Theses proposals

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This is a shortlist of ”ICT + sustainability” bachelors’ and masters’ theses proposals that have been formulated by members of the KTH/MID sustainability team (MID4S) or by an organisation that have been in contact with us. Some of the proposals are linked to blog post that further describes the proposal. Do not be afraid to chose an ”older” proposal – your first task would however be to update the proposal should it be needed.

If you are a KTH student, please get in touch with the contact person(s) for the specific proposal or get in touch with Daniel Pargman and Elina Eriksson if you are interested in/have similar ideas and are looking for a supervisor!

You are of course also welcome to get in touch with us if you have ideas of your own about a thesis in the intersection of ICT/HCI and sustainability. Other sources of inspiration could for example be our team blog or Daniel’s personal academic blog.

———– The proposals shortlist ———–

Exjobb på Naturvårdsverket: Vad krävs för att miljöinformation ska bidra till att lösa miljöproblem?

Regeringen ser miljöinformation som en strategisk resurs i samhället för såväl företag, individ som myndighet. Naturvårdsverket har ett uppdrag av regeringen, Digitalt först – smartare miljöinformation, som syftar till att förbättra tillgängliggörandet av miljöinformation. För att detta ska vara meningsfullt måste hela miljöinformationskedjan fungera. I detta ligger att samla in, bearbeta, analysera, förklara, presentera och sprida miljöinformation.

Förslag 1

Påverkar formen av tillgängliggörandet effekten? Exempel på best practice, analyser och framgångsfaktorer bör ingå. Dels kan olika dataformat undersökas – från PDF-dokument, Word-dokument Excel-ark osv till APIer – och dels kan man undersöka ‘kanaler’/kanalval t.ex. naturvardsverket.se, oppnadata.se och hackatons (där användarna får data ‘serverat’).

Förslag 2

Ett område där medborgare kan engagera sig med hjälp av digitala verktyg och bidra i miljöarbetet är via insamling av miljödata – participatory monitoring (och är ofta inkluderad i det som kallas Citizen Science). Olika communities och medborgardrivna initiativ har växt fram. Tekniken har utvecklats och inneburit nya möjligheter till datafångst och (egna) analyser.

Vilka exempel på pågående eller avslutade initiativ finns där crowd-source:ad miljödata har används tillsammans med traditionellt insamlad miljöövervakningsdata? (vilket innebär att data regelbundet hämtas in från ett etablerade provtagningsplatser i ett förutbestämt mätsystem.) Vilka är erfarenheterna från dessa initiativ? Vad gjorde att medborgarna valde att delta? Har dessa miljöinriktade initiativ skapat ökat engagemang, aktiviteter och innovation i lokalsamhället som exempelvis i skolor och bostadsområden? Hur? 

Vänligen kontakta Marie Denward (Marie.Denward@Naturvardsverket.se, 076 115 16 52) för mer information


Exjobb på SPP: Hur kan man uppmuntra hållbart pensionssparande genom digitala kanaler?

Utmaning: SPP har ett stort engagemang och arbete kring hållbart sparande, framförallt kring hur fondselektionen ser ut och hur pensionspengarna placeras. Från tidigare insiktsarbeten vet vi att våra kunder upplever begreppet ”hållbarhet” som lite urvattnat och svårt att ta till sig. Man upplever att alla bolag påstår sig arbeta med hållbarhet men man tycker att begreppet är luddigt och man förstår inte vad det innebär konkret, därför lägger man inget större värde i det. Det innebär dock inte att man inte bryr sig om de delar som faktiskt ligger bakom, tvärtom så är många brydda av olika (från person till person) delar som innefattas av begreppet. Delar som man själv kan relatera till och ta ställning till.

SPPs målgrupp kan delas upp i tre delar; företag (som köper tjänstepension framförallt), individer (som får/fått tjänstepension från sitt företag eller som blivit pensionärer) och försäkringsförmedlare. Som pensionsansvarig på ett företag är man mer eller mindre insatt i själva pensionsfrågan och de flesta företag har inte tagit ställning till hållbarhet i pensionslösningen, även om man som företag tagit ställning för hållbarhet kopplat till sin egen produkt. Företagen har både personlig kontakt (ganska sällan) och arbetar digitalt (minst några gånger om året).

