Topic areas

The topic areas in which you can complete your Master's degree correspond to the current research areas of the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources - and may therefore vary.

You choose a specific topic area at the start of your studies that is important to you and your future career. Current topic areas include:

Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology

The research group investigates the various aspects of biological systems using omics technologies: from the analysis of the complete set of DNA within an organism (genomics), through the study of RNA gene expression (transcriptomics), up to the examination of the whole set of proteins expressed at a certain time point in a cell (proteomics).


This topic area focuses on the development of innovative biological products that can be used to combat various pathogens. Research is aimed at finding new strategies for the biological control of plant diseases and pests. This involves the study of specifically applicable organisms as well as new drugs developed from microorganisms and plants.


Biodiversity is primarily concerned with nature conservation, but is also increasingly relevant to  agriculture, biotechnology and medicine. Through case studies you will learn how to record relevant parameters, assess the results achieved and use them in practice.

Organic Agriculture

Today, most foods can be organically produced and processed, but in terms of energy efficiency, water consumption, etc. significant improvement is needed. Furthermore, there are many opportunities to incorporate new technologies into organic production. Among other things, you will   be working on the development of devices for estimating the risk of damage from fungal diseases in the field.

Soil Ecology / Contaminated Sites

Soil is fundamental to the lives of people, animals and plants. In addition to water balance and biodegradation processes, particular physical and chemical stresses in soils and their effects on soil fertility and people are at the heart of research in this area.

Geography of Food

Our society's life- and consumption style is causing increasing depletion of resources and is contributing to social, economic and environmental stresses. You explore food sustainability at all stages of the value chain.

Green Roofs and Urban Ecology

Roof and facade greening is increasingly being focused on as a method of providing a more balanced ecology in cities. Eco-faunistic and botanical pilot programmes and performance reviews provide new opportunities for urban nature. In this field you will develop new solutions to promote biodiversity on roofs and in other urban green spaces.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Future energy supplies will be increasingly based on renewable energies. In order for fossil energy sources to be replaced and nuclear power to be phased out, increased awareness of energy use is required. Efficient energy systems based on renewable energies and their optimal integration into the environment are the focus of this field.

Management of open space

Research projects develop tools for the management of urban green spaces. Currently, the Switzerland Green City label is being created together with business partners and cities. The goal is to promote biodiversity in cities through sustainable production, design and management.

Green and Health

Our lifestyles and consumer habits are linked to increasing consumption of resources and contribute to social, economic and environmental stresses. As a result, issues associated with the sustainability of food at all stages of the value chain are the primary focus in this topic area.

Landscape and regional development

The development of cultural landscapes is the central focus of this field. Cultural landscapes fulfil many functions and are closely related to societal and regional development. Their importance as natural and cultural resources is being called into question by the acceleration of changes that are being made to our landscapes in many places. At the same time, societal demands for improvements in the quality of recreation experiences in our landscape are also growing.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

LCA is a method for the scientific and quantitative environmental evaluation of products, technologies, and decisions. This topic area offers the opportunity to immerse in the current sustainability research and to analyse such different aspects like the carbon footprint, the embodied energy, or the resource consumption of a product. In terms of eco-design LCA results can be used for an ecological production optimisation. Hence, LCA is a crucial tool for future sustainability experts.

Nature and Leisure

The increasing trend towards individual recreational activities in the countryside means that the pressure on natural areas, including plant and animal species, is rising. Furthermore, new conflicts between recreational users are also beginning to appear. This field aims to develop new methods for exploring the specific needs of different recreational users.

Wildlife Parks and Nature Reserves

The number of nature reserves and wildlife parks is growing worldwide. Depending on their objectives, either biodiversity, recreational use or the regional economy are the driving factors behind this development. Managers need to be able to rely on appropriate tools and methods for monitoring and guiding visitors, as well as for managing the natural environment. The focus of this topic area is the development of new methods.

Nature- and culture-based tourism

Experiencing intact natural and cultural values is at the heart of nature- and culture-based tourism. This type of tourism contributes to the upkeep and sensitive development of the landscape and countryside. Innovative methods and tools to address these issues are developed in this field.


Ecotechnology refers to engineering that is based on ecological principles. This field is focused on the research and development of natural processes that clean waste water, process organic waste or allow buildings to be cooled. The objective is to achieve a high level of solar energy driven recycling - such as using natural systems for waste water treatment and fish farming in recirculation systems.

Wildlife Management

Currently wild animals are caught between the need to preserve their natural habitats and man’s wide-ranging demands on this natural environment. In this field, methods are developed to record species-specific behaviour and the ways in which selected species use their natural environment in order to secure these habitats for the future.