Phd Positions

Dresden, , DE


  • The degree is jointly offered by the United Nations University and the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • The focus of the programme is on integrated management of water, soil and waste using a nexus approach, making it the first of its kind
  • The programme has a strong focus on developing countries
  • Students have access to the facilities and services of TUD, one of eleven Universities of Excellence in Germany, as well as the network of UNU Institutes
  • Doctoral research includes close cooperation with UN agencies and programmes as well as other international organization.


United Nations University (UNU) was established in 1973 and currently it is comprised of over 13 Research Institutes and Programmes in 12 countries around the world. Even though UNU considers itself mainly as a research-oriented think tank addressing the needs of the UN system and its member states and bridging to the academic world, it offers postgraduate training and education programmes at various levels.

The Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) is one of the top universities in Europe: strong in research and considered first-rate with respect to the range and the quality of the study programmes it offers. As a modern comprehensive, multi-discipline university and with its 14 faculties it has a broad and diverse scientific spectrum. The large campus family of TUD is comprised of 37,000 students and approximately 7,900 employees.

The joint PhD degree programme established at the United Nations University Institute for the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at TUD is the latest among the very few doctoral programmes UNU currently offers.


The main objective of this PhD programme is to provide graduate students with detailed knowledge, critical understanding, strategies and tools to take an interdisciplinary and integrated approach towards the management of water, soil and waste.

The joint PhD programme aims at creating a new generation of environmental scientists, engineers and managers to conduct, promote and provide guidance on the sustainable management of water, soil and waste. These resources and their sustainable management are of concern to the United Nations and its member states, particularly to developing countries and emerging economies.

About the Programme

Considering that the theme of the joint degree programme is new and unique in the academic world, prospective students are expected to come from a variety of backgrounds. To ensure that the students have an evenly-matched starting point, and also to introduce the basic concepts of the nexus of water, soil and waste, the programme comprises 35 course credits (see “Courses”) in addition to 175 dissertation credits. This total of 210 credits spans over 7 semesters. The credits are defined in terms of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

All coursework is science-based and all courses require basic knowledge in physics, chemistry and mathematics at undergraduate level. In addition, the courses will also require basic knowledge in social sciences. Courses will be offered by academic staff at both universities. In line with UNU-FLORES’ research agenda, research topics for dissertations will be focused on solving current challenges (see Research and research topics listed under Application Procedure) related to the nexus of water, soil and waste. PhD dissertations will be co-supervised by advisors from both universities.

  • Topic proposal DPIM1703: Scale-dependency of Earth Observation data for water management: Exploring information requirements and technical constrains for local to regional applications.
  • Topic proposal DPIM1704: Determination of the appropriate design of low-cost wastewater treatment systems to optimize effluent quality for the safe use in agriculture
  • Topic proposal DPIM1705: Effect of sustainable wastewater treatment technologies on Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistant Genes for save use in agriculture and for groundwater recharge
  • Topic proposal DPIM1706: Rebound effects of wastewater reuse
  • Topic proposal DPIM1707: Mapping and analysing policies of NEXUS-solutions related to the agricultural use of treated wastewater
  • Topic proposal DPIM1708: Development of a Web-Based Decision Support System for Wastewater Reuse in Agriculture
  • Topic proposal DPIM1709: Management of water- and soil-related ecosystem services in dryland areas of NW China
  • Topic proposal DPIM1710: Latitudinal gradients in effects of climate change on freshwater reservoirs: implications for adapted management

For more information