Habitat Unit

DAAD/BMZ, 2016  2020
Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Jakub Galuszka, Dr. Anna Steigemann 

Wits – TUB Urban Lab Interdisciplinary Bilateral Postgraduate Studies Programme

The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement have highlighted the fundamental roles played by cities and local urban stakeholders in achieving sustainable development. The Habitat III process and the New Urban Agenda (NUA), currently under discussion and expected to be agreed in Quito in October 2016, is a unique opportunity to strengthen the urban narrative globally and provide an enabling framework for cities and local urban stakeholders to achieve SDG goals. By recognising that cities and their inhabitants safeguard global common goods, such as climate, economic prosperity, social integration, democratization and political stability, a profound change in policy responses is needed to enable truly transformative actions, motivating changes in the way we use, build and govern our urban environments.

The bilateral Wits-TUB Urban Lab programme supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) seeks to improve graduate education in urban fields across sub-Saharan Africa. Both lead partners, the Habitat Unit at the School of Architecture of the Technische Universität Berlin, and the School of Architecture and Planning at University of the Witwatersrand offer a new urban-oriented graduate and postgraduate training and capacity building programme that would effectively address the challenges and needs outlined above.

The overall objective of the programme is to: Contribute to the implementation of urban-relevant SDGs and the New Urban Agenda in sub-Saharan Africa through the development of a sustainable, bilateral academic programme at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and TU Berlin (TUB) that will deliver increased capacities at institutional and individual levels in academia, civil society, private and public sectors. The main project activities will include bilateral exchange activities, workshops and conferences implemented through the Wits-TUB Urban Lab and will focus on four innovation areas that address SDG implementation in urban areas: 

  • Integrated approaches towards SDG implementation
  • Implementation tools
  • Political context for urbanisation 
  • Practice orientation: Wits-TUB Urban Studio

The programme offers scholarships to African students with the first scholarships available for the masters studies at Wits University commencing in 2017.

Call for Scholarship Applications: Co-producing urban sustainability transformations: Wits-TUB Urban Lab – PhD Programme

One fully-funded PhD scholarship will be awarded on a competitive basis to a female candidate with South African citizenship for study at University of the Witwatersrand starting in July 2017, in collaboration with Technical University Berlin.

The DAAD/BMZ funded Wits - TUB Urban Lab offers a PhD programme based on overall six prestigious PhD scholarships, five of which are already awarded. The advertised call invites PhD research contributions, which question whether co-production can serve as a new paradigm to achieve transformation to sustainability in urban areas.

How would existing conflictual co-production partnerships need to evolve and what new state-civil society-private sector interfaces might be needed? And what are the roles of urban professionals and researchers in this context?The submission deadline for scholarship applications is 1 May 2017. Skype-interviews with shortlisted candidates will take place immediately afterwards and decisions communicated by mid May. The scholarships are subject to admission into Wits University’s (School of Architecture and Planning) PhD programme being granted to the selected candidates. The candidates with degrees from outside of South Africa, are required to possess at the time of application a valid assessment of the candidate’s qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). During the current selection process one female candidate with South African citizenship will be selected. The scholarships are effective from 1 July 2017. The new scholarship holder must enrol as full time students in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Witwatersrand and complete their research within 3.5 years (July 2017 – December 2020).

Application deadline for female, South African citizens: 1 May 2017. Application must include:

• Cover letter

• Completed Wits-TU Berlin Bursary Application Form (click to download the form online)

• All degree certificates

• All academic transcripts (showing all marks obtained, with official translation if not in English, and official explanation of the marking system if not in %)

• CV, with details of previous academic research and publications, as well as work experiences (academic and non-academic)

• Up to three reference letters (at least one reference letter from an academic)

Please send you application including all the required material to taki.sithagu@wits.ac.za


For further information visit: www.wits.ac.za/archplan/postgraduate-bursaries/ or contact the project coordinator Ms Taki Sithagu, taki.sithagu@wits.ac.za

Principal Investigators of the programme: Prof. Fana Sihlongonyane (Wits), Prof. Marie Huchzermeyer (Wits), Prof. Philipp Misselwitz (TUB)

The programme is funded by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


Academic partners +

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, School of Architecture and Planning, Professor Mfaniseni Sihlongonyane, Professor Marie Huchzermeyer

academic partners


Jakub Galuszka

Habitat Unit, Room A 622
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21908
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907