The Wuppertal Institute has a systematic programme to promote doctoral theses. Jointly with cooperating national and international universities the Wuppertal Institute aims to strengthen its academic reputation by promoting young academics in dissertation projects and by strengthening the disciplinary basis of its transdisciplinary work.

Moreover, final theses (i.e. diploma theses and master theses) can be written and supervised at Wuppertal Institute. University lecturers supervise the research work. The doctoral examination procedure is undertaken at cooperating universities. A particular close institutionalised academic cooperation takes place with the universities of Wuppertal, Kassel and Lüneburg.

Dissertation projects at the Wuppertal Institute address selected topics of application-oriented sustainability research in the context of the divisions and cross-cutting subjects. PhD students receive one-on-one tutoring by experienced institute staff. Wherever possible, dissertation projects are developed in connection with current third-party funded projects.

The Wuppertal Institute offers doctoral students the integration into an interesting interdisciplinary working context with the Institute's researchers as well as systematic supervision and support of young researchers.

Dissertation Colloquia

Furthermore, the Wuppertal Institute has set up dissertation colloquia at which postgraduate students can discuss interim findings and problems they encounter in their work:

  • Dissertation colloquium “Sustainable Energy Supplies”, chaired by Prof. Manfred Fischedick
  • Dissertation colloquium “Sustainable mobility”, in cooperation with the University of Wuppertal and the Institute for Regional and Urban Development Research (Dortmund), chaired by Prof. Dr.-Oscar Reutter
  • Seminar for doctoral students “Methods of a Trans-Disciplinary Research”, chaired by Prof. Uwe Schneidewind until April 2020
Admission to the PhD programme

In order to take part in the dissertation programme of the Wuppertal Institute the following three requirements for the planned dissertation project need to be fulfilled:

  1. The topic needs to correspond to the research agenda of the institute and also to one of the working areas of one of the divisions.
  2. A university professor has to be willing to supervise the dissertation and also to conduct the university dissertation procedure. The Wuppertal Institute does not have the right to award a PhD degree on its own but corresponds with different universities.
  3. An external funding, e.g. a scholarship is necessary; the Wuppertal Institute provides the required infrastructure and supervision but is not in fund over financial means for its graduates, but cooperates with foundations that support young academics.

Are you interested in the WI PhD programme?

If you are interested to write your PhD in cooperation with Wuppertal Institute, please outline in a brief summery of half a page your dissertation project and your CV (contact person: Prof. Dr. Oscar Reutter). Based on your documents it will be checked in how far your idea is compatible with the institute's current research activities. If your dissertation project is of interest for the institute, we can advise you in searching a fitting university and your application for a scholarship.

Financing possibilities

Dissertations at the Wuppertal Institute are financed partly by PhD students themselves, partly by funds from the institute's third party projects and partly from outside, by third-party PhD scholarships. In this process the Wuppertal Institute cooperates with foundations that have set themselves the task of promoting young academics.

The following foundations have funded PhD projects at the Wuppertal Institute:

  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU)
  • Bergische University of Wuppertal
  • Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  • Progress College North Rhine-Westphalia
  • German Agency for Technical Cooperation
  • Hans Böckler Foundation
  • Reiner Lemoine Foundation
  • Stemmler Foundation
  • Stiftung Mercator
  • Nagelschneider Foundation
  • German Academic Scholarship Foundation
  • Vera und Georg Spahn Foundation
  • The Friends of the Wuppertal Institute

Successfully completed acadamic qualification procedures


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oscar Reutter

Co-Head of Research Unit Mobility and Transport Policy

Tel.: +49 202 2492-267

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