Applied Research Projects (Capstones) 

Applied Research Projects (Capstones) bring together small groups of students from the Graduate Institute with partners from diverse sectors of International Geneva to conduct innovative research that addresses real-world challenges.

The Merck access to health project connects students with alumni.

Applied Research Projects (Capstones) are a unique pedagogical experience where small groups of graduate students work with partners from International Geneva to conduct research projects that respond to today’s global challenges. Projects are part of the master curricula and carry nine ECTS.

Our Students

Our students come from over 100 different countries and more than 70% speak three languages or more. The majority have had some form of international work experience. As student researchers, they typically employ multiple methods, including literature and desk reviews, interviews, surveys, benchmarking, stakeholder analyses and secondary data analyses.

Our Partners

Our partners come from a diverse range of sectors and include governmental, non-governmental, international and non-profit organisations, as well as corporations, associations and foundations. Research topics have included trade, economics and finance, global security, conflict and peace building, migration and refugees, environment and sustainability, global health, gender and human rights, business and development and more.

How to Become a Partner?

Applied Research Project (Capstones) partners propose a research challenge, some background and a set of initial research questions. Students are invited to apply for projects based on these proposals. Projects kick-off in April and are completed by December. Outputs comprise a final report plus infographic and/or other communication media. Partners provide guidance and direction to the group. Academic supervision and coordination is provided by the Graduate Institute. 

Examples of Research Topics and Completed Projects


Mobilities, Spaces and Cities

  • IOM – Livelihoods in protracted displacement: what really works?

  • Terre des Hommes – Situational analysis of child begging in Senegal, focusing on Talibé children

Power, Conflict and Development

  • GCERF – Preventing Violent Extremism and Humanitarian Action: synergies, tensions and a space for action

  • WILPF – Gendered impact of artisanal and small scale mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Environment, Resources and Sustainability

  • WFP – How has collective response contributed towards averting famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-eastern Nigeria?

  • Oxfam UK – Sustainable subsidies for water and sanitation in the developing world

Global Security

  • OHCHR – The role of armed forces in transitions: promoting or abusing human rights

  • DCAF – Establishing the nexus between conflict prevention and security sector reform

Trade and International Finance

  • UNCTAD – Selected impacts of digital technologies on LDC manufacturing

  • OECD – Leveraging more from the Digital Economy in Developing Countries

Additional Themes

  • MERCK – Research on the global discourse on access/ global health and supply chain & delivery challenges

  • WEF – Higher Education on the Spot: MOOC opportunities for Developing Countries


Published Projects & PRESENTATIONS




Project Flyer for Partners

Applied Research Project Partner Application Form  



Students Present Capstone Projects at Palais des Nations
Capstone Project: Entrepreneurship in Africa
Capstone Project: Blockchain Technology and Emerging Markets
Capstone Project: Community Resilience against Violent Extremism