DAIDA foundation Global Urban Thesis Award

DAIDA foundation Global Urban Thesis Award

The annual DAIDA foundation Global Urban Thesis Award aims to acknowledge and support master graduates who, through their work, help to improve the urban infrastructure and living conditions for vulnerable groups in the rapidly growing cities of developing economies.

Do your university programmes have an urban/environmental research or design component?

If so, your students are eligible to submit a thesis for the DAIDA foundation Global Urban Thesis Award.

2020 Theme

The theme for 2020 is Water and Development. We specifically encourage theses on water supply, flooding and/or drought-related to urban vulnerable groups in the developing world to apply. The thesis must also link to one or more of the selected SDG targets for this award and it must be written in English.


1st prize:      €11,000 (€6000 Best Thesis + €5000 for follow-up (research) project)

2nd prize:     €5000

3rd prize:      €4000

How to participate

At this stage, the call is open for universities. In order to participate and disseminate the DAIDA Award call for submissions, institutional representatives must indicate their interest by filling in this form by the 30th of April 2020. Within a few days, IHS will provide you with the following materials:

  • The call for submissions & application form to be disseminated among students
  • A digital flyer with all important information
  • A sample text to be used in e-mails/blog articles or social media to disseminate the call

Selection procedure

Following the dissemination of this call by the university, students are invited to submit the following items to their own programme coordinator:

  • an abstract of their thesis
  • a completed application
  • a short proposal for a follow-up project*
    *This follow-up project can be a research project or an applied project. Students without a follow-up proposal are only eligible for the 2nd or 3rd prize.

The study programme coordinators from each university subsequently select the best 3 applications and submit those applications to IHS before the 15th of October 2020. The Award committee will select the winners and announce them in November 2020.

Selection criteria

For the thesis:

  • Relevance for urban vulnerable groups
    A clear focus on challenges for disadvantaged and vulnerable urban groups in the Global South
  • Innovative perspective
    An innovative approach on how to tackle these challenges             
  • Policy relevance
    The policy implications and recommendations of the work for improving the livelihoods and living conditions of vulnerable urban groups
  • Link to SDG target(s)
    The link to and potential contribution to help reach one or more of the selected SDG targets
  • Academic quality/research design
    A clear link between research questions and relevant theory. The justification of the methodological approach and its limitations

For the follow-up (research) project:

  • Goals and objectives
    A clear intention of what the project wants to accomplish. Objectives that derive from the goals and constitute measurable targets.
  • Methods, timeline and costs
    The justification of the methodological approach. A clear plan, including a timeframe and specifications of costs.
  • Outputs and results
    The relevant outputs which are expected (e.g. publication, a new method, new tool etc.

Selected SDG targets relevant to the award

  • 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

    6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations

    6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

    6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

    6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    6.A By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    6.B Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

  • 11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

    11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.

  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

    13.2 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

    13.B Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in less developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.