Sylvia Nissen

Adjunct FellowSylvia Nissen


Research Interests

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey, UK.

My research centres on young people, politics and democracy in a context of environmental change. I am Coordinator for the project CYCLES (Children and Youth in Cities, Lifestyles Evaluation and Sustainability), which examines young people’s aspirations and lifestyles in seven diverse cities globally ( The study is coordinated by the ERSC-funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) University of Surrey, UK and University of Canterbury, NZ, and involves research partners in India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Japan and Brazil and key global sustainability advisors.

My doctoral research, completed in 2017, examined the political action of contemporary university students in Aotearoa, drawing on 70 in-depth interviews with students at New Zealand's eight universities. For this research, I was the recipient of the Kate Sheppard Memorial Prize, and was also awarded graduate essay prizes for this research by both the New Zealand Political Studies Association (NZPSA) and the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SAANZ). I am currently revising this research for publication as a book. Prior to my PhD, I obtained a Masters of Environmental Science in human geography from Monash University, examining the contested politics of freshwater governance in Canterbury.