Our PhD students (R to V)

Larissa Shnayder

Project title: Supply Side Segmentation for Socially Responsible Food Innovation

Project summary: This project is in collaboration with researchers from Wageningen University, on a larger NWO-funded project called "Matching Supply and Demand Side Preferences in Food Innovation." I study motivations for corporate social responsibility in the food industry and the food industry supply chain, and how those motivations can be stimulated with policy. Using Discrete Choice Experiments, I explore firms' preferences for specific attributes of CSR initiatives, and consider how we might use this information to stimulate responsible behavior without necessarily legislating it directly.

Related platform: Making transitions happen

Aniel Shri

Project title: DC Grids for the Built Environment

Project summary: Since the invention of semiconductor devices, such as the transistor, more and more appliances have started using Direct Current (DC) in their internal circuits (computers, cell phones, TVs, radios, LEDs). Manu types of renewables, such as photovoltaics and storage elements, such as batteries, deliver energy in the form of DC. However, because of legacy reasons, the electrical infrastructure between appliances, renewables and storage is in Alternating Current (AC). Because of this mismatch, several conversion stages are required, resulting in inefficient use of available energy. This mismatch also results in more bulky appliances and increased use of material, and thus lager eco-footprint. To solve the mismatch, my research focusses on how to replace the AC infrastructure with one that works with DC in an efficient way and with the lowest ecological footprint.

Related platform: Transforming the built environment

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Anna Solcerova

Project title: Blue Green Dream. Role of water in the cooling effect of blue-green climate adaptation facilities in the urban environment

Project summary: Focus of this PhD is to reveal the role of water in the cooling effect of blue-green climate adaptation facilities in the urban environment and to investigate the relation between water in urban areas - and its availability for plants and evaporation - and the thermal effects of related hydrological processes in green roofs,  urban ponds,  etc. We aim to quantify the effect of these blue-green facilities on ambient air temperature, water availability and water demand during hot summer conditions and droughts.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

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Ingrid Super

Project title: Improving city-scale carbon budget estimates using highly temporally and spatially resolved emission data

Project summary: Urban areas contribute about 70% to the global CO2 emissions. Therefore, initiatives to reduce urban greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group) are important. These actions boost the demand for strategies to monitor emission reductions and policy efficiencies at urban scales and this requires accurate knowledge on GHG emissions. Moreover, international cooperation might well require trust by verification. However, there is a lack of accurate and independent knowledge on GHG emissions and emission trends in urban areas. By combining multiple sources of information (models, emission databases, observations), the accuracy of estimated emissions can be improved. Moreover, using different kinds of observations can provide independent verification. The ultimate objective of this project is to develop such a framework that can be used by cities worldwide to assess and improve the effectiveness of their climate mitigation policies.

Related platform: Greenhouse gas monitoring

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Ricardo Teixeira da Silva

Project title: Economies of compaction: resources efficiencies in Metropolitan Food Clusters

Project summary: Climate change impacts are currently an issue globally accepted and are a multi-sector concern. Considering the worldwide economic crisis and the world food problems, there is a need to develop new strategies for the future of agricultural and urban areas that could help mitigate the effects of climate change and support a more efficient use of the agricultural areas. My project aims to contribute for a better knowledge of the economic and physical properties constraints under different future scenarios and to support better decision-making processes for land use transitions under climate change.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

Erik van den Elsen

Project title: Development of new Calibration techniques for in-situ water content sensors

Project summary: Calibration methods advised by producers of soil moisture sensors, comprise sieving and drying of specific soil material, thereby removing specific soil properties that are essential for accurate assessment of soil moisture values in the field (soil structure, organic components). A new method is being developed that preserves all important soil properties by using undisturbed soil samples from the field, thereby obtaining calibration data that is optimally matched to the conditions found in the field. An additional method is being developed to save time while calibrating large numbers of sensors, which are often used in large field campaigns.

Related platform: Land and water

Interesting links: The method and protocols that are being developed will be tested in the currently on-going research project CASCADE (www.cascade-project.eu). The method can be applied immediately.

Didi van Doren

Project title: Scaling-Up Low-Carbon Urban Development

Project summary:  In pursuance of mitigating climate change and promoting sustainable development,  low-carbon initiatives are implemented in many European cities that aim to fulfill societal and development demands, with no or limited GHG emissions. Yet, how can such initiatives ‘go to scale’ and become accepted common practice? The central research problem of this PhD research project is on how the scaling-up of low-carbon urban initiatives focused on energy conservation can be promoted. The research has two key objectives. The first objective is to study the barriers to the scaling-up of low-carbon urban initiatives, and to examine how different types of policy instruments - applied by state and non-state actors- can address these barriers. A second research objective is to examine how a city's institutional capacity influences the effective application of different types of policy instruments in furtherance of scaling-up low-carbon urban initiatives. 

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

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