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Personal profile

Research Interests

Circular Economy; System Thinking; System Dynamics Modelling; Food-Energy-Water Nexus; Urban Waste Management; Sustainable Development; Renewable Energy; Ecological Economics



Ali Parsa has been involved in green initiatives since founding Rainbow Social and Cultural Organisation (RSCO) in 2014 in Kabul- Afghanistan. His interest in sustainable development and environmental studies led him to the MSc Environment and Development course at the University of Reading which was sponsored by Chevening Scholarship in 2017-18 academic year. Leading the pioneering and award-winning RSCO, graduation with a first class honours degree from Political Science Faculty of Avicenna University, and his enthusiasm were amongst the key strengths which qualified him for the prestigious scholarship. His commitment, also, enabled him to complete the master's degree with a distinction award. Following his life dream, he applied for a PhD studentship at Coventry University in 2019 where he has been awarded a fully-funded studentship to research on waste reduction potentials in urban circular economies through dynamics modelling of Food-Energy-Water resources.

PhD Project

In many urban areas, pathways of essential resources such as food, water and energy are subject to multiple inefficiencies. Circular economies try to minimise wastages by reducing, reusing and recycling of the resources within each resource stream. Recognising the explicit linkages between these resources through a 'nexus approach' will enable to exploit potential synergies which -given the complexities between the resources- would otherwise be concealed. Hence, this can result in further waste reduction in the urban food-energy-water resources.

This PhD aims to analyse the potential for waste reduction in urban food-energy-water nexus by exploring the dynamics of interlinkages between these resources. The PhD uses System Dynamics Modelling (SDM) as a method to simulate and analyse how changes in one aspect (e.g. food waste treatment) of a system would affect the behaviour of the whole Food-Energy-Water system over time. The nexus approach to urban resources and modelling the dynamics between these resources as an integrated complex system is the novel approach of this PhD project which can provide a better understanding of synergies and trade-offs in different waste reduction strategies. Hence, the modelling results will be used to: a) suggest improvements to reduce overall waste in the nexus; b) illustrate how intended improvements affect the resource fluxes in other cycles; and c) identify possible bottlenecks, thresholds and other potential problems under different management or usage scenarios.

This PhD project is linked to a broader research project (Waste FEW-ULL), funded by ESRC, which aims to map, model and reduce waste in food-energy-water nexus in four urban areas including Bristol (UK), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). Further information about this project is available at:


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Education/Academic qualification

Environment and Development, MSc, University of Reading

Sept 2017Sept 2018

Award Date: 13 Dec 2018

Political Science, Avicenna University

Sept 2010Mar 2014

Award Date: 7 Jan 2016


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