Research Training Group on Urban Green Infrastructure [RTG UGI]
The Research Training Group UGI integrates urban planning and design, urban ecosystems, and human health. It harnesses an innovative concept of social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) to tackle current issues in urban environments. Specifically, it will conduct cutting-edge research in UGIs, i.e., parks, green streets, and sustainable drainage systems, to understand the underlying mechanisms of ecosystem functions and services. Furthermore, the RTG will conduct social research in collaboration with urban communities and policymakers to approach problems at multiple levels, from individuals to governing bodies. The research is divided into three interactive and interdisciplinary clusters. A unique and rigorous training program will be led by experts in urban governance, mobility, architecture, ecosystem, and human health to achieve transdisciplinary research and education. Furthermore, candidates will work with policymakers and other scientists since urban transformation is a collaborative and international endeavor. The RTG will educate motivated scholars equipped to approach urban-centered problems with advanced tools to understand and propose sustainable solutions for people and ecosystems.
Despite much international progress in urban research, there is a lack of adequate doctoral training programs led by interdisciplinary scholars that specifically focus on fundamental research in urban environments and green infrastructure. As urbanization is increasing, the complex problems facing current and future cities must be tackled by specifically trained scholars. Urban weather patterns are increasingly unpredictable with more extreme heat, drought, and precipitation events that affect people, plants, and animals. Urban populations demand affordable housing and transportation, but also abundant urban green for recreation. Preserving human health is a significant goal, while simultaneously improving human mobility in cities with increasing complexity. Cities are facing an uncertain future, with a clear need for sustainable and resilient solutions, that support healthy inhabitants through synergistic green infrastructure. The RTG UGI bridges social, ecological, and technological domains of urban systems to address these needs through innovative research that is both process- and outcome-oriented.
Striving for excellence and internationalization, the RTG will train doctoral candidates to approach complex urban issues using operationalization (process-oriented), substitution and integration (outcome-oriented) within a SETS framework. The qualification program of the RTG includes courses in hard and soft skills, interdisciplinary research, and a learning lab as a means to integrate the individual projects and to promote interdisciplinary learning. Based on the RTG framework and objectives, the learning lab will comprise workshops and activities related to the workflow of the projects, including practical work with city partners. The research clusters will conduct trimonthly meetings with all doctoral researchers and postdoctoral scholars. Lecture series and seminars will bring in (inter)national guests but also allow TUM researchers to present emerging topics in UGI. Furthermore, self-organized lectures by the doctoral candidates will give students the opportunity to prepare events and to develop a professional network. Soft skill training is part of the qualification program and will be supported by the TUM Graduate School. A supervision concept with at least two supervisors from different research clusters will create interactions between research clusters and promote interdisciplinary training of the doctoral candidates. Other qualification tools will include placed internships with city administration or local NGOs that work with UGI. Through this hands-on experience, candidates will develop networks with regional governing bodies, and the combination of research and practice will benefit early-career researchers. All RTG activities will focus on gender equality, talent diversity, and a good work-life balance.