THESys Award

Bachelors and Masters

Since 2015, IRI THESys has been awarding prizes for excellent Bachelor and Master theses in the field of human-environmental research for students at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The THESys Award Ceremony takes place every winter semester and sees the talented Bachelor and Masters students present their winning theses. Many of the past recipients have remained connected to IRI THESys throughout their academic careers—several even joining the THESys Graduate Program.

Application Process

The submitted theses may deal with topics in the fields of land, water, food, climate or
infrastructure & energy. Besides scientific excellence, the nominated theses are evaluated for their contribution to answering an interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary research question in the context of IRI THESys’ research areas. Furthermore, applications should state the potential societal impact of their work. Theses can be written in either English or German.

In each category a first prize of EUR 250 and a second prize of EUR 150 is awarded. Prizes may be used for academic books, scientific travel or the publication of the thesis. Cash payment is not possible.

The winners will receive a certificate and are given the opportunity to present their theses in a short lecture during the lecture series Der grüne Faden of the student-driven Sustainability Office at HU Berlin.

Call for Applications

The next application round will commence in the autumn of 2024. Please check this page then to find the current call for applications.

A complete application consists of:

  • the thesis in PDF format
  • the application form completed by the student and one of the supervisors
  • a copy of the degree certificate and a transcript of records which proofs that the thesis was passed, including the final grade

Former winners

IRI THESys compliments all winners on their outstanding work!


Paul Schulze, Geography, BA thesis, 1st prize
The ‘Hardest Working River in the West’ under a Changing Climate – Long-term Water Planning and Adaptation Strategies of Metro Phoenix Municipalities in the Light of an Uncertain Future for the Colorado River Water Supply

Camilla Geiger, Geography, BA thesis, other prize (shared)
Finding Common Ground: How community gardens contribute to a better human-nature relationship and offer a possible outline for a sustainable urban life

Karim Abou Ouf, Agricultural Sciences, BSc thesis, other prize (shared)
Investigating the Effects of Methylsalicylate on Salt Tolerance of two Birch Species, Betula grossa and Betula corylifolia, In Vitro


Benjamin Färber, Agricultural Economics, MSc thesis, 1st prize
A sustainable business model approach to advance the adoption of agroforestry for the region of Lower Bavaria, Germany

Hannah Prawitz, Integrated Natural Resource Management, MSc thesis, other prize (shared)
Towards modeling the Anthropocene: Conception and analysis of planetary-scale social-ecological feedbacks

Nora Spirkl, Psychology, MSc thesis, other prize (shared)
Fighting For Future: Young People and the Climate Crisis – Agency, Coping, and Anxiety


Colin Lehmann, Business Administration, BA thesis, 1st Prize
Die Auswirkungen des Ukraine-Krieges auf den optimalen Strommix in Deutschland

Sophie Vermeulen, Geography, BA thesis, 2nd Prize
Nachhaltige orts-gebundene Gemeinschaftsinitiativen als Mensch-Natur-Beziehungen stärkende Räume. Eine qualitativ-empirische Untersuchung des Erlebens von Naturverbundenheit in einem GEN-Ökodorf


Sarah Felix, European Ethnology, MA thesis, 1st Prize
Der beanspruchte See: Topologien der Koexistenz am Berliner Müggelsee

Eva-Maria Kachold, Philosophy, MA thesis, 1st Prize
Individuelles Handeln und Klimawandel: Eine tugendethische Perspektive

Alexander Meinert, European Ethnology, MA thesis, 1st Prize
(How) to grow a home for the many-legged. A university campus in Berlin as a project space for multispecies care and sustainable green areas in the city

1st Prize

Alea Grote, Agricultural Economics, MSc thesis
A systems perspective on insect feed as an alternative protein resource in German animal production

Jonas Jäger, Philosophy, BA thesis
Urbaner Naturschutz – Welche Gründe sprechen für Naturschutz in Städten?

2nd Prize

Mitja Seyffert, Integrated Natural Resource Management, MSc thesis
Exploring the Role of Local Administration in Agricultural Innovation Processes – The Case of Agroforestry in Brandenburg

Dzeneta Hodzic, MSc thesis
Tracing Renewable Energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Imaginaries of Europeanisation in Infrastructuring Processes of the Energy Sector
[To read Dzeneta’s work, please contact her directly]

1st Prize

Marie Neuwald, Integrated Natural Resource Management, MSc thesis
Entwicklung von Innovationen für die extensive Bewirtschaftung von Moorstandorten. Management-Herausforderungen für beteiligte Akteure

Rebecca Geyer, Geography, BSc thesis
Ermittlung von Potentialflächen für den Wiesenschutz im Biosphärenreservat Spreewald mithilfe der Methode der Partizipativen Kartierung

2nd Prize

Josef Kaiser, Geography, MSc thesis
Payments for Ecosystem Services as a Promising Approach for Successful Nature Conservation? Definitions, the Role of Spatial Scales and Critique: A Systematic Literature Review

Benedikt Walker, Sozialwissenschaften, MA thesis
URBANIZATION AND WIND ENERGY: The “Bernauer Erklärung” as a case study of interdependencies between urbanization and energy transition processes.

Sarah-Juliane Starre, Geography, BSc thesis
Ländliche Räume und Mobilität mit erneuerbaren Energien in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Eine Bestands- und Potenzialanalyse zur Identifizierung von Gemeinden für Elektromobili-tät am Beispiel des Landkreises Vorpommern-Rügen
[To read Sarah-Juliane’s work, please contact her directly]

1st Prize

Carolin Hoffmann, Integrated Natural Resource Management, MSc thesis
Colombia and the prospect of peace: Is there hope for a slowdown of deforestation in the foothills of the Amazon? An analysis of deforestation patterns and potential preventive measures

Marc Lange, European Ethnology, BA thesis
Qualitative GIS in Ethnographic Research: Reviewing Recent Studies and Making a Case for an Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Research Tool

2nd Prize

Constanze Werner, Physical Geography of Human-Environment-Systems, MSc thesis
A Multi-Criteria Analysis as an Alternative Approach for the Planetary Boundary of Land System Change

Simon Thomsen, Geography, BSc thesis
Comparing deforestation rates and patterns along the Colombian-Ecuadorian border