Department Environmental Social Sciences

Current Projects

Cirus - Environmental Innovation and Management in Infrastructure Sectors

We seek to understand how formal and informal institutions, planning procedures and resources drive or constrain informal settlements upgrading in Sub Saharan Africa cities.
We are identifying the challenges of modular infrastructure systems for the Swiss economy and society using the example of urban water management.
The proposal analyzes possible transition pathways in basic services, focusing specifically on the case of Nairobi, Kenya.
The purpose of the strategic research alliance is to analyse the nature of the energy innovation systems in Denmark.
The project will analyze the indicators for sustainable transitions in China water treatment industry.
In this project, we work with organizations from around the globe to identify factors for managing water kiosks sucessfully
In this project, we collaborate with various organizations to study the role of business innovation in the scaling process of sanitation services.
In this project, we apply Business Model Thinking to create promising business models around innovative water and sanitation technologies
An inter- and transdisciplinary strategic research program that strives to develop novel non-gridconnected water and sani- tation systems that can function as comparable alternatives to network-based systems.
The project promotes the implementaion of RRR business models in Lima, Peru by improving the local institutional framework and technical capacities of interested entrepreneurs.
GLORIWA assesses path dependencies in urban water management by analyzing the global actor structures and institutional rationalities that stabilize the current dominant design
The BARRIERS project aims at improving our understanding of the institutional barriers for radical innovation in UWM. It analyzes ‘lighthouse cities’ that experiment with non-grid UWM systems

DA - Decision Analysis

Partnership building in information and communication technology (ICT) to provide operational flood forecasting and alerts in West Africa.
Serious games and gamification are increasingly used to engage stakeholders. We study whether and how they make decision analysis more participatory.
We study well-known fairness principles in the context of wastewater management.
Project aim is participative decision support for the long-term transition to innovative wastewater infrastructures.

EHPsy - Environmental and Health Psychology

The project’s overall goal is to improve the behavioral change strategies used to eliminate Open Defecation.
The global aim of the study is the identification of evidence based behavior change techniques concerning water consumption, sanitation and hygiene practices.
The goal of the project is to design, implement and evaluate Behaviour Change Campaigns on Hand Washing
This study aims at developing and testing evidence-based behavior change strategies to alter purchasing and use of sanitation facilities as well as handwashing practices in two main suburbs of Dakar.
The aim of this study is to develop and deliver effective behavior change strategies promoting hygiene practices towards the prevention of cholera and diarrheal diseases.
The objective of this study is to find out the relevant socio-psychological factors of behavior intentions related to the prevention of an Ebola outbreak and hand washing with soap in vulnerable areas
The objective of this study is to gain information about the current situation with regard to the population’s knowledge about Ebola to take action towards the promotion of prevention behaviors.
This project aims at developing and testing evidence-based behavior change strategies to alter unhealthy hygiene and drinking water practices, as well as sustainable use of adequate sanitation in Malawi.

PEGO - Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance

Policy forums in water and environmental governance
Impact of distant socio-ecological systems (telecoupling) on land-use decision-making
Local climate change adaptation strategies
Social-ecological networks allow for the joint modeling of ecological interdependencies and governance structure.

EnvEco - Environmental Economics

A principal objective of the project is to develop a novel theoretical framework that would explain the sources of preference uncertainty in stated choice experiments.
This project aims at closing the knowledge gap on monetary benefits of river rehabilitation by assessing the economic values of improvements in river ecosystem services resulting from river rehabilitation.
The main objective of this project is to show how economic values of different ecosystem services provided by water resources are spatially distributed across Switzerland.

Completed Projects

DA - Decision Analysis

We aim at facilitating the use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis in urban water management practice.
We study how game implementation can support stakeholder involvement and preference modelling in MCDA.
We aim at improving the use of MCDA in complex environmental problems.
Removal of pharmaceuticals from hospital wastewater is well accepted by stakeholders if trade-off between good performance of an option and its costs is reasonable.
MCDA allows integrating ecological assessments with the prediction of consequences of river rehabilitation, and the preferences of experts about trade-offs
Goal is an improved planning procedure for sustainable water supply and wastewater infrastructure management that links into the existing Swiss governance structures.
The population has a high willingness to pay for reducing risks of wastewater flooding or combined sewer overflows

PEGO - Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance

This project addresses the question of which factors explain governments’ choice of instrument selection, applied to micropollution regulation in the Rhine river basin.
The goal of this work is to conduct a meta-analysis of a wide set of cases towards the following overarching research goal: What factors determine water recycling rates?
Viable future water supply structures in the canton Baselland.
Coalitions and actor strategies with respect to the issue of hydraulic fracturing in Switzerland and the UK.
Identification and Integration of Fragmented Games in Swiss Water Politics
Effective design of micropollution regulation

EHPsy - Environmental and Health Psychology

Monitoring and Evaluation of a Large Scale Hand-washing Campaign in India
A user-driven sanitation (UDS) project in Kampala’s urban slums aimed to increase shared toilet users’ cleaning behavior.
This project aimed at improving the effectiveness of an information intervention to promote the use of existing safe water options with theory-based and evidence-based behaviour change techniques.
The present study designed and evaluated several promotion strategies for solar water disinfection (SODIS), based on results from a baseline survey.
Altering subjective perceptions of facts like prices or walking distances can change behavior even without changing objective circumstances.
A handwashing promotion project in the Borena Zone of southern Ethiopia aimed to increase handwashing rates in communities through systematic behavior change strategies.
The present project aimed to investigate factors explaining the (regular) use of safe water kiosks in three Kenyan communities.
The present project in post-earthquake Haiti aimed to evaluate the impact of public health promotions and cholera response on handwashing rates.


The main objective of this research is to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of water quality improvement through upgrading of wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland.
The main objective is to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of a number of different measures for reducing chemical water pollution in the Mönchaltorfer Aa river basin in the Canton of Zurich.
The goal of this research is to assess the value of different environmental amenities, as well as structural house and neighbourhood characteristics.
The project responds to current research gaps on the integration of forest, eco-hydrology and economic sciences to improve decision-making process.
This project aims at providing a better insight into the public preferences of the Swiss population for the suggested hydropower expansion.