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Master's Thesis Supervisors and Topics

On this page you will find topics of thesis supervisors.

Dr Rosanne Anholt

Research interests:

My research interests broadly concern the dynamics of international aid in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

During my PhD research I studied what “resilience-building” means as it is employed in United Nations and European Union policy discourses, and how practitioners from international and local aid organizations (UN agencies, NGOs) translate resilience-building into practices in the context of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

One of my findings was that practitioners interpreted resilience as refugees’ “economic self-reliance”, making resilience-building a tool to encourage refugees’ integration into local labour markets – even though refugee-hosting states had little capacity or willingness to realize refugees’ integration – economic or otherwise. In this way, the positive-sounding objective of “building resilience” becomes above all a tool to contain refugees in the region and prevent onward migration to the EU.

I am interested in how the ‘good intentions’ behind international aid (as stated by politicians, in policy documents or programme objectives) may translate into (unintended) negative effects on conflict or crisis dynamics, and ultimately, on conflict-affected communities. Think for example of how the influx of international aid facilitated the militarization of the refugee camps in Goma following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Possible Master Thesis Topics:

  • Humanitarianism;
  • The international humanitarian system and perverse incentives within that system which inhibit aid effectiveness (think for example of competition for funding between NGOs);
  • The nexus (the more or less institutionalised relationship) between humanitarian aid, development assistance, and peacebuilding;
  • Dynamics of international crisis governance and power relations between crisis governance actors;
  • The role of donors in humanitarian action, and how donor policies shape aid practices;
  • The role of private sector actors in crisis response in fragile and conflict-affected countries;
  • The role of local actors and (institutional) barriers to aid localization;
  • Unintended (negative) consequences of aid; impact of aid on conflict/crisis dynamics;
  • The securitization/politicization of aid;
  • The scientific study of peace, conflict or humanitarianism; exchange between researchers and practitioners.

profile%20Francesco%20ColonaDr. Francesco Colona

Research interests

My research interests revolve around security, conflict and environmental transitions. In my work I aim to expose and analyse the political consequences of the socio-technical and material aspects of surveillance and policing (from barbed wire to urban spaces, from guns to cars, from home alarms to digital technologies). I explore how such security practices unfold in urban spaces and as part of environmental protection and conservation activities. By bringing together human geography, political anthropology and science and technology studies I unpack how these practices reproduce structural inequalities and different notions of (non-)belonging.

Possible Master Thesis Topics

  • Urban security and policing practices (in the Netherlands or abroad)
  • Public-private collaborations in the governance of security issues
  • Space, governance and security practices
  • Neighbourhood watches and community policing
  • Security, policing and the (re)production of structural inequalities
  • State-security nexus
  • (Politics of) Technologies and materiality in security and conflicts
  • Security, conflict and the production of subjectivities
  • Security, policing and citizenship
  • Police violence and police abuse of power
  • Citizenship practices and citizenship regimes in securitized and conflict environments
  • Practices, discourses and technologies of surveillance
  • Securitisation of environmental crises and of environmental and nature conservation
  • Climate protests

Feel free to contact me with your own original idea or topic!

Prof. Huib ErnsteHuib Ernste

Research interests:
Philosophy of space and place (what is space/place?), philosophical anthropology (what are human beings?), action theoretic approaches in human geography (how do people relate to space and place in their daily actions?), theory led policy evaluations, identity and meaning of places and regions, European integration, transnationalism and network society, regional and spatial development and the human being behind it, statistical modelling of spatial decisions, qualitative analysis of spatial actions, cooperative planning, Searching for the limits of and similarities between different theoretical approaches in human geography, making geography matter (critical approaches in human geography).

Possible Master Thesis Topics:

  • The University as a Network organisation (data sets on Dutch universities for analysis available) (suggested internship organisation: International Office Radboud University Nijmegen);
  • Spatial Frames of Relevance in cross border shopping (an application of Framing Analysis on cross border shopping behaviour) (suggested internship organisation: any consultancy firm in the field of shopping behaviour and 'koopstromenonderzoek');
  • Spatial Frames of Relevance and Living across the Border (an application of Framing Analysis on Dutch people living across the border in Germany);
  • Planning Cultures in the City Region Arnhem-Nijmegen (an action theoretical analysis of planning practices in the City Region Arnhem-Nijmegen) (In relation with an international research project on comparative planning cultures) (suggested internship organisation: City Region Arnhem-Nijmegen);
  • Modelling Traffic Mode decisions in relation to Policy Interventions (quantitative statistical analysis) (suggested internship organisation: Traffic Policy Organisations);
  • Application of Norbert Elias' figuration theory of 'The established and the outsiders' on transnational communities (e.g. the Dutch community in Kranenburg) (suggested internship organisation: Municipality of Kranenburg);
  • Analysing success factors of City and Region Marketing and Branding (Application of Jürgen Habermas' theory of communicative rationality on the communication of spatial identities);
  • The power of theories: Comparing theories of habitual spatial behaviour (behavioural theories) and of framed spatial actions (action theories);
  • The Anthropology of City Life: Applying philosophical anthropological insights on daily life in the city (suggested internship organisation: municipality of a larger city);
  • The limits of the creative class in the city: What if every city seeks its creative class? (What is next after Richard Florida's 'creative class'?) (suggested internship organisation: Kenniscentrum Stedelijke Vernieuwing; or any larger city municipality);
  • Analysing the Polder model / What the consensus economy is really about? (application of new institutionalist insights on the collaborative relationships in Public-Privat Partnerships);
  • The critical potential of discourse analytical approaches in (spatial) policy research. (what is the practical use of discourse analysis in policy research? A meta-analysis based on discourse analytical research of others);
  • University Culture and Innovation in University Research (analysing the role of culture in innovation at universities) (suggested internship organisation: Department of Strategy of the Radboud University);
  • Geography is what geographers do: Empirical analysis of what the human geography alumni of the Radboud University do nowadays. (suggested internship organisation: Alumni Office of the Radboud University);
  • What is the meaning of Space in the work of Helmuth Plessner? (in relation with the International Helmuth Plessner Conference in Amsterdam in 2009).
  • Places usually “ventilate” a specific atmosphere, which attracts tourists, is endangered by the visit of large numbers of tourists. The concept of “Atmosphere” was coined by Gernot Böhme. How can Atmospheres be created? How do atmospheres influence the behaviour of users/visitors of places? What role do atmospheres play in the interaction between people? Does an atmosphere e.g. automatically put them in a cooperative or solidary mood, or do they emphasise difference and conflict? What are the main dimensions of atmospheres? What are the attributes of specific (public and private) places, with respect to one or more of these dimensions? How are atmosphere’s communicated? What is the role of material/natural aspects in these atmospheres? How do atmospheres change?