Som individ är det ovanligt att man engagerar sig i sin pension innan den börjar närma sig och det är få som har kontakt med SPP innan dess. De som är engagerade loggar in för att följa utvecklingen i sitt sparande och kanske göra fondbyten, men vi skulle önska att fler individer fick ett ökat intresse och engagemang för hållbarhet och vad hållbart sparande kan göra för skillnad.

Med den bakgrunden så ser vi en möjlighet att konkretisera hållbarhet kopplat till sparande i våra digitala kanaler för att skapa ett intresse och engagemang. Vi tror att vi, tillsammans med er och våra kunder kan hitta interaktiva sätt att lyfta hållbarhet på ett för kunden relevant sätt. På SPP finns tidigare insikter att ta del av, samt idéer och kunskap inom hållbarhetsområdet. Se exempelvis vår film kring en bättre värld att gå i pension i här: https://www.earth2045.com.

Vi är intresserade av att arbeta för både våra företagskunder och våra individkunder, men tror att vi kan behöva begränsa målgruppen för att det ska rymmas inom examensarbetet.

Projektuppdrag: Vi tänker att projektet (från vårt håll) börjar med inläsning av befintligt material och att studenten/studenterna får träffa personer från olika delar av organisationen för att förstå utmaningar och möjligheter. Vi vill också att studenten/studenterna arbetar kunddrivet (UX) med djupintervjuer och användbarhetstester under projektets gång, för en lösning utifrån kundens behov och perspektiv. SPP kan hjälpa till med rekrytering av kunder/användare till intervjuer och tester.

Vi tänker oss att vi börjar brett och att resultatet tar form under projektets gång (beroende av de insikter som samlas in från våra kunder) men att det till slut resulterar i ett förslag lämpligt att ta vidare i våra digitala kanaler (öppna sidor, inloggade sidor, digitala utskick och/eller andra plattformar). Förslaget kan tex vara en prototyp i någon form eller ett utvecklat koncept beroende på lösning och kanal.

Vi tror att uppdraget kan vara lämpligt för en eller två studenter.

Vänligen kontakta Ida Sundborg (UX-ansvarig SPP Marknad & Erbjudande), ida.sundborg@spp.se / tfn: 0768668462, för mer information.


Exjobb på Proactive HealthProactive Health

Suggestion 1: Gamification and health
Proactive Health provides digital health services, helping organisations to work with health in a modern way. The product Jepp is a gamified health app that helps people make major changes by making small improvements every day.
Evaluate the gamification elements in Jepp. What other gamification elements could generate the desired behaviour from a health- and behavioural science perspective? Which functions are effective? What is a good balance between gaming/contests and healthy behavioural changes? From a UX perspective, what design of the gamification elements would be most effective considering the target group of adult employees with limited motivation?

Suggestion 2: Notifications in a health app
Proactive Health provides digital health services, helping organisations to work with health in a modern way. The product Jepp is a gamified health app that helps people make major changes by making small improvements every day.
How do people want to be reminded when they are attempting to create a new healthy habit? Do you want to get notifications in you mobile phone, email or something else? What kind of reminders/notifications are most effective? How often should the reminders manifest? How to avoid spamming the user?

Please contact Helena Åberg, helena.aberg.ostlund@proactivehealth.se, for more information.


Sustainable transportation and ICT – What can workplaces do to decrease car use?

Workplaces influence their employees’ transportation practices both in terms of transportation during  work and for business trips, and in terms of how the employees get to and from work. The idea for the thesis project is to create a concept for a digital service that could support workplaces and their employees in adopting more sustainable transportation practices, e.g. related to work trips, new ways of commuting to work, or leasing vehicles and other employee benefits. The concept can be used as probe in interviews or other types of sessions with workplaces to increase the understanding of the employer perspective on sustainable transportation.

The thesis proposal builds on opportunities identified in the project A car-free year, which explored how three Stockholm families with children could manage life without their cars.

Please contact Hanna Hasselqvist (hannaha@kth.se) for more info


Citizen Communication

The City of Stockholm is involved in developing a “citizen communication platform”, but it is not yet clear how to best use such a platform for outreach and communication with citizens about issues pertaining to food. Taking different stakeholders’ interests into account (e.g. mainly The City of Stockholm and its citizens), you task would be to empirically examine how to best shape communication and functionality of such a system, taking into account various perspectives that are desirable and relevant to food (e.g. ecological, locally produced, animal rights, CO2 emissions, antibiotics/medicine etc.). Which goals should in fact be prioritized and how according to the priorities of citizens and of the City of Stockholm? Your task is to develop a prototype that showcases a proposed interface and suitable functionality for such a system.

