository
Weible, C. M.; Nohrstedt, D.; Cairney, P.; Carter, D. P.; Crow, D. A.; Durnová, A. P.; Heikkila, T.; Ingold, K.; McConnell, A.; Stone, D. (2020) COVID-19 and the policy sciences: initial reactions and perspectives, Policy Sciences, 53, 225-241, doi:10.1007/s11077-020-09381-4, Institutional Repository
Pham-Truffert, M.; Metz, F.; Fischer, M.; Rueff, H.; Messerli, P. (2020) Interactions among sustainable development goals: knowledge for identifying multipliers and virtuous cycles, Sustainable Development, 28(5), 1236-1250, doi:10.1002/sd.2073, Institutional Repository
Berardo, R.; Fischer, M.; Hamilton, M. (2020) Collaborative governance and the challenges of network-based research, American Review of Public Administration, 50(8), 898-913, doi:10.1177/0275074020927792, Institutional Repository
Brandenberger, L.; Ingold, K.; Fischer, M.; Schläpfer, I.; Leifeld, P. (2022) Boundary spanning through engagement of policy actors in multiple issues, Policy Studies Journal, 50(1), 35-64, doi:10.1111/psj.12404, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Ingold, K. (2020) Networks in water governance, 333 p, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-46769-2, Institutional Repository
Trencher, G.; Rinscheid, A.; Duygan, M.; Truong, N.; Asuka, J. (2020) Revisiting carbon lock-in in energy systems: explaining the perpetuation of coal power in Japan, Energy Research and Social Science, 69, 101770 (17 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.erss.2020.101770, Institutional Repository
Ingold, K.; Tosun, J. (2020) Special issue "public policy analysis of integrated water resource management", Water, 12(9), 2321 (7 pp.), doi:10.3390/w12092321, Institutional Repository
Glaus, A.; Mosimann, M.; Röthlisberger, V.; Ingold, K. (2020) How flood risks shape policies: flood exposure and risk perception in Swiss municipalities, Regional Environmental Change, 20(4), 120 (17 pp.), doi:10.1007/s10113-020-01705-7, Institutional Repository
Duygan, M.; Stauffacher, M.; Meylan, G. (2021) What constitutes agency? Determinants of actors' influence on formal institutions in Swiss waste management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 162, 120413 (13 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2020.120413, Institutional Repository
Möhring, N.; Ingold, K.; Kudsk, P.; Martin-Laurent, F.; Niggli, U.; Siegrist, M.; Studer, B.; Walter, A.; Finger, R. (2020) Pathways for advancing pesticide policies, Nature Food, 1, 535-540, doi:10.1038/s43016-020-00141-4, Institutional Repository

Publications 2019

Lieberherr, E.; Fischer, M.; Tschannen, A. (2019) Taking stock of institutional resource regime research: a meta-analysis, Environmental Science and Policy, 97, 81-89, doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.04.003, Institutional Repository
Angst, M. (2019) Networks of Swiss water governance issues. Studying fit between media attention and organizational activity, Society and Natural Resources, 32(12), 1416-1432, doi:10.1080/08941920.2018.1535102, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Maag, S. (2019) Why are cross-sectoral forums important to actors? Forum contributions to cooperation, learning, and resource distribution, Policy Studies Journal, 47(1), 114-137, doi:10.1111/psj.12310, Institutional Repository
Herzog, L. M.; Ingold, K. (2019) Threats to common-pool resources and the importance of forums: on the emergence of cooperation in CPR problem settings, Policy Studies Journal, 47(1), 77-113, doi:10.1111/psj.12308, Institutional Repository
Andriamihaja, O. R.; Metz, F.; Zaehringer, J. G.; Fischer, M.; Messerli, P. (2019) Land competition under telecoupling: distant actors' environmental versus economic claims on land in north-eastern Madagascar, Sustainability, 11(3), 851 (24 pp.), doi:10.3390/su11030851, Institutional Repository
Ingold, K.; Driessen, P. P. J.; Runhaar, H. A. C.; Widmer, A. (2018) On the necessity of connectivity: linking key characteristics of environmental problems with governance modes, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 62(11), 1821-1844, doi:10.1080/09640568.2018.1486700, Institutional Repository
Lieberherr, E.; Ingold, K. (2019) Actors in water governance: barriers and bridges for coordination, Water, 11(2), 326 (17 pp.), doi:10.3390/w11020326, Institutional Repository
Weible, C. M.; Ingold, K.; Nohrstedt, D.; Henry, A. D.; Jenkins-Smith, H. C. (2020) Sharpening advocacy coalitions, Policy Studies Journal, 48(4), 1054-1081, doi:10.1111/psj.12360, Institutional Repository
Bodin, Ö.; Alexander, S. M.; Baggio, J.; Barnes, M. L.; Berardo, R.; Cumming, G. S.; Dee, L. E.; Fischer, A. P.; Fischer, M.; Mancilla Garcia, M.; Guerrero, A. M.; Hileman, J.; Ingold, K.; Matous, P.; Morrison, T. H.; Nohrstedt, D.; Pittman, J.; Robins, G.; Sayles, J. S. (2019) Improving network approaches to the study of complex social–ecological interdependencies, Nature Sustainability, 2(7), 551-559, doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0308-0, Institutional Repository
Fischer, M.; Nguyen, M.; Strande, L. (2019) Context matters: horizontal and hierarchical network governance structures in Vietnam's sanitation sector, Ecology and Society, 24(3), 17 (14 pp.), doi:10.5751/ES-11036-240317, Institutional Repository
Mewhirter, J.; McLaughlin, D. M.; Fischer, M. (2019) The role of forum membership diversity on institutional externalities in resource governance systems, Society and Natural Resources, 32(11), 1239-1257, doi:10.1080/08941920.2019.1646366, Institutional Repository

