© Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences/Samira Schulz

Stu­dents award prizes for the­ses on sus­tain­able devel­op­ment for the first time

Stu­dents from the stu­dent “Ini­tia­tive: Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment” (sti:ne) at Darm­stadt Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences (h_da) have for the first time award­ed “Prizes for The­ses on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment” (pra:ne).

“With the new pra:ne prize, we want to cre­ate an incen­tive for even more stu­dents to deal with the top­ic of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in their final the­ses and thus help shape a sus­tain­able future,” says Anna The­is from the stu­dent project team. All stu­dents and alum­ni of the uni­ver­si­ty who com­plet­ed their the­sis at the h_da were eli­gi­ble to apply. Their work should address at least one of the EU’s 17 glob­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty goals, the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals.

Inno­v­a­tive mate­r­i­al con­cepts for wind tur­bine rotor blades were the focus of Bruno Bam­bach’s mas­ter’s the­sis in plas­tics engi­neer­ing. The work was done at the Ger­man Aero­space Cen­ter. Rein­force­ments at the so-called rotor blade root were inves­ti­gat­ed. The envis­aged mate­r­i­al con­cept should help the rotor blades to car­ry a high­er load while at the same time improv­ing the use of materials.

In order to enable school class­es to design the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of their school fes­ti­val in an empir­i­cal­ly mea­sur­able way, Johann Heinze devel­oped an edu­ca­tion­al mod­ule for sec­ondary lev­el I (grades 5–10) in his bach­e­lor the­sis in the Applied Social Sci­ences pro­gram. The mod­ule con­sists of sev­er­al units orga­nized and facil­i­tat­ed by the envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion Project Wings.

Mar­vin Hüb­n­er dealt with the resource-effi­cient choice of mate­ri­als for the “Darm­stadt Vehi­cle” (DaVe) cur­rent­ly being devel­oped in his bach­e­lor’s the­sis in the Gen­er­al Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing course. To this end, he com­pared con­ven­tion­al with alter­na­tive mate­ri­als and used key fig­ures to show which mate­ri­als are par­tic­u­lar­ly suit­able in terms of envi­ron­men­tal impact.

ESG indi­ca­tors illus­trate the sus­tain­abil­i­ty progress made by com­pa­nies. In her the­sis for her mas­ter’s degree in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, Marie Kaspers inves­ti­gat­ed whether and how quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive ESG aspects were and should be includ­ed in the vari­able com­po­nents of exec­u­tive board com­pen­sa­tion. The work was done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Merck.

Microal­gae are con­sid­ered promis­ing raw mate­ri­als. For exam­ple, bio­fu­els can be obtained from algae oils, and the algae are also being dis­cussed as an alter­na­tive in waste­water treat­ment. In her the­sis for her mas­ter’s degree in biotech­nol­o­gy, Sami­ra Reusch­er cul­ti­vat­ed microal­gae in waste­water sam­ples from the paper indus­try. It was inves­ti­gat­ed whether cer­tain pol­lu­tants were degrad­ed from the waste­water and how the oil con­tent in the algae cells could be increased at the same time.

The car­bon foot­print of heel rein­force­ments in sneak­ers was the sub­ject of Bian­ca Weber’s bach­e­lor’s the­sis in envi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing. In doing so, she exam­ined var­i­ous pro­duc­tion meth­ods and mate­r­i­al com­po­si­tions and for­mu­lat­ed rec­om­men­da­tions for improv­ing pro­duc­tion based on her calculations.

“Sus­tain­abil­i­ty is a cen­tral top­ic in research, teach­ing and in every­day uni­ver­si­ty life as a whole. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly evi­dent in the fact that h_da stu­dents are inter­est­ed in and com­mit­ted to sus­tain­able issues,” says Prof. Dr. Nicole Saenger, Vice Pres­i­dent for Research and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment. “The new pra:ne prize, ini­ti­at­ed by the stu­dent ini­tia­tive for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, makes it clear that sus­tain­able aspects are becom­ing increas­ing­ly impor­tant in all our degree pro­grams. I look for­ward to even more stu­dents being inspired for their final the­ses in the future.”