The PhD Programme Environmental Resource Management aims at national and international students with a qualified Master degree (M.Sc.) or German University Diploma in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Economics, Environmental Management, Environmental Law, Applied Chemistry, Biotechnology or related subjects with an overall grade no less than 2.3 according to the German grading system.

Upon successful completion of the three-year presence-based structured programme, the degree of "PhD in Environmental Sciences" is conferred by the Faculty of Environment and Natural Sciences.

The programme started in 2002 and has more than 70 successful graduates so far. As a tribute to the concept and development of this study programme, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Schmidt and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Gerhard Wiegleb won the award for outstanding efforts in the international university cooperation in 2005.

Currently 18 professors from the Faculty of Environment and Natural Sciences as well as from the Department of Environmental Law (Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences) are part of the programme. With more than 40 PhD students, ERM is currently the largest structured PhD Programme in Germany.

The programme focuses on research in the areas of sustainability, climate, water, soil, ecology, raw materials, economics and law, thereby strengthening the research profile of BTU Cottbus – Senftenberg in Biotechnology, Environment and Health as well as Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.

PhD students profit from our longstanding research expertise on sustainability and development goals as well as from the unique features of the Lusatia region as a former opencast mining area in the ongoing process of recultivation and renaturation where current challenges of climate change and sustainable land use are addressed and researched.

Our chairs and departments provide a broad network of regional, national and international partners.

This is a selection of the research areas of our departments and chairs:

Department of Ecology
  • Soil ecology
  • Conservation ecology
  • Predator & parasite ecology
  • Spatial ecology
  • Theoretical ecology
  • Landscape ecology
  • Entomology
  • Grazing ecology
  • Carcass ecology
  • Forensics
  • Protist ecology
Department of Technical Micro-Biology
  • Bioleaching with regards to recycling, ecology, law and sustainability
Chair of Freshwater Conservation

Ecology of lakes:

  • Ecology of acidic mining lakes – phytoplanktonic colonization under carbon limitation
  • Restoration and trophic development of mining lakes
  • Cyanobacteria in German lowland lakes
  • Phosphorus in lake sediments -  accumulation, transformation and remobilization

Ecology of streams and rivers:

  • Carbon transformation in land-water interfaces of disturbed river corridors
  • Biogeochemistry at the sediment-water interface
  • When streams and river banks fall dry - ecosystem metabolism of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams
  • Litter decomposition in in early successional landscapes and ephemeral streams
  • Ecological stress by shifting sediments - microbial food web and metabolism in migrating sand ripples
Chair of Water Technology
  • Hydraulic engineering
  • Mining & water
  • Treatment & processing of drinking water, ground water and domestic water
Chair of Hydrology and Water Resource Management
  • Ecohydrology of disturbed landscapes including post-mining sites
  • Modelling of complex interactions between the atmosphere, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  • Sustainable landscape development with a focus on soil and water resources
  • Hydroinformatics Systems for Integrated Water Management
Chair of Soil Protection and Re-Cultivation

Soil protection aims at sustaining or restoring soil functions. Soils - the "skin of the earth" - fulfill important functions at the interphase of atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and anthroposphere:

  • base for food production
  • habitat for soil fauna
  • filter for contaminants and groundwater
  • storage for water, carbon and nutrients
  • archive of cultural heritage

Due to its composition of mineral and organic solids, water, air, and biota, soils are the most complex of all natural environmental media.

Recultivation deals with the restoration of disturbed soils, ecosystems and landscape, e.g. after mining.

Our research is focused on topics like soil functions, soil and ecosystem development, and sustainable land use - from fundamental research to applied projects.

Chair of Geopedology and Landscape Development
  • Geomorphodynamics
  • Pedogenesis
  • Natural and anthropogenically disturbed landscapes
  • Phytoremediation
Chair of Raw Material and Natural Resource Management
  • Investigation of natural resource potentials (raw materials, ground water, underground structures) with geological and geophysical methods
  • Development of investigation concepts
  • Development of investigation systems and techniques (ground/air-borne)
Chair of Environmental Economics
  • economic analysis of environmental and resource policy instruments
  • economics of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service preservation
  • ecological-economic modelling
  • economic valuation of environmental change
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • economic analysis of land use in developed and developing countries including forest degradation, economic analysis of agri-environment schemes and payments for ecosystem services
Department of Environmental Law
  • Integrating land use planning, water resources and policy planning: Management challenges, opportunities and way forward in the context of sustainable development
  • Climate change menace and its impact on natural resource: Coping strategies and adaptation measures for highly risk regions or countries for sustainable development and livelihood.

Area of focus:
•    Agriculture, irrigation
•    Land resources
•    Water resources

This website uses cookies. There are two types of cookies: The first type supports the basic functionality of our website. The second allows us to improve our content for you by saving and analyzing pseudonymised user data. Since this second type is technically not required to run the website, you can withdraw your consent to those cookies at any time. For more information please visit our pages on data protection.


These cookies are needed for a smooth operation of our website.


For statistical reasons, we use the platform Matomo to analyse the user flow with the help of website users‘ pseudonymised data. This allows us to optimize website content.

Name Purpose Lifetime Type Provider
_pk_id Used to store a few details about the user such as the unique visitor ID. 13 months HTML Matomo
_pk_ref Used to store the attribution information, the referrer initially used to visit the website. 6 months HTML Matomo
_pk_ses Short lived cookie used to temporarily store data for the visit. 30 minutes HTML Matomo