    The concept of Atmosphere coined by Böhme is sometimes contrasted with the theory of “feelings” or “affects”, which are a core element of Hermann Schmitz “new phenomenology”, which e.g. also suggests that feelings of places can be objectivised (and are not subjective).

    What is the difference between the concept of atmosphere of Böhme and feeling of Schmitz, and what consequences does this have for the empirical research of places?

    How do we need to reconceptualise human subjectivity, and individual identity, if affectivity is not so much subjective but rather objective? In what way do these affective spaces create a “home”, and in what ways, do they also create a window towards the outside? Why are tourists always attracted by the ‘strange’ and the ‘other’? How does this change their views of places and their inhabitants?

    This idea of an atmosphere, or sphere, as a basic element of human place making, is also a core issue in the theory of spheres of Peter Sloterdijk. He discusses this concept also in relation to the process of globalisation, striving to ever larger and ultimately borderless global spheres, while he proposes, to accept that global spheres are impossible, and that small scale, although highly interrelated spheres are more feasible. What consequences does this have for (b)ordering practices and for attitudes toward the stranger, towards those outside one’s own sphere?

    How does this work out in the relationship between tourists and people from ‘strange’ cultures, which tourist tend to visit? How does this influence the interaction between different ethnic groups which share the same (urban) space or neighbourhood?

  • The affective/emotional dimension of Urban Space

Examples of internship organisations where my Master students went in recent years:

  • Provincial Government Brabant
  • Municipality Rotterdam
  • Municipality Nijmegen
  • Municipality Utrecht
  • Amsterdam & Partners
  • University of Applied Science, Breda
  • Pater Ahlbrink Foundation, Paramaribo
  • Amigu di Terra (Friend of the Erath International), Willemstad, Curaçao
  • ZKA Leisure Consulatants
  • TPD Consulting, Pristhine, Kosovo
  • Be in Kosovo, Pristhine, Kosovo
  • Visit Greenland / Greenland University
  • City Enterprise Department, Tallin, Estonia
  • Indonesian Consulate, Frankfurt
  • Ruimte en Vrije tijd, Arnhem
  • Planeterra, Toronto, Canada
  • Dutch Railway Company, NorthEast
  • Buro Buiten, Amsterdam
  • Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Den Haag
  • Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner, Germany

HospersProf. Gert-Jan Hospers

Research interests:
As an economic geographer Gert-Jan Hospers is fascinated by urban and regional development in Europe. Gert-Jan is particularly interested in place marketing, demographic shrinkage and public policy issues in the field of local and regional development. Gert-Jan has area expertise on North-West Europe, in particular Eastern and Northern Netherlands, North West Germany, the North of England and parts of Scandinavia.

Possible research topics include:

  • place marketing and place branding
  • demographic shrinkage in city and country
  • local and regional economic policy issues
  • old industrial, peripheral and rural areas

Prof. Henk van Houtum 

Research interests:
In my research I attempt to make the often implicit and taken-for-granted construction and (normative) consequences of socio-spatial ordering and othering explicit and manifest. I focus thereby on the critical scrutinisation of the symbolic and performative communication and representation of borders and identities at various spatial scales, notably on the European, national and urban level. For, socio-spatial identities, and the territorial borders that co-construct and protect them, often are doors that are closed for some and open for others. It is this constitutive process of imagining the sameness on the one hand and difference with and perceived fear for/threat of the Other on the other hand that must be considered crucial in the continuous reproduction of socio-spatial nationalities and localities. I believe that by analysing how we treat Others, much is revealed of how we see and constitute ourselves. That what is beyond the self-defined border of comfort, is often socially made legitimate to be neglected, creating spaces of indifference. The significant Others that I have been studying in-depth over the past years is the case of immigrants. It is this case that illustrates powerfully how we construct strangers and thereby reproduce and reify our own national identities. Increasingly, this construction of identities and strangers becomes most concrete and is increasingly becoming of urgent importance at the urban level. In my current research I am focusing on the ethics of the making of territorial identities and borders, leading to numerous deaths at the border and the European Neighbourhood Policy. I acknowledge that border politics always involve a contested and contextual quest for the just balance between the freedom we allow for others and the doubt and uncertainty we allow for ourselves. My current research interest feeds into such an overarching broader search for routes to constantly critically analyse, re-imagine and rethink our constructed definitions of territorial borders, identities and spaces of indifference.

Possible master thesis topics:

  • Global Justice, Cosmopolitanism, Globalisation;
  • Open Borders Ethics/Morality of Borders;
  • European and National Biopolitics;
  • Europeanisation Politics of fear and security;
  • European Neighbourhood Programme;
  • (Illegalised) migration routes into the EU;
  • Migration camps/detention centres;
  • Dying (illegalised) migrants at the borders of the EU;
  • Borders, Nationalism and Transnationalism;
  • Perceptions and Representations of Borders and Identities;
  • Home, Identity and Belonging
  • Cross-border Networks and (im)Mobility in Europe;
  • (Im)migration and Integration National identity and citizenship;
  • National Borders, Nationalism and Transnationalism;
  • Borderscapes, Borders in Cities, Divided Cities;
  • Soccer: representation, identity, territorial battle, commercialization;
  • (Urban) hypercapitalism;
  • Nietzsche, Foucault, Kafka, Agamben, Lacan, Deleuze and Guattari, Bauman.

