Habilitation theses & Dissertations

CDE promotes academic careers and young academics. In collaboration with the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern as well as other institutes and partner universities, CDE supervises habilitation theses and dissertation projects in Sustainable Development. For more information on the PhD programme, see International Graduate School (IGS) North-South.


Andreas Heinimann

MSc in Environmental Science ETH Zurich; PhD in Integrative Geography and Sustainable Development University of Bern. Habilitation entitled: "Land Use Systems and Sustainable Development: Mesoscale Approaches in Land System Science”, 2017

Sandra Eckert

Msc in Geography, University of Zurich; PhD in Geography, University of Zurich. Habilitation entitled: "Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies in Support of Sustainable Natural Resource Management".

Johanna Jacobi

MSc in Geography (minors: Biology and Social Anthropology); PhD in Geography. Habilitaiton entitled: "Transdisciplinary Pathways to Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems: Obstacles and opportunities for co‐creating knowledge and transformative action", 2019

Flurina Schneider

MSc in Geography (minors: law, botany, environmental protection); PhD in Integrative geography and sustainable development. Habilitation entitled “Transdisciplinary and Transformative Research for Sustainable Governance of Natural Resources: Towards Intra- and Intergenerational Justice”, 2016


Theresa Tribaldos

MSc in Geography, University of Zurich; MA in Geopolitics, Territory and Security, King's College London; PhD in International Relations, ETH Zurich. Habilitation, working title: “Food system transition and transformation: Justice, sustainability and transdisciplinarity“

PhD graduates as of 2019:



Markus Giger

Dipl. Ing. Agr. ETH Zurich, Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Post-Universitaire (Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen, Montpellier) ; PhD thesis: „International Land Acquisitions in the Global South: Patterns, Drivers, and Impacts”

Matheus Alves Zanella

BSc in International Relations (University of Brasilia), MSc in Rural Development (Humboldt University of Berlin, Ghent University, and AgroCampus Ouest-Rennes); PhD studies: Between Global Committees, National Policymaking and a Single Kitchen: Governing Food Systems Towards Sustainability in an Era of Multi-Stakeholderism


Lilian Trechsel

BSc in Sport Science and Geography (University of Bern), MSc in in Geography (University of Bern); PhD studies: Learning for Sustainable Development in Higher Education and Beyond: Finding and Shaping Transformative Spaces

Vong Nanthanvong

Higher diploma in Agronomy, MSc in Geography (University of Bern), Advanced Master in Development Studies (Graduate Institute Geneva); PhD studies: Pathways to sustainable agricultural investments in the Lao PDR: Transformations in natural resource and labour relations through land-based investments and their impacts on human well-being

Mélanie Feurer

BSc in Agriculture, MSc in Life Sciences (Bern University of Applied Sciences), MSc in Geography (University of Bern); PhD studies: Ecosystem services for communities in forest frontiers – An assessment of nature’s benefits to local stakeholders under different land use and tenure systems in a tropical frontier landscape in Myanmar

Lysann Schneider

MA in Interdisciplinary Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Geography (FU Berlin and HU Berlin); PhD studies: Land use change and resource management. Impacts on migration and climate in northeast Tizimín, Yucatán


Helen Gambon

BA in Social Anthropology (University of Bern); MA in Anthropology of Transnationalism and the State (ATS) (University of Bern); PhD studies: Constitutionality processes and social-ecological dynamicsin the Pilón Lajas Indigenous Territory and Biosphere Reserve

Donia Mühlematter

Engineer in Agricultural Science (Carthage University); MSc in Drylands management and Combating Desertification (Carthage University); MSc in Integrated Drylands Management (Chinese Academy of Science); PhD in Desertification, Environment and Climate Change (Carthage University); PhD studies (University of Bern): Towards sustainable land management in degraded ecosystems: Assessments of land degradation and land management in northwest Tunisia

Heliodoro Ochoa

Bachelor in Geography (University of Guadalajara); Master in Regional Environmental and Development Studies (Ibero-American University Puebla); PhD studies: Struggling for sustainable water governance: Social conflicts and alternatives from the bottom up in Mexico

Elena Zepharovich

Bachelor in Development Studies (University of Vienna); Master in Sustainable Development, Management and Policy (MODUL University Vienna); PhD studies: Deforestation and Environmental Justice in the Argentinean Chaco


Achiba Gargule

BA in Land Economics (University of Nairobi); MA in International Political Economy (Newcastle University, UK). PhD Studies: Renewing disruption: the state, pastoralism discourses and development practices at the margins of Kenya 1965-2015.

Chantal Ingabire

Bachelor in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (National University of Rwanda); Master in Agribusiness Management and Trade (Kenyatta University); PhD in Agricultural Economics (Egerton University). PhD studies: Market participation and its impact on food security and rural employment among smallholder women farmers in Rwanda.