Getting Your Message Across: How to Make Yourself and Your Research Visible – RESPONSE Mentoring Workshop

March 17, 2023, 9:00 – 17:00, ETH Zurich

In this workshop, participants will learn how to reach a wider audience with your topics and texts and how to prepare and convey your content in an understandable and attractive way in the digital age. They will work on a popular science blog post, learn about graphic tools to support the text in a multimedia and interactive way, learn about the pitfalls and strengths of social media and how to create and manage your own web presence for yourself and your research. Another focus is on visibility: How do I build and manage a community? How can I communicate the importance of my research for politics, economy and society – and actually reach them?

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Communicating Science and Policy by Fact Sheets

PSC Science and Policy Career Talk Series

On November 16, 2022 the first event of PSC Science and Policy Talk series took place. During 1.5 hours our invited guest speaker Dr. Sascha Ismail provided a lively insight into his work at the Swiss Biodiversity Forum at the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) in Berne and on his career path.

Sascha Ismail gave personal insights about his science and policy interface work in Switzerland. He explained how he is impacting conservation and biodiversity policies with factsheets that he coordinates in collaboration with Swiss research institutions. From his personal experience, he highlighted important considerations when planning, writing, consolidating, and communicating science-based policy recommendations in policy briefs and factsheets. This included considerations related to data design and layout as well as perspectives and perceptions of stakeholders on the topic of the current biodiversity crisis.

For a factsheet to have impact, it is not enough to summarize scientific findings in an understandable way. The topic must be relevant to society, it needs careful graphic design, and the publication must be accompanied by other communication measures such as a press release.”

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Response Doctoral Program: Unlock valuable protein sources in the pseudocereal buckwheat

Pseudocereals such as buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) are under-utilized as sources for plant-based proteins in current times, where the world is searching for a diversification of agricultural cropping systems. Buckwheat was an important crop in recent times in Western Europe including Switzerland and has several qualