Social Responsibility and Sustainability

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Undergraduate dissertation prizes awarded

The Department for Social Responsibility & Sustainability is pleased to announce that two students have been awarded prizes for their outstanding undergraduate dissertations.

Illustration: McEwan Hall graduate with dissertation prize emblem

In collaboration with different academic Schools, SRS dissertation prizes are awarded to highlight and recognise student research on social responsibility and sustainability themes.

Two entries were chosen by a panel of academics from across the University. The undergraduate entries were judged on their contribution to furthering the knowledge and/or understanding of social responsibility and/or sustainability.

Each winner is awarded £150 and a £50 voucher for an ethical organisation of their choice.

The Prize Winners

Matteo Crow, MA Sustainable Development

Dissertation title:  Integrating social equity and the common interest: Assessing the sustainability of California’s water governance.

Summary: Matteo’s dissertation examines social equity and sustainability considerations in California water governance, specifically looking at the historical legal doctrine which has led to current inequitable water allocation and control. It examines the benefits of privatisation versus public control of water, and the role of government in the responsible governance of resources. This dissertation aims to bridge the gap between theory and legal doctrine to examine how certain defining principles of the law can exacerbate sustainability issues, especially as populations grow and resources become scarcer. It also highlights the issue of lacking holistic sustainable development, where environmentalism and desire for economic growth often undermine social equity.

Matteo’s dissertation is very well-written and argued, and demonstrates an excellent understanding of the issue of water access and water rights in the USA. It takes an innovative approach using a historical framework, and provides key insights into the complexity of the issue.

Judges’ comments

Janine Duffy, MA Sustainable Development

Dissertation title:  'Ento-preneurship’: The rise of the corporate environmental food regime?

Summary: Janine’s dissertation explores how entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is envisioned as solution to the global food crisis. It asks questions around who produces, who controls and who benefits from entomophagy, drawing in aspects of both environmental and social sustainability. Its aim is to illuminate how these actors envision entomophagy as a potential solution to the food crisis, and what extent they either challenge or reinforce (highly criticised) neoliberal food security approaches and the current structuring of the food system. Issues of power relations and structural inequalities lie at the heart of the current failings of the food system, however the entomophagy movement not only largely fails to address or acknowledge such issues, but it could also be said that the movement has the potential to reinforce their existence.

Janine’s dissertation is very well researched and written, and provides a rigorous and critical examination of an area that is not yet well understood. It provides a good examination of food security issues, and how eating insects fits within a wider food policy context.

Judges’ comments

Apply for a Masters dissertation prize

If you are a Masters student completing your dissertation in 2017, you are welcome to submit your dissertation for an opportunity to win one of the Masters' dissertation prizes. 

Quick eligibility checklist

To be considered, the dissertation must:

  • contribute to furthering knowledge and/or understanding of social responsibility and/or sustainability
  • have been marked this year
  • have achieved a grade of 65 or above

Find out more and register your interest for Masters dissertation prizes