This thesis would be done within a research project about food, ICT and critical design. The thesis will be done in cooperation with the City of Stockholm and you might be stationed at, and work directly with the City of Stockholm’s development administration [exploateringskontoret].

Please contact Cecilia Katzeff (ckatzeff@kth.se) or Daniel for more info


Eating insects?

Many people think about sustainability when considering what food to eat. There are many reasons for why it makes excellent sense, from a sustainability point of view, to eat insects instead of cows or chickens and many people in other countries actually do. There is now research and practical work being done in Europe to get people to eat insects, for example by producing flour that is made of insects. The greatest challenge is “the disgust factor” but another important challenge is that people just don’t know how to use insects in their cooking. We want you to design a system (a prototype) that suggests suitable matches between different types of insects and types of food (caterpillars are apparently especially suitable to mix with eggs/omelettes). Your task is then to test and evaluate the prototype on a suitable target group of prospective users who care a lot about the environmental consequences of what they eat (we have suggestions of target groups).

This thesis would be done within a research project about food, ICT and critical design and might also involve some travel (for example to Nordic Food Lab in Denmark). The thesis will be done in cooperation with the City of Stockholm who has an interest in making better use of household food waste (which can be used as insect feed).

Please contact Cecilia Katzeff (ckatzeff@kth.se) or Daniel for more info


Homo Colossus

There are many tools that help you calculated how much CO2 you (and your lifestyle) emits. Instead of calculating how  much CO2 you emit, create a service that calculates how much you would weight if you were a (large) animal that had to eat as much energy that you – through your lifestyle – uses every day. The crucial formula you need to work with is: weight (kg)^3/4 * 0.08135555 = kWh/day. This work represents a way to calculate and visualize the footprint of our lifestyles and would constitute an alternative to Ecological Footprint Analysis and Earth Overshoot Day. For inspiration from other projects of how to visualize energy and carbon emissions, see kilowh.at, carbon.to and SeeEffect.

Please contact Daniel for more info


Social Visualization of quantified self data

Quantified self is to measure various aspects of your daily activities, such as number of steps taken, hours slept, calories eaten, minutes spent on Facebook, CO2 footprint of food you have eaten and hours you have studied. This thesis suggestion is about to explore how this data can be visualized so comparisons can be made with people in close proximity (for example within the same room or within the same mobile cell ID). One suggestion could be to use some kind of augmented reality but we are open to other suggestions. We are particularly interested in using energy use and/or CO2 emissions as cases, and in that case resources can be made available for, for example, hardware purchases.

Please contact Björn Hedin for more info


Interactive tool for learning environmental impact of different kinds of consumption

All consumption has an environmental impact, but it differs very much between different products and categories of consumption. Many people might know that a new computer has a large co2 impact and that carrots have low co2 impact, but what about clothes and hotel stays? One interesting measurement is the unit ”grams of co2 per Euro” which gives completely different results. For example an iPhone has an absolut co2 emission of 56 but a co2/Euro value of 60 grams/Euro. One kg of rice on the other hand has a co2 emission of about 2 kg, but a co2/Euro value of 800 grams/Euro. The idea with this thesis is to implement some kind of solution that can visualize the environmental impact of products, both in absolut terms and in co2/Euro, and to evaluate how such insights affects learning and attitudes towards consumption.

Please contact Björn Hedin for more info


Games for learning – recycling

Swedes are in an international perspective very good at recycling things like paper, plastics and metal cans. Recycling instead of burning waste is very good from an environmental perspective, but knowing exactly what to do with some products is difficult for individuals to know. The idea here is to implement a ”game for learning” where users can practice sorting various items in the right category. The target group could either be kids or adults. The thesis includes to evaluate the learning effect of using such a tool.

Please contact Björn Hedin for more info


Evaluating Life2053 (for more info, follow the link)

Life2053.se (life2053.com in English) is an interactive website depicting one possible scenario of a sustainable lifestyles in 205o’s. In this thesis proposal we seeking a student interested in evaluating the prototype  (life2053.com) through analyzing logged data, as well as through user interviews and/or an “expert” evaluation of the prototype. Possible questions that could be explored in this thesis are: is this a convincing prototype of the future? What is more appealing and what is less appealing? What choices seem to be most popular?