Examples of internship organisations where the Master students that I supervised went in recent years:

  • ASKV/Steunpunt Vluchtelingen
  • St Vluchtelingen
  • Vluchtelingenwerk
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague
  • International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
  • Amnesty International
  • Meldpunt Vreemdelingendetentie, Rotterdam
  • All Included
  • Politieke partijen in Tweede Kamer
  • Stichting Gast, Nijmegen
  • Koninklijke Marechaussee, Schiphol
  • Embassy of Sri Lanka
  • Embassy of New Zealand
  • Justice and Peace
  • Rotterdam Ongedocumenteerden Steunpunt (ROS)
  • Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)
  • Euregion Rijn-Maas Noord
  • Euregion Rijn-Waal
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • Migration Research Center at Koc University, Turkey
  • University of Barcelona
  • University of Belfast
  • University of Las Palmas
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • Nijmegen Centre for Border Research

KramschDr Olivier Kramsch

Research interests:
I am mainly interested in the following research themes:

Border ‘Memory Work' 
I am keen to embed currently fashionable accounts of the EU as both an internally borderless and externally Fortress-like geopolitical space within a longer-durée encompassing earlier rounds of European re-structuring and re-bordering, notably those of late 19th century imperial expansion and mid 20th century decolonization. In so doing, I'm attempting what might be called a ‘genealogy of the European border', one which recognizes, as in our own time, moments of danger for Europe when the border becomes a crucial site for imagining ‘Europe' otherwise. The late colonial archive and 1950s decolonization literature (ie, Sartre, Fanon, Memmi, de Beauvoir Camus) currently form the textual backdrop for this work-in-progress.

European Transboundary Regional Governance 
For some time now I have been interested in the ways in which Europe is reconstructing itself politically, economically and culturally at the cross-border regional scale. Here the laboratory of the cross-border euroregions (or euregios) has been a central focus of my work, as I explore the ways in which these novel territorial and administrative entities seek to produce modes of governance ‘beyond' traditional member state borders. A more recent initiative has led me to consider forms of transboundary governance at the outer borders of the EU, notably in its relation to countries forming its new ‘neighbourhood'. In both these research settings I am particularly intrigued by the paradoxes of transboundary governance, and in examining their myriad deficits I seek to reveal broader contradictions disturbing the wider EU integration project as a whole. As a key part of this research agenda, I am particularly attuned to the power of maps, and the power-laden visions they express in either enabling (or disabling) an authentic cross-border demos capable of recognizing alterity and difference.

Border Epistemology 
I am intrigued by the possibility of developing an epistemological framework for thinking at/from the borders of Europe in a wider North/South framework. In dialogue with Southern European and Latin American academic networks, the invention of such a ‘border epistemology' draws on post-structuralist, postmodern and postcolonial approaches in human geography. Putting Descartes on his head, it dares ask the question: ‘I am where I think'.

Possible topics for master-theses could be in the range of the following:

  • The geo-history of European borders, frontiers and empires (as well the associated border strategies of anti-colonial movements)
  • The borders of anti-colonial / post-colonial theory and the postcolonial inflection of European border studies
  • Contemporary modes of cross-border governance and governmentality: euregios as well as wider EU-Frontier (ie, European Neighbourhood, ‘Europe in the World')
  • Re-working the ‘New Regionalism' at/from the European border
  • Contesting geopolitical representations: border maps and counter-maps
  • The temporality of borders
  • Strengthening the link between European border studies and critical social theory

Prof. Arnoud Lagendijk lagendijk

Research interests:

As an economic geographer with affinity to spatial planning, Arnoud Lagendijk's research focuses on how new forms of economic and spatial organisation take hold at the urban and regional level. He is particularly interested in:

  • how new business practices (networking, clustering, innovation) affect urban/regional development,
  • the diffusion and impact of new technologies (eg Blockchain, smart cities, autonomous cars, etc.), and
  • the proliferation and impact of new forms of economic and mobility infrastructure (innovation campuses, rapid transit, ‘cycle highways’). In probing these issues, he employs conventional quantitative and qualitative as well as novel methods (configurational analysis QCA, topological and relational approaches).

Examples of recent thesis topics:

  • Creating space for new forms of retail businesses in the Haarlem city centre
  • Mobilizing the Smart City. An inquiry into the transferal, articulation and effects of the Smart City
  • Venlo, innovative student city. About attracting and retaining students and improving their contribution to regional innovation
  • Creating and governing commons within the neoliberal realm
  • Eastern Netherlands Economic Power. A research exploring the effectiveness of financial incentives and business development aids on SME growth and development in the Eastern Netherlands Triple Helix environment.
  • Sharing Innovation. Trust, Transaction Cost Economics & Open innovation
  • Cluster governance in the medical cluster in Rotterdam
  • Local translations of the Circular Economy  concept
  • 3D-Printing: Great Potential, Small Impact
  • Good People: Proximity and Trust in Contracting and Knowledge Transfer
  • The Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) as a tool for governing the rural-urban linkages: Evidence from Poland.
  • Material dimensions of public involvement in planning
  • Borders in locally "buzzing" communication ecologies: Scope and limitedness of entrepreneurial networks in Twente (NL) and its German "hinterland”
  • Smart Specialisation, from theoretical concept to policy practice
  • Innovation in the rural areas of the Metropoolregio Eindhoven and urban-rural partnerships
  • The ‘DNA’ of the Bloemerstraat. Development of a researchmodel to determine the DNA of a retail area for further effective branding and other practices
  • Factors Influencing Tourism Destinations Attractiveness; the Case of Malaga
  • The diffusion and translation of heat stress knowledge into policy in Dutch municipalities
  • Celebrities and Fans’ Philanthropy in China: A Critique of Parasocial Relationship
  • The competitive advantage of Dutch Datacenters. Using Porters Diamond to analyse the datacentre industry
  • Regional collaborations in The Netherlands and their effectiveness
  • Let’s turn up the heat transition: An exploration of the role of energy cooperatives in the heat transition
  • Strengthening the health sector in the region Arnhem-Nijmegen
  • Collective ownership as key incentive for sustainable agricultural development: a case study at the Herenboerderij in Boxtel

Dr Friederike Landau

I am an urban cultural geographer with an interdisciplinary background in public administration, political theory and urban sociology. I am interested in questions concerning multiple futures of urban public spaces, creative interventions in public space, and the roles artists and cultural workers play in processes of culture-led urban (re)development and place-making.

I approach problems of urban inequalities and segregation with a conflict-oriented lens, and am curious to trace the manifold expressions of political agency and citizenship, becoming articulated as moments of ‘the political’.

Research Interests:

Cultural policy; cultural politics; cultural governance; post-foundational political and spatial theory; conflict theory; agonism; the political; public space; museums; monuments; memorials; cultural infrastructures; affective politics; artistic activism; urban social movements

Possible Thesis Topics:

  • globally comparative analyses of the development of cultural quarters;
  • (comparative or single case study-oriented) cultural policy analyses (e.g., critical policy analysis);
  • ethnographic analyses of artistic or creative interventions in a variety of urban public spaces;
  • examinations of the practical and empirical relevancy of post-foundational political and spatial theory and/or agonistic theory;
  • conceptual developments and new interdisciplinary dialogues between post-foundational political and spatial theory and/or agonistic theory and XX (e.g., queer-feminist theory, new (feminist) materialisms, memory studies, artistic research, heritage studies, museum studies etc.)
  • creative or artistic reappropriations, occupations of public spaces;
  • practices (and poetics) of infrastructures (or rather in cultural and artistic fields;
  • museums as public spaces, contact zones, conflict zones;
  • international examples of artistic activism (both off- and online) and strategies of influencing local or global political, economic and culture-related crises;

Please always feel free to approach me with individual ideas we could productively work on!

MathijsProf. Mathijs van Leeuwen

Research interests:
I am a rural development sociologist, and graduated at Wageningen University in 1999. Before coming to Nijmegen in 2009, I worked as a researcher at the Institute of International Relations Clingendael, and with various NGOs in Kenya, Sudan, Guatemala and Bolivia. From 2004 to 2008 I conducted a PhD research at Wageningen Disaster Studies on discourses and practices of civil society peace building and their international support. This research was conducted in collaboration with the Dutch development organization CORDAID and its local partners in Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, and Guatemala. In addition to my work at CICAM, I am coordinator of and researcher in ‘Grounding Land Governance; Land Conflicts, Local Governance and Decentralization in Post-conflict Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan’, a NWO-Wotro Integrated Programme, at the African Studies Centre, at Leiden University. I enjoy experimenting with different research methodologies. I have extensive experience with participatory and interactive research methodologies, and a keen interest in Community Theatre.

Geographical Interests:
Burundi, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan, Guatemala

Possible thesis subjects are:

  • Post-conflict peace building and development
  • Civil society, social movements, and NGOs
  • Land rights, tenure security, land disputes, land governance reform
  • Decentralization and local management of natural resources
  • Local governance and state-formation from below
  • Reconciliation and local dispute resolution
  • Reintegration of former refugees, IDPs and ex-combatants
  • Challenges of rebel-movement to political party transitions
  • Gender and conflict
  • Humanitarian aid, post-conflict reconstruction and development

MalejacqDr Romain Malejacq

Research interests:
Romain Malejacq’s research focuses on the role of other non-state armed actors in state formation and state-building processes. His current work looks at the nature and the transformation of warlord power over time, and analyses the way Afghan warlords shift their power bases to adapt to new environments. Romain is also particularly interested in the relationships between warlords and central states, as well as in the former’s role in the international system. After doing extensive field research in Afghanistan, his new research project will take him to Somalia in the years to come:

  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia
  • State-building and state-making processes
  • Violence, Armed Conflicts, and Armed Groups
  • Failed States and Warlordism
  • External Interventions

Dr Rianne van MelikRianne2016 (2)

Research interests:
Rianne van Melik is a human geographer with a PhD and interest in urban and cultural developments, spatial planning, and public space issues. In particular, she focuses on different types of public space (marketplaces, city squares, parks, playgrounds, libraries, etc.), different users of public space (young, old, migrant, etc.) and actors involved in the design and management of public space, which are increasingly non-governmental. Her regional focus is primarily on Western Europe and the United States (esp. New York City), but she is interested in other regions and countries as well. In the past years, Rianne has supervised master theses on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: inclusive play policies, the role of faith-based organisations in neighbourhoods, use of public space by people suffering from dementia, sociality of train travelling, overtourism, Airbnb, cycling as social innovation, platform economy (Deliveroo), community gardening, young people’s use and involvement in public space.

In the context of the HERA-funded research entitled “Moving Marketplaces: Following the Everyday Production of Inclusive Public Space”, Rianne is specifically looking for students interested in researching marketplaces, in particular the merchants that sell their products at these markets. She can offer a research internship to 3-5 human geography master students who have a strong interest in mobile markets as public spaces. Please contact her directly if you would like to receive more information on the project or the internship requirements. She also has contacts at the Play and Movement Association (Branchevereniging Spelen en Bewegen), who could facilitate internships on play-related topics such as municipal play policies, citizen participation and co-production in the design and management of play grounds, temporary use of public space, and play behaviour of different users (migrant children, teenagers, etc.).

Expertise/ possible theses topics:

  • Use and perception of public space of different population groups (older people, children, market traders, migrants, etc.) and different spaces (streets, markets, parks, playgrounds, toilets/urinals)
  • Co-production of public space (including decision-making, financing, co-production, third sector organizations)
  • Urban renewal strategies; gentrification processes
  • Relation between places and festivals (or other events)

Rianne will also gladly supervise topics that are not listed above, but that are embedded in (Western) cities.

Examples of internship organisations where my Master students went in recent years:

  • Bindkracht10
  • Planterra
  • Ubachs
  • Bureau Buiten
  • Goudappel Coffeng
  • Dutch embassy in Ethiopia
  • Province of Gelderland
  • Municipality of Ede, Doetinchem
  • Brancheverengiging Spelen en Bewegen
  • Lentekracht
  • Seinpost

PijpersDr Roos Pijpers

Research interests:
I am a human geographer with a background in economic geography. In the past decade I have focused on the experiences of people who are ageing in place, and on the complex ‘landscapes’ of health and social care organised to support ageing in place. My current research is funded with a 5-year VIDI-grant from NWO and looks into the role of ethnicity and sexuality in experiences with ageing and care in Dutch cities. I work with various literatures and theories including: practice theory, ethics of care, capability approach, and action research.

Possible research topics

I am interested in supervising Master’s theses in the areas of urban, cultural and economic geography on topics that can broadly be linked to the above research interests. Such theses could address the following topics:

  • Ageing in place
  • Vulnerable people who live independently in the community (e.g. people struggling with debts, loneliness, or mental problems, et cetera)
  • Informal care and community support
  • Alternative economies, economic spaces, and lifestyles (e.g. co-housing)
  • Geographies of encounter / living with difference and diversity
  • Therapeutic places / place-making in spaces of care
  • Landscapes of care: links between formal and informal forms of health and social care

Examples of internship organisations where my Master students went in recent years:

  • Talis
  • Woonstichting Valburg
  • Sterker Sociaal Werk
  • Bindkracht10
  • Movisie
  • COC Nederland
  • Roze Stadsdorp Amsterdam
  • UAF
  • Habion
  • Veldacademie
  • Waardenmakers
  • Lentekracht
  • Adviesbureau Kragten
  • Adviesbureau Seinpost
  • Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Nature for Health
  • SlowCare
  • VNG (Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten)

Examples of other possible internship organisations (for discussion):

  • ReUnion Network / Reimagine Family (English)
  • Humint Solutions / Unlock Unrecognised Knowledge

Joris.schapendonkDr Joris Schapendonk

Research interests:
Having a background in Human Geography and International Development Studies, my research interest focuses on questions related to globalization, new mobilities, transnationalism/migration, rural-urban dynamics, borders and development. In particular, I look at spatial relations between the global North and South.

Possible topics for MA thesis I will happily supervise, are:

  • Asylum politics and spaces in the Netherlands / EU
  • Shelter cities, shelter spaces. How to create safe places for people who do not belong?
  • Migrant trajectories
  • Tourism in the global South
  • Elite/student mobility in a global world
  • Local marketplaces as inclusive spaces (the role of merchants)
  • Bottom-up globalisation: Informal economies and informal transnational trade relations

I will also warmly welcome creative research ideas in relation to globalisation issues.

Concrete internship opportunities for 2019-2020 are (see Brightspace Preparing the Master thesis)

I have three very concrete internship opportunities to offer, please contact me if you are interested in one of these: joris.schapendonk@ru.nl

  1. Sheltering undocumented migrants in Nijmegen (SNOV / Gemeente Nijmegen /2 places available)

This internship takes place at SNOV – an organisation that shelters and assists undocumented migrants in the city of Nijmegen – and/or at the Gemeente of Nijmegen. As a network organisation SNOV is particularly interested in the concept of ‘place attachment’ in relation to their daily practice of sheltering undocumented migrants. From the local government perspective, place attachment has a strict temporal connotation. To be eligible for a place in the shelter, one needs to proof to have lived in Nijmegen for over three years. This regulation, however, creates a lot of tension in practice since people who are in the asylum procedures are confronted with regular relocations. Moreover, for people without papers it is very hard to proof how they attach to places since they lack any institutional inclusion. This project then looks at the concept of place attachment from both the daily practices of undocumented migrants living in the shelter as well as from the policy perspective. You will work (as a volunteer)

  1. The Worlding Classroom (in collaboration with Glasgow University) (1 place available)

In the context of the Glasgow-Radboud collaboration fund, we can offer one internship position. S/he will be hosted by the Radboud University and s/he will be asked

  • to assist us in relating educational material on migration and globalisation in our teaching programmes
  • Create a master research that relates/compares the position of Glasgow and Nijmegen in Europe’s migration regime. How do the cities coop with refugee communities? What bottom-up initiatives exist in both places? What can they learn from each other?

We foresee a master project that is based on fieldwork in Glasgow as well as in Nijmegen as well as active engagements with civil society organisations in these two cities.

  1. Cross your borders / GLOBAL-LAND (2 places available)

Cross your borders (http://www.crossyourborders.nl/over-ons/) is a Dutch-based organisation that offers educational projects to secondary schools. They run a programme called ‘Global-Land’ with which they try to broaden the horizons of Dutch pupils. In this context, and in relation to your empirical research for your master thesis, you help the organisation to develop educational material on migration/refugee movements.

Other possible Internships are:

  1. Local NGOs in the Gambia (West Africa)
  2. Plan International
  3. Stichting Gast
  4. Vluchtelingenwerk
  5. Kusters Scholing & Training
  6. GIZ (Germany)
  7. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

smithDr Lothar Smith

Research interests:
Trained in a number of interrelated disciplines such as human geography, (development) sociology, anthropology and (micro) economics, Lothar Smith is especially interested in research issues of a holistic, multi-locational nature concerning countries in the global south.

Topics of interest include migration (at various scales, also in how they connect), transnational influences (e.g. role of diasporas for post-conflict regions, role of transnational networks in people’s livelihoods), processes of home making. Further interests include spatial-societal shifts in the connections between urban and rural domains, studied from a gender and/or generational perspective (e.g. the future of farming). In a Dutch/Global North context Lothar is interested in assimilation/integration issues, the dynamic role of ‘migrant’ organizations in developmental initiatives, and shifting notions in ethics around trade of second-hand goods and waste.

Master Thesis Topics

  • The Netherlands: Aligned to the PhD project of Iris Poelen, Glocal Hotspot, Radboud University: Home making processes of Syrian and Eritrean refugees – a process of assimilation or accumulation?
  • Ghana:University of Ghana (incl. Centre for Migration Studies, Geography Department), also University for Development Studies, Wa/Tamale. Various topics:
    • Notably opportunities for research on migration and globalisation issues, e.g. role of mobile phone networks for reconfigurations of socio-economic spaces.
    • Developments in the relationship between urban and rural economies,
    • Coping with risk by urban actors
    • The role of recreational spaces in the city (Accra, Kumasi)
    • Public transport development and societal notions of sustainability.
  • South Africa:University of Fort Hare and Rhodes, in further collaboration with Wageningen University: Ties between rural and urban economies through social networks;
  • South Africa: University of Rhodes: The life and death of small ‘former white’ outback towns in the Western/Eastern Cape (an ethnographic study)
  • South Africa:African Centre for Migration Studies (ACMS), Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg: Building on existing research on migrants in the city of Johannesburg, this research can explore fluidity of migrant categories in a wary, sometimes outright xenophobic urban society.
  • Sri Lanka: Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), Colombo. Research on post-conflict influences of diasporas through local development initiatives.
  • Indonesia: Geography Dept, University Gadya Mada - Building a new capital city – a holistic analysis of the sustainability of capital city shifts (2 theses: Java, Kalimantan).
  • Online: Analysis through a network analysis of key actors of the (further) potential of an online platform that attempts to connect across transnational spaces actors (commercial, NGOs, government, etc) involved in migration and development (TRANSCODE).

Comment: The majority of these topics imply going to, and doing research in, a foreign country. To ensure that this takes place within the timeframe of their study, students are encouraged to take timely action and contact Lothar Smith as soon as they identify a topic that interests them.

Examples of organisations where Master students I supervised went for their internships the last years:

  • Various Dutch Embassies (Thailand, Tanzania) (government)
  • Centre for Migration Studies, Ghana (also University for Development Studies, Wa) (academic)
  • Ur-Farm, Java, Indonesia (NGO)
  • Urbanistica, Guatamala City, Guatamala (NGO)
  • Border Angels, San Diego, USA (NGO)
  • Colourful Ecuador Travels, Ecuador (company, NGO)
  • Parisar, Pune, India (NGO, urban issues)
  • Cordaid, The Hague (IGO)
  • Oxfam Novib, The Hague (IGO)
  • BASUG, The Hague (Bangladesh migrant organization, NGO)
  • HIRDA, Amsterdam (Somali migrant organization, NGO)
  • Recogin, Amsterdam (Ghanaian migrant organization, NGO)
  • Transnational Synergy for Cooperation and Development (TRANSCODE), global platform (a multi-actor migration-development oriented platform)
  • Movisie (societal/socio-political applied research), Utrecht
  • Outside Inc., The Hague (sustainable energy, NGO), The Hague
  • Centre for Latin American Studies (CEDLA), Amsterdam (academic)
  • Royal Haskoning DHV, Nijmegen (consultancy)

Dr Nora StelDr Nora Stel

Research interests:
Combining anthropological, geographical, and political science perspectives, my work can be situated in the critical strands in conflict studies, policy studies, security studies, forced migration and border studies, and ignorance studies.
My research interests broadly relate to governance and politics in conflict-affected settings. This expertise concerns two comprehensive themes. I specialize in studying political authority in conflict situations, investigating the organization of services, security, and representation by hybrid governance assemblages during and after violent conflict. I also do research on the governance of forced displacement, more specifically the governmentalities and bordering practices that emerge through the politics and policies directed at refugee communities in so-called ‘regional host countries.’
Methodologically, I am most proficient in qualitative field work, particularly in conflict-affected situations, and critical policy analysis.
My area experience mostly regards the Middle East (particularly Lebanon, Syria and Palestine) and I have also done research in African countries. I am interested in supervising research focusing on any country or region, with a particular affinity for studies that explore North-South parallels and connectivity.

Possible Thesis Topics:

My supervision interests and expertise include but are not limited to

  • The politics and policies of governing forced displacement, refugees, borders, shelter, informal settlements, refugee camps, detention centers;
  • War, armed conflict, violence, structural violence, necropolitics;
  • Politics of knowledge, epistemic power, strategic ambiguity, ignorance studies;
  • Framing, discourse, legitimation;
  • Security, securitization, secrecy, intelligence, assemblage politics, remote warfare;
  • Informality, illegality, liminality, hybrid order, institutional multiplicity;
  • Governmentality, governance, public goods, representation, legitimacy, authority;
  • Stateness, state imaginaries, state formation, negotiated/mediated statehood;
  • The politics of administration, street-level bureaucracies;
  • Rebel governance, non-state armed governance actors, political parties, insurgencies.

Niels%20TerpstraDr Niels Terpstra

Research interests:

My research focuses on the dynamics of civil war, political violence, insurgency, and terrorism. I am particularly interested in governance and legitimation practices of non-state armed groups during and after civil war. Secondly, I am interested in foreign policy, particularly the political and strategic dimensions of peace- and state-building missions.

In my research I take a multidisciplinary approach, using qualitative social research methods. I gained field research experience in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Colombia. In my dissertation, ‘Rebel Governance and Legitimacy in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka’ I investigated how the Taliban in Afghanistan have governed territories under their control and how the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) governed in Sri Lanka. Moreover, I investigated how rebel governance affects civilian compliance with a rebel group and what this tells us about legitimacy, authority, and state formation processes.

Over the past years, I was also involved in projects for the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and peace organization PAX. Amongst others, this included the evaluation of the Dutch Police-training Mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan, an assessment of the Dutch government’s strategic narratives during the war in Afghanistan, the development of a Human security survey, a study on terrorism and the state of emergency in Western Europe, and the crime-terror nexus in counter-terrorism policies in the Netherlands.

General thesis topics:

My supervision interests and expertise include, but are not limited to:

  • Insurgency and counterinsurgency
  • Terrorism and counterterrorism
  • Peace- and state-building missions, international police-training missions
  • Non-state armed group governance and legitimacy
  • Rebellion, guerilla warfare, resistance groups
  • Mobilization for (violent) collective action
  • Legitimation practices, discourse, performances, and symbolism in armed conflict
  • Country expertise: Sri Lanka, Colombia, Afghanistan

Dr Haley SwedlundSwetlund

Research interests:
Haley Swedlund is interested in a broad range of topics related to the role of external actors in aid-dependent and post-conflict contexts. Her current research focuses on donor-government relationships and debates regarding ownership and aid effectiveness. She is also interested in the role and effectiveness of of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the impact of peace building initiatives. Her work currently focuses on East Africa, but she is open to supervising research in other regions of the world.

Possible Master Thesis Topics:

  • The securitisation of aid
  • The role of China and other 'non-traditional' donors in Africa
  • Aid effectiveness & donor-government relationships
  • Democracy promotion and state building by external actors
  • The role of NGOs and civil society in situations of post-conflict peace building
  • The timing and sequencing of peace building missions
  • Female peacekeepers and peacekeeping units (i.e. Liberia)
  • Land & resource conflict

vanderVeldeDr Martin van der Velde

Research interests:
As one of the coordinators of the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research and co-editor of the Journal of Borderlands Studies, I am confronted with a wide range of issues where borders do play an important role, which reflects in my broad and general interest in the area Border-studies. In recent years my research has focussed on three topics in particular:

  • the causes and effects of changing border regimes (like Schengen);
  • the border as an asset that can be exploited as opposed to the border as a barrier that has to be removed;
  • (undocumented) migration and borders.

Possible topics for MA-theses that I will gladly supervise and work on together, are:

  • Borders in the broadest sense of the word. This could involve economic aspects (like labour markets, consumer behaviour), migration, identity, etc.;
  • Developments in Central and Eastern Europe, especially where it concerns the accession to, inclusion in and relations with in the European Union;
  • The US-Mexico border and developments on the North-American continent;
  • Furthermore as thoroughbred human geographer I also appreciate and am willing to work together on other geographical topics.

Topics with a possible internship

  • Several topics related to border-regional developments, cooperation and integration (as part of a thesis-lab with the Euregion Common INTERREG Secretariat in Kleve; additional information can be found here (pdf, 40 kB).

