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Topic list for potential master theses or internships

You want to write your master thesis in the landuse group of PIK? Or you want to stay for a longer internship? Please contact us!

Below you find a list of potential topics within the Landuse Group. If you get in contact, we might also find together further interesting topics. Due to the complexity of the subject, we can only offer internships for 6 months or more, and master thesis supervision for 6 - 12 months. Unfortunately, we cannot offer payment for the internships or master thesis.

Where does this number come from? 

Science needs to be transparent and reproducible! When working with several data sources and various calculations - as we do - one can easily loose track of how a final result was actually derived. We have some ideas on how to automatically keep track of all of it and make not only our research but also the research of others more accessible. Do you want to help shaping research more towards transparency and reproducibility?
Required Skills:
Abstract thinking and solid programming skills in R. Contact: Dr. Jan Philipp Dietrich

The use of crop-protection chemicals in agriculture

The use of crop-protection chemicals like herbicides, pesticides or fungicides depends on the cultivated crops and the climatic and economic conditions in a country. We would like to build a small model that can be used to forecast their use in the coming decades. Unfortunately, data is scarce for this exercise, so some data mining and processing will be required.

Required Skills: You need advanced programming skills in R or any other programming language.  Contact: Dr. Benjamin Leon Bodirsky

What determines agricultural production costs

Agricultural production costs are determined by many factors, such as soil quality, water availability, labor or fertilizer costs and many more. But do costs rather increase with area or with production amount?  And how will costs develop in the future? As this is a highly important topic for the correct simulation of global land use patterns, we want to understand it better. In order to do so, we need to analyze cost data from different sources such as  the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), provided by the European Commission, or the global data set EORA MRIO, a global input-output table, and there relations between other economic data such as GDP or investments in agricultural research and development.
Required Skills: You need advanced programming skills in R or any other programming language. Statistic knowledge would be of advantage. Contact:  Dr. Anne Biewald and Dr. Benjamin Leon Bodirsky

Global estimates for municipal solid waste

What sheep eat - and how much they fart

Sheep and Goat eat a lot of grass. How much on the global scale? We dont know. But we want to know. I have some ideas how we can jointly estimate how much grass they eat. Then we could see how much CH4 emissions stem from sheep and goat. Required Skills: You need advanced programming skills in R. Contact:  Dr. Benjamin Leon Bodirsky 


Tasty, but unfortunately unhealthy. How much sugar will be eaten in the future? Or how much oil? Lets find out! Required Skills: You need advanced programming skills in R. Contact:  Dr. Benjamin Leon Bodirsky

CO2 fertilization. Good for plants but only if?

CO2 fertilization stimulates photosynthesis in C3 plants and increases water use efficiency in all plants. But can it help to achieve food security? Required skills: You need advanced programming skills in R or other languages and some basic knowledge of statistics and data analysis are helpful. Contact: Christoph Müller.

Boxing data: operationalization of measured data

Measurements of field trial data come in bits and pieces, which greatly hampers data analysis. Can raster data formats help? Let's assess if storing measurements in gridded form can help, how suitable the netCDF data format and the corresponding toolboxes (cdo, nco) are for agricultural field measurement data. This work will be conducted in cooperation with the Forschungszentrum Jülich, including the option to participate in measurement campaigns there. Required skills: You should have a basic understanding of programming (e.g. in R or cdo, nco), data analysis and statistics. Contact: Christoph Müller.

Aquaagriculture - How are agriculture and aquaculture connected?

Fish protein is nutritious, and by replacing land-based livestock, it may reduce the pressure from land systems. However, wild fish stocks are depleting. Is aquaculture a sustainable alternative? What will its role be in the future? How much crops do aquaculture fish eat already today, and how may this change in the future? Required Skills: You need advanced programming skills in R.  Contact:  Dr. Benjamin Leon Bodirsky

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