Please contact Elina for more info


Sustainable IBM Chef Watson

How can “IBM Chef Watson” be adapted to promoting sustainable food consumption practices? Today IBM Chef Watson uses state of the art AI to create novel recipes on the fly. Chef Watson combines foodstuffs that might not necessarily seem to go well together into recipes that actually do appeal to human taste buds with the help of a large database of recipes together with an “understanding” of what chemical flavour compounds go together. How can today’s service be developed by adding a “sustainability filter” (layer) to the software that will encourage more sustainable food practices through its choice of proposed recipes and/or by suggesting more sustainable foodstuffs as default alternatives? The thesis could explore this at a more conceptual level with an emphasis of interviewing different stakeholders (households, companies) or alternatively explore the concept by developing mock-ups and/or functional prototypes. 

Possible organisations to work with: Coop, IBM, Ericsson, Telia. 

Please contact Daniel for more info


The Sustainable Store (COOP)

Develop methods and tools for assessing what it means to be a ”sustainable store”. Which criteria are included, what is their relative importance and how can they be measured? Are there (large?) differences between stores and if so, is it possible to establish “best practices”? Based on the results of such questions, attempt to measure or approximate the sustainability potential (impact) of ICT and media interventions. Coop already works with the concept “The Sustainable Store” so this thesis would build on their current work and on the questions they have. More information can be obtained from a research project presentation.

Please contact Cecilia Katzeff (ckatzeff@kth.se) for more info


How sustainable are today’s ICT companies? – Åke

Every company (says they) work with sustainability nowadays. Larger companies usually have an Environmental Management System (“miljöledningssystem”) and someone who is responsible for that system (goals, results etc.). Compare different companies’ goals and means and interview those who are responsible for these systems. How do ICT companies work with sustainability today? What are they aiming for tomorrow? When do environmental goals come into conflict with other goals and what is the outcome of such conflicts? The thesis could target a specific niche (hardware, software, consultants etc.)

Possible organisation: TCO Development, Dataföreningen

Please contact Åke Walldius (aakew@csc.kth.se) for more info


From energy efficiency to ”energy agility”

Energy is central to many of the issues we are facing today such as climate change. One way of addressing these issues is to strive for energy efficiency, which has been the dominant path when it comes to handling energy usage in for example servers and data centers. There are however researchers who have suggested energy agility as an alternative metric, and in this thesis proposal, we are interested in investigating what impact an energy agile server/data center system would have on end user systems such as Facebook or other cloud based solutions.

Please contact Elina for more info


Hoffice

The Hoffice concept (home office) of offering your kitchen as a pop-up workspace for one day to other Hoffice members started in 2014 and has since been spreading like wildfire both in Sweden and beyond. It is especially appreciated by entrepreneurs not the least due to the benefits of social support and the networking opportunities. There are several different aspects that could be of interest in a case study of Hoffice and you could even use the Hoffice structure to find temporary workspaces when you write the thesis itself and to find informants to interview! Hoffice is an interesting example of ”the sharing economy”, of a sustainable use of resources, of social support, of the power of relatively simple computer platforms to change patterns of behavior etc. For more information, see http://hoffice.nu/en/ and http://hoffice.nu/en/blog/christofer-on-hoffice-the-story/ as well as the Facebook group. One master’s student wrote her thesis on Hoffice in 2016 with a focus on creating a customized Hoffice platform that supports the needs for Hoffice hosts and another study (by senior researches) is right now being conducted on Hoffice guests that it would be possible to latch on to.

Please contact Daniel for more info


How sustainable is the sharing economy?

The sharing economy (or ”the collaborative economy”) is on the rise from neighbourhood ”tool sheds” and dog sharing to Uber and Airbnb. Sharing is often claimed to be sustainable (always, everywhere) but is it really if we also consider various rebound (ripple) effects? Perhaps Airbnb and couchsurfing lead to more trips being made and perhaps Craigslist/Blocket lead to people buying more stuff since they can later be sold on the second-hand market? This thesis would perform one/a few case studies of the sharing economy and analyse it in terms of sustainability. Conducting interviews with users and experts would most probably be a requirement. An initial resource for thinking about various rebound effects is the article ”Including second order effects in environmental assessments of ICT” (Rivera, M. B., Håkansson, C., Svenfelt, Å., & Finnveden, G. (2014) in Environmental Modelling & Software56, 105-115).

