In debates on the future needs of society, “sustainability” has become a major issue. Introduced in forestry as early as the 18th century, the term sustainability has been defined for our time in the UN report “Our Common Future” (1987; also known as the Brundtland Report).
In accordance with this report, the term implies that a sustainable development must meet the needs of the present generation without barring future generations from meeting their own needs; in other words a fair sharing of the resources by the present generation and generations to come must be attained.
Water is an essential resource for mankind and nature. One of the specific targets of Goal 7 “Ensuring Environmental Sustainability” of the UN's Millennium Development Goals is to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. Water supply and water management tasks will be even aggravated in the future by climate-change-induced processes.
Many of the most urgent problems in the field of water and energy supply and environmental protection are related to geoscientific issues and require a sound knowledge of the foundation of our material existence: the underground and its special features and processes. Geoscientists investigate the potentials of the subsurface in order to e.g. find fossil fuels, metals and raw materials, exploit groundwater and describe the capacities of different soils and their vulnerabilities, assess land use and planning decisions, etc. Thus geoscientists have the necessary knowledge to balance the challenge of economic growth against ecological needs and social goals.
TropHEE in Darmstadt
The Darmstadt Master of Science Course “Tropical Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering” (TropHEE) aims at combining a comprehensive understanding of geoscientific fundamentals with a specific focus on issues of application that are essential in hydrogeology and environmental management. In particular, TropHEE concentrates on methods and modern techniques enabling the participants to find ways for a sustainable development of tropical and subtropical countries from a geoscientific point of view. Although in the broader framework of international development cooperation, TropHEE offers a comprehensive, research-oriented education in Hydrogeology and Environmental Geosciences and Engineering on Master level.
TropHEE started in 2006 under the name “Tropical Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Environmental Management”, after finishing the accreditation process in 2005. With its re-accreditation in 2012, the profile of the course profile is stronger than before focused on water and environmental technology issues, while strictly engineering-geology-focused issues have been omitted from the syllabus.
The students of TropHEE obtain a broad assortment of fundamental knowledge and an excellent theoretical and applied knowledge in the fields of hydrogeology, water management and land use planning with emphasis on geoscientific recommendations. Their scientific competence will be complemented by their competence of methods as well as their understanding of systems.
English has been chosen as the course language to allow participants from all over the world to attend the classes without wasting time for language familiarisation.
Holding a MSc from the TropHEE course, the graduate
- developed awareness of the geoscientific problems of his/her home country,
- comprehends the complexity of problems and tasks in the field of activity,
- is able to familiarize himself/herself with new methods in the same field or a new field of activity independently,
- earned to act in a creative and constructive manner to understand and develop new knowledge, methods and solutions,
- obtained competence of designing and grading open questions as well as the competence of recognizing structures and patterns,
- bears in mind the consequences of actions and decisions in the light of globalization and internationalization and the potential impact on technical, socio-economic and ecologic developments,
- works interdisciplinarily and internationally and goes beyond professional, administrative and political limits if necessary,
- balances various solutions and discusses decisions using facts and comprehensible arguments.
With these competences and skills the following professional areas and fields of research are opened to the graduate:
- Research in the field of transport and fate of contaminants, with specific knowledge concerning humid tropic and semiarid areas.
- Research and development in the field of sustainable groundwater protection with emphasis on tropic areas.
- Planning, design and implementation of groundwater protection areas and catchment areas as well as catchment management.
- Site investigation and remediation of brown fields and contaminated water and soil.
- Research in the field of soil erosion and protection.
- Planning, design and implementation of soil protection measures and measures to avert soil erosion.
- Investigation, assessment and sustainable exploitation of geo-resources, such as raw materials or water.
- Consulting in the fields of water management.