Verkoren2Dr Willemijn Verkoren

Research interests:
The research of Willemijn Verkoren deals with violent conflict and peace processes in a changing global context. Themes include the geopolitics of war, the dynamics of peace intervention, the role of social movements and civil society in conflict and peace, and state building and democracy promotion. Willemijn is also interested in terrorism and political and societal responses to terrorism, including the 'war on terror', and in the framing of violence and security policy. Cases of interest include Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel-Palestine, but also the Netherlands, Europe and the US.
see also: http://www.ru.nl/personen/verkoren-w/

Master Thesis Topics:

  • ‘Frictions’ between peace building interventions and local processes and interests
  • Local manifestations of civil society and bottom-up peace initiatives
  • Global influences on ‘local’ conflicts
  • Global networks as new forms of diplomacy
  • The role of multinational corporations and investment in conflict-affected countries

downloadProf. Peter Ache

Research interests:
The future is here! The city is a laboratory (living lab) where various groups and institutions work and experiment with the urban: new housing, new mobility, new services, new governance, to name a few ‘news’ in the approach to develop a better living quality in urban and regional settings. There are ‘trends’ already visible at this time, but there are also next generation developments, in nascent state of even only conceived as an idea.

I am looking for a group of MSc students acting as trend searchers, and work, together with me, on an urban futures lab.

Master Thesis Topics:

Several MSc theses can be developed under the general topic:

  • life styles and the healthy city idea
  • mobility beyond the combustion engine
  • spatial augmentation and the city (city apps)
  • grass roots urban futures
  • new (flexible) housing models and strategies
  • the city as a living lab
  • new urban management (city-cells)
  • sustainable and resilient cities

The intention is to apply those ideas to Nijmegen and critically discuss existing local strategies with the intention, to provide scenarios and options for new activities.

Dr Iulian Barba Lata 

My work dwells on the politics of experimentation and placemaking as a vehicle to explore how cities are governed, contested and transformed. This includes research on three topical lines of enquiry: (1) the future of public spaces, (2) emergent sustainability agendas and infrastructures, and (3) the rural-urban condition. I am particularly interested in transformative everyday practices and their potential to unsettle particular ways of living, knowing and envisioning the urban. I draw inspiration from a diversity of critical and relational approaches in questioning what are responsible forms of urbanization and how they (may) enable more just and hopeful urban futures.

Research interests and possible master thesis topics:

  • Science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and the posthuman city
  • Play, street art and other creative appropriations of public spaces
  • Abandonment, (temporary) occupation and/or property guardianship
  • Urban densification, gentrification and the right-to-the-city
  • Informality as mode of urbanization
  • Governing climate change: local experiments and grassroots sustainability initiatives
  • Urban circular economies: everyday practices, value regimes, upscaling
  • Creative reuse, regimes of repair and maintenance
  • The wild city and infrastructural ecologies
  • Invited and invented spaces of participation, (critical) participatory GIS
  • Rural imaginaries and the city/Urban imaginaries and the rural

Archival work, social memory and identity in the city

BeckersDr Pascal Beckers

Research interests:
Pascal Beckers is an international business economist and human geographer, with special expertise in economic geography, migration and integration, urban studies and research methods. His current research focuses on the following themes: labour migration, especially of the highly skilled; refugee integration in cities and communities; international student migration; migrant entrepreneurship and urban change; recognition of migrant skills and competences and management of cultural diversity; urban decline and renewal; firm performance and mobility; housing and spatial design issues, particularly related to social cohesion and the concept of the Arrival City (Doug Sauders).

Possible master thesis subjects are:

  • Students may contribute to the ongoing Skills2Work project funded by the European Commission (http://www.ru.nl/gpm/onderzoek/research-projects/skills2work-project/), which collects and spreads insights on successful practices to foster the early-stage labour market integration of refugees in NL and other EU member states (study labour market experiences of refugees in different sectors and regions, recognition practices of foreign skills and competences, job-entry measures and diversity management practices (mapping these practices across organizations in selected regions, studying the regional collaboration of various stakeholders involved))
  • Migrant entrepreneurs as agents of urban change and innovation (Students can study the role that these entrepreneurs play in transforming urban landscapes, introducing new product/service innovations, being social leaders)
  • International labour and student migration (study international flows of these migrant groups and analyse the underlying drivers of mobility and location choices; study the role of highly skilled migrants in urban development processes and innovation)
  • Housing and urban spatial design issues, particularly related to social cohesion and the concept of the Arrival City (Doug Sauders)
  • Firm performance and mobility at the micro- (firm), meso- (region) and macro-level (country) of analysis;
  • Decline or renewal of industrial sites or residential neighbourhoods
  • Demography and regional labour markets
  • Forecasting and signalling urban spatial use changes
  • Big data for SMART cities and regions

LindaDr Linda Carton

Research interests:
Carton's research is focused on collaborative planning and mapping for sustainable cities. She is committed to following the science on climate change and ‘bottom-up’ citizen initiatives. She looks at government’s best practices (and mistakes) in dealing with the related sustainability challenges of climate adaption and mitigation in cities and regions. An ongoing fascination is the emergence of conflicts between local scale and city-level or state-level decision-makers on governing collective natural resources or “commons,” and dealing with "externalities".  The core application domain is the field of -smart, sustainable, healthy- cities and regions. Previous master thesis projects include the spatial dimension of energy infrastructures, water problems, and citizens and governments co-developing green-blue regional infrastructures. In Master thesis research projects, her students often study phenomena at the science-policy nexus while working together with parties in practice (municipalities, provinces, water boards, ministries, citizen initiatives).

Possible master thesis subjects are:

  • Sustainable planning and citizen participation
    • Sustainable Cities, climate change and spatial planning
    • ‘bottom-up planning/governance’
    • Citizen participation in land-related natural resource management
    • Regional planning and collaborative development of green-blue infrastructures
  • Renewing and rethinking mapping and planning methods in today's network society
    • Framing and modeling as part of the multi-actor decision-making (networked society)
    • Internet enabled Mapping practices (open data geo-info, sensor networks)
    • Environmental monitoring networks by self-empowered communities (“eyes on the…”)
  • Governance of land-related resources: dealing with commons and externalities
    • Multi-scale governance of land use and land-related resource flows
    • Rethinking the role of land tenure and land rights systems in relation to local, collaborative planning for sustainable governance of scarce common-pool resources
    • Designing alternatives for visualizing and accounting for land-related flows

vanderkrabbenProf. Erwin van der Krabben

Research interests:
Erwin van der Krabben is professor Planning and Property Development. He is an expert in the field of urban planning in relation to land and property markets. His research focuses on governance & finance aspects of location development (value capturing), urban transformation policies, investment behavior, policies for shrinking regions, transit oriented development and game simulations. His research takes place both in a national context and an international context (Europe, US, Asia, Latin America).