Please contact Elina for more info


Platforms for the sharing economy

In recent years ”the sharing economy” has exploded, applying lessons from the sharing of endlessly reproducible, zero­ marginal­-cost digital resources to the sharing of physical resources, objects, spaces and practical skills. Low-cost, low-maintainance computer platforms of various kinds have been essential in enabling these developments, but current platforms (for example piggybacking on Facebook) still face a number of problems. So how would it be possible to encourage growth and replication of grassroots sharing initiatives by maturing and scaling up the software tools (platforms) that are used so that they can help handle more instances of a successful initiative both in terms of more participants and a greater number of locations? More information can be obtained from a research project presentation ”SHARE IT: Tools for sustaining not­-for­-profit grassroots sharing initiatives”. Or from an on-going project at CESC (Centre for Sustainable Communications).

Please contact Elina for more info.


The sustainable cloud? – Daniel

Cloud services expand rapidly. Data center capacity expands rapidly. Data center energy efficiency also increases rapidly and researchers are now interested in designing a more “sustainable” cloud architecture. These different trends pull in different directions (more data centers and more data but also more efficient use of data). Where does that lead us? What is the footprint of tomorrow’s cloud computing architectures and services? More information can be obtained from a research project presentation, ”Energy-aware cloud-based software engineering”.

Organisations: several.

Please contact Daniel for more info


When the electricity price doubles

How would a doubling (or more) of the electricity prices (over a period of several years) affect different/selected parts of the ICT and/or media industries? This thesis requires ingenuity and discussions about how to go about to investigate the impact of higher energy costs!

Organisation: Schibsted, Bonnier, Ericsson, Google.

Please contact Daniel for more info


Green lifestyles for reduced energy consumption (for more info, follow the link)
We ought to change our habits to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions – but many find it hard to do that. Some manage though, and we want to support them as well as ask what can be learned from these ”early adopters” that can be relevant to the larger population. More information can be obtained from a research project presentation that we can provide you with.

Possible organizations: Transition Town Sweden, IKEA.

Please contact Daniel for more info


Who is the Off-gridder? (for more info, follow the link)

The aim of this thesis proposal is to explore the domain of people who produce their own electricity without being connected to the grid. We are interested in understanding the off-gridders, their driving forces and lifestyle choices. Furthermore we want to know what kind of solutions they have created in order to produce and consume electricity, and how they came by the knowledge of constructing these solutions.

Please contact Elina for more info.


Koldioxidvaluta (for more info, follow the link)
Vissa har föreslagit att man ska ransonera CO2-utsläpp på personnivå. Parallellt med kronor och ören betalar man också för bensinen från sin CO2-ranson (tänk ICA-kort). Hur skulle ett sådant system kunna se ut och fungera?

Please contact Daniel for more info


IT use in the post-modern city (for more info, follow the link)
How do (poor) people who live in cities in decline (for example Detroit or in all of Greece) use information and communication technologies? How are their needs similar or different from other people’s ICT needs? What can be learned from how homeless and other marginalized groups participate in (or do not participate in) ”life online”? What can be learned from how people in less affluent countries perceive and use the Internet?

Please contact Daniel for more info


Grönt distansarbete i Sverige [Green distance work in Sweden] (for more info, follow the link)
Exactly who is the distance worker? Who works at a distance and for what reasons? What is the history of distance work in Sweden? Who does it today? Find and map distance workers ”with a green agenda” (for example with a quantitative survey and/or through qualitative interviews).

Please contact Daniel for more info


Den gröna bloggosfären [Mapping the green blogosphere] (for more info, follow the link)
Hur kan man kartlägga och visualisera den gröna bloggosfären med hjälp av lämpliga verktyg samt Social Network Analysis? Eller den politiska bloggosfären?

Please contact Daniel for more info


Astroturf robot wars (for more info, follow the link)

How is ”personal management software” that fake multiple personalities used to change the public perception of the public’s opinion on the Internet? How are fake grassroots movements and campaigns (”Astroturfing”) set up?

Please contact Daniel for more info



One thought on “Theses proposals

    Team meeting 150216 « MID4S-MID for Sustainability said:
    20 februari, 2015 kl. 09:41

    […] Theses proposals […]

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