Our offer for students

Students from the University of St.Gallen can benefit from various educational offers at our institute. Our flagship program is the HSG Latam Term, the structured exchange semester on the bachelor's level to the FGV-EAESP in São Paulo. Latam Compacts are condensed deep dives into Latin Ameri-can Affairs taking place during the semester break. Our institute also incorporates relevant issues for Latin America in regular curriculum courses. Lastly, in order to move from insight to impact, we offer a range of thesis topics which are connected to ongoing research and existing institutional net-works.

Writing your thesis with us

Master and bachelor students from the University of St.Gallen have the possibility to conduct research and write their theses on topics relevant to the Latin American region. Informed by ongoing research and/or co-developed by institutional partnerships, participating students benefit from GIMLA’s strategy to close the practice – academia gap. This is done for several selected topics and based on two major modalities.

The first thesis modality offers the unique possibility to work close to and with other researchers and aim at skills development of students in scientific conduct.

The second thesis modality offers topics informed by current development challenges that are do-developed with different institutional partners. Results are shared with these stakeholders and have the potential to influence current development practice.

Chinese Impact on the Amazon

Several students have explored the Chinese Impact on the Brazilian Amazon. An academic article has been published.

Smart Cities

Currently we connect thesis assignments to an ongoing government project on smart cities in Costa Rica.

Socio-environmental Enterpreneurship

The lens of the Brazilian Amazon allows to learn more on socio-environmental enterpreneurship initiatives.

Slum Upgrading

Past theses informed review papers co-published with Cities Alliance. Findings were also presented at academic conferences.

Impact of Migration on Cities

The latest migration thesis analyzed the potential of geo-tagged twitter data to estimate migration flows between Venezuela and Colombian Cities.

The Informal Economy

A thesis on the informal economy resulted in a submission to a scientific journal.

Current Thesis Offers

Expanding the renewable share in energy supply is a fundamental requirement in most countries to meet climate targets. The challenge remains how to integrate this supply with often accentuated peak hours efficiently to the main energy grid. From the perspective of the growth potential, a lot of businesses develop digital tools to enable the efficient integration of renewables, Latin America appears to be a highly dynamic region for smart grid technologies. The interested student would establish an overview of current initiatives in the highly dynamic region of Latin America.

Collaborating Partner: HSG Competence Center Energy Management (Dr. Christian Opitz)

Format: Desktop; Master or Bachelor

Requirements: An interest in the topic and Spanish language skills an asset

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Cities administrations are increasingly under pressure how to finance and realize important projects. Linked to neoliberal reforms and de-regulations, throughout the world an important role is given to private actors while the public sector remains with often little direct means to translate urban planning visions into reality. Local governments have to be increasingly inventive in organizing the required financial means.This research aims at analyzing recent advancement in financing urban development that often take place in partnership between governments, private sector and international investments.

Collaborating Partner: WISE

Format: Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: An interest in the topic, an econ. / finance / real estate background an advantage

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Almost a billion people live in slums and many more are inadequately housed. Affordable Housing is one of the great development challenges of our time. Governments around the world increasingly acknowledge the scale of the problem and launch new interventions to remedy the situation. GIMLA advances its own research on the scientific analysis of slum upgrading and housing programs but also collaborates with very important knowledge stakeholders, such as the UHPH (Urban Housing Practitioners Hub) and Cities Alliance. Specific topics are co-developed with interested students and may range from in-depth analysis of specific projects, the review of the experiences in a country to structural investigations of specific issues in the Latin American but also other world regions.

Collaborating Partner: WISE, UHPH

Format: Onsite / Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: Portuguese, French, Spanish skills an asset

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Unaffordable housing affects billions of people around the world. Housing is either too costly or inadequate for families. From a global perspective, increasing access to and the performativity of housing microfinance (HMF) is one of the most promising ways to ensure access to decent housing. We are currently involved in a research project on the supply-side, financing and regulation of HMF in Africa that can represent exciting spinoff thesis assignments.

Collaborating Partner: Clurb and Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa

Format: Desktop; Master (exceptional Bachelor students may also be considered)

Requirements: An interest in the topic and French or Portuguese language skills an asset

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Real estate developers are central agents of change and influence urban development throughout the world. Despite the centrality of these stakeholders in steering urbanization processes and their spatial manifestation, the existing body of literature remains thin. The aim of this research project is to advance our understanding on the institutional dimension of the real estate ecosystem and highlight the interlinkages between the development industry and urban planning, policy making, as well as financial investment practices.

Collaborating Partner: WISE

Format: Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: An interest in the topic.

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Smart cities are increasingly discussed in Latin America and seen as a new urban paradigm to answer the development challenges in the 21st century. The wilful alignment of governments with the private market in the pursuit of technological innovations brings new opportunities but also risks to the highly urbanized societies in Latin America. This research project seeks to produce knowledge on smart cities and its impact on participation/accountability/bottom-up initiative as well as on sustainability and inclusion. Theses based on literature reviews as well as in-depth case studies are possible. Depending on the particular interest and motivation of the student, other topics in relation to smart cities can be pursued.

Collaborating Partner: WISE

Format: Onsite / Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: Portuguese or Spanish skills an asset

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Collaborating Partner: An international Research Network

Format: Onsite / Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: Portuguese skills an asset

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Partner: Linked to ongoing HSG project

Format: Desktop; Master / Bachelor

Requirements: An interest in the topic, legal or economic background desirable

Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

There is a strongly growing interest in using Nature-based solutions (NBS) in cities. NBS aim to use nature and natural processes to address different environmental, social, and economic challenges. Urban NBS can help to improve water management, air quality, biodiversity, and well-being as well as advance climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as reduce the risk of natural disasters. Cities around the world implement projects (e.g. sponge cities) providing a fertile ground for trans-national comparison and learning.

  • Partner: Linked to WISE
  • Format: Desktop; Master / Bachelor
  • Requirements: An interest in the topic
  • Status: Ongoing, accepting requests

Working with Us

Our institute is regularly looking for students to support our activities in São Paulo and Medellin. If interested contact us or visit this webpage for updates on specific job offers.

Former Research Assistants

HSG DDP Master's student, research assistant from 03.2022 - 05.2022

HSG Bachelor's student, research assistant from 10.2022 - 03.2023

PhD Candidate University of São Paulo, research assistant from 07.2019 - 11.2019

HSG Master's student, research assistant from 07.2018 - 07.2019

HSG Bachelor's student, research assistant from 09.2019 - 12.2019

HSG Bachelor's student, research assistant from 01.2019 - 04.2019

FIA Business School Bachelor's student, research assistant from 03.2020 - 10.2021

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