Each year at Eawag, around 160 Master’s and Bachelor’s students are supervised and often directly involved in research projects. Again and again, this collaboration - as well as Eawag’s flat hierarchies and interdisciplinary culture - leads to outstanding Master’s theses.
At Eawag, Master’s theses are normally integrated into research projects, which gives students the advantage of working within a set framework but still having the flexibility to inject their own perspective. Gabriel Ulrich, who received an ETH award for an excellent Master’s thesis in Biology, greatly appreciated the working atmosphere at Eawag: "I had a lot of useful input from my supervisors, which helped me to structure my experiments and analyses." More gen-erally, there was a good deal of interaction between the students and the scientists: "That helps you to feel part of a research community, which I found motivating and exciting." His Master’s thesis had been an instructive and valuable experience.
Enthusiasm and fresh perspectives
The supervisors also benefit from collaboration with the students, who always bring enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. For Christoph Vorburger, Head of the Aquatic Ecology department and Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich, the supervision of Master’s theses is one of the most satisfying aspects of his work: "Not infrequently, we can also persuade outstanding Master’s students to do doctoral research at Eawag." Many of these students, he adds, end up in positions of responsibility in government, environmental consultancies or industry. "These contacts are crucial for Eawag in fulfilling its mission." To promote the transfer of knowledge to students, Eawag maintains a number of joint professorships with ETH Zurich and EPFL, as well as with other higher education institutions in Switzerland and abroad.