Topics master thesis

PEGO is looking for students doing their MA or BA thesis on one of the following issues:

Wastewater reuse: Today, reuse of treated wastewater in Switzerland is not compatible with legislation or not even regulated by law. However, there are reasons to think about the opportunities and risks of reuse also in Switzerland, as the availability of water resources and demand for irrigation will change in the next decades due to climate change. The master thesis will investigate the question to what extent water reuse is socially and politically accepted and considered legitimate in Switzerland. An in-depth analysis of the current institutional and political environment of the idea is an important condition to understand under which circumstances a change of practice and legislation and an implementation of innovative water reuse in Switzerland would be possible. Specifically, the master thesis addresses one or different dimensions of political and/or social legitimacy. These may be political, discursive, regulatory, cultural or other. The thesis may further address what factors influence legitimacy and how they change over time, and how current barriers in broader legitimacy might be overcome.

Network analysis ‘Future of Food Switzerland’. SDSN and the research group Pego (Eawag / Uni Bern) are looking for a student to develop a network analysis that analyzes the complex interactions of actors influencing what goes from farm to fork, in the context of a final thesis (Masters, or potentially also Bachelors). The analysis should identify clusters of actors pursuing common goals, as well as brokers for solutions. Based on the approach of social-ecological network analysis, the structure of the problem area of the food system will be analyzed, and the student will study which stakeholders might want to collaborate based on joint or interdependent issues, in order to improve the fit between the problem and stakeholder networks.

Biodiversity politics in Swiss Parliament. Preserving and promoting biodiversity is a politically anchored goal in Switzerland. It affects various policy fields such as water protection, forests and the environment, but also spatial planning and health. There are therefore countless parliamentary initiatives and acts dealing with biodiversity in a narrower or broader sense. We have collected documents around these initiatives and actors covering the period of the last 20 years. They are available in a text corpus for manual or automated content analysis. The following research questions could be interesting to follow: How has the political agenda with regard to biodiversity changed since 2000? Which actors are mainly concerned with the protection of species and landscapes, as well as the protection of genetic diversity? What kind of (changing) coalitions among actors are there? And which aspects do the actors and related documents emphasize or ignore?

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.

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.

Biodiversity as a complex policy field: The prospective MA thesis deals with the complex actor constellation around biodiversity. Biodiversity concerns many different traditional policy sectors (water, forest, energy, land use planning, agriculture, etc.) and is influenced by policy processes (“Strategie Biodiversität”) on different levels of decision-making (from municipalities to international treaties). Theoretical approaches on policy processes and policy networks should guide the empirical analysis of the actor constellation in this field.

Competence shifts to municipality associations: Municipalities are the lowest level in the Swiss multi-level system of political decision-making. They are under increasing pressure, given the challenges provided by technical developments in – for example – the infrastructure domain. One solution for municipalities to deal with these challenges and related lack of resources and expertise is to delegate certain competencies to municipality associations. The prospective MA thesis deals with the question why such shifts of competences are accepted or not by municipalities, and under what context conditions they are successful or not. The thesis analyses this question for the domain of wastewater and drinking water.

Privatization of drinking water: The population of the canton of Zurich will soon vote on the revision of the integrated cantonal water law. The main reason for the high public interest and the conflictive discussions around the revision of this law is due to the fact that an element in the law explicitly provides the option for private firms to acquire parts of the drinking water supply system. The discussions in the canton of Zurich might very well influence related discussions in other cantons. The prospective MA thesis analyses the policy process and the actor network around the revision of the Zurich water law, as well as actors’ preferences and strategies around the question of privatisation of water supply against the background of policy process and network theories.

Protection of deep groundwater: Deep groundwater is increasingly concerned by different uses such as the extraction of mineral water, geo-thermical drillings, future CO2 storage as well as the agricultural use of water due to climate change. The protection and the related coordination of uses (as for example through prioritizing given types of uses) needs to be adapted to these new challenges in order to prevent future problems in regulation and uncertainties for users. The prospective MA thesis prepares basic parameters related to this issue and identifies and critically evaluates relevant actors, interests, conflicts, opportunities for coordination and policy instruments related to the protection of deep groundwater.

River restoration in Switzerland: Comparing cantonal strategies: In the next decades, Switzerland will restore (revitalize) an important part of its rivers. While the goals and basic criteria and financing mechanisms are defined at the national level, cantons are mainly responsible for identifying the river parts which should be restored. Swiss cantons thereby encounter different political and geographical challenges, and, as a consequence, organize their strategic planning of restoration measures in different ways, and rely on different criteria. Given the long-term task of restoring rivers, knowing how cantons plan their measures, and thus allowing for cross-cantonal learning over time, is crucial. The aim of the MA thesis is to compare cantonal planning processes, resources, approaches, and actor constellations related to restoration planning, and thus to identify why given types of cantons act in specific ways. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) might be a good methodological approach for such a comparison. (German knowledge required)