Master Thesis Topics:

  • Impact of urban planning on land and property markets and vice versa (prices, return on investment, development costs)
  • Driving forces behind investment behavior of land and property owners, developers and investors on land and property markets
  • Implementation of innovative governance and finance mechanisms for urban (re)development projects

LenferinkDr Sander Lenferink

Research interests:
My research focuses on the role of public and private parties in spatial development. I am particularly interested in negotiations, competition and cooperation between public and/or private parties, for example in the formation of public-private partnerships. My research to date has focused on the role of (contract) negotiations, (procurement) procedures, information availability and expert knowledge, in processes of area and infrastructure development.

Master Thesis Topics:

  • Transit-oriented development
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Negotiations and strategic behavior
  • Information in spatial development processes
  • Private urban governance
  • Self-governance in area development

LieferinkDr Duncan Liefferink

Research interests:
European environmental politics, comparative environmental politics, Europeanization, implementation, multi-level governance, environmental pioneers.

Master Thesis Topics:

  • European environmental policy making
  • Comparative analysis of national or sub-national environmental policies
  • Europeanisation of national environmental policies
  • Implementation of European environmental policies
  • Multi-level governance (interaction between environmental policy processes at different administrative levels)

MeijerinkDr Sander Meijerink

Research interests:
My research focuses on water and climate governance. I am particularly interested in flood risk management, the management of water scarcity and drought, water quality management, ecosystem rehabilitation, and the relationship between water management and spatial planning. A first research theme that I am working on is institutional change within the water policy domain, such as the shift from government to governance and new forms of self-organization, or the shift from fighting against the water to living with water. Drawing on theories from the policy sciences, I try to better understand the drivers for change, such as new ideas and discourses or shock events. A related theme is the role of agency in realizing substantive and governance innovations. Policy entrepreneurs or leaders play a key role in such innovation processes. I am interested in how such individuals exploit opportunities to set things in motion, and how different kinds of leadership may complement each other. A third research theme that I am working on is the institutional design and performance of River Basin Organizations. RBOs are examples of special purpose organizations, which are designed to manage the hydrological unit of a watershed or basin. In my research I want to learn more about the relationship between their institutional design and performance in terms of realizing coordination (for example between water management and spatial planning) and environmental effectiveness. Finally, I am much interested in processes of cross-border cooperation in water resources management. Which forms of cooperation are there, and how can we explain their effectiveness?

Master Thesis Topics:

  • Flood risk management
  • Management of water scarcity and droughts
  • Institutional change within the water policy domain
  • The role of leadership in realizing innovations in the water sector
  • The institutional design and performance of river basin organizations
  • Processes of cross-border cooperation in water resources management

Meurs2Prof. Henk Meurs

Research interests:
Henk Meurs has extensive experience in theory and practice of transportation research and policy. Social issues regarding public transport, urban mobility, spatial planning, coordination and mobility in TOD’s , mobility management, travel behaviour and ITS are key research areas. This increasingly involves multidisciplinary approaches, including geographic, economic, psychological and governance theories and practices. The research may be both quantitative (‘data’) as well as qualitative (‘interviews’). When public transport themes are addressed, cooperation within the BRENG knowledge centre is stimulated within which government, industry and universities work together to improve public transport in the Arnhem Nijmegen region.

Possible master thesis subjects are:

  • Product quality aspects of train and bus: network development, information systems
  • Governance of Public Transport;
  • Multimodal transport (bicycle, P + R)
  • Congestion management (road pricing, parking, etc)
  • TOD’s (transit oriented development, matching networks and urban developments)
  • Economic impact of transport systems
  • Travel behaviour and measures aiming to change behaviour
  • ITS (navigation, traffic control, driverless cars)
  • Traffic modelling and data analysis, GIS applications in transport

SamsuraDr Ary Samsura

Research interests:
As an urban planner with a background in both Spatial Planning and also Engineering Policy Analysis, I am fascinated by and surely interested in how actors in urban and regional development make a decision to improve the quality of life in a certain location the efficiency of the development process. In particular, I’m focus on the collaboration or cooperation among different actors with conflicting interest and position both from public and private sectors in land management and development. In my current and previous research, I mostly use quantitative modeling and experimental economic approach, but I’m not unfamiliar with qualitative analysis approach. I’m also interested in issues related to land and infrastructure development financing, land value capture and Institutional Economics.

Master Thesis Topics:

  • Urban Land Management,
  • Application of game theory in urban planning
  • Negotiation in land and property development
  • Governance and financial strategies for land and property development
  • Policy and Decision Making Analysis in urban planning

VeenmanDr Sietske Veenman

Research interests:
My research is focused on environmental policy. The first research theme I am interested in, concerns policy learning from transnational communication: how do different actors modes of governance due to learning only, so without financial means or legislation. A related theme is governance: how do actors work together? Especially within this context, I am particularly interested in international or European comparative research. Finally, I try to better understand how long term uncertainty is dealt with in policy and politics. This includes all sorts of futures studies, such as scenarios, backcasting, critical futures studies, etc. In my research, I make use of theories from different disciplines: sociology, STT, political sciences, etc.

Master Thesis Topics:


  • Policy learning: single and double loop learning, social learning, technical learning, etc.
  • Governance: Multi-actor, multi-level en multi-sector governance (Advocacy Coalition Framework, policy arrangement approach, etc.)
  • Transnational communication: this is an under researched, yet important ‘mode of governance’: there are no regulations or no financial means involved, but based upon communication (seminars, meetings, etc), (national or international) policies change.
  • Long term uncertainty: since the financial crisis, it has become obvious that the future is uncertain; predictions are no longer opportune. How should we deal with this uncertainty? In other words: what is our ‘time print’? What are the effects of the decisions we make today for the future? Central concepts might be: cognitive and normative uncertainty, forecasting, scenarios, desirable or plausible futures, etc.


  • Environmental policy: this is a broad field, including sustainability, energy (transition), nature, water, etc.


  • International comparative research

WieringDr Mark Wiering

Research interests:
Environmental policy, water policy, institutional dynamics, flood risks, renewable energy, sustainability transitions, policy analysis.

Master Thesis Topics:

  • Societal initiatives in renewable energy
  • Flood risk management
  • Shock events and institutional change
  • European Directives in water policy or environmental policy
  • Implementation theory
  • Sustainability and transitions in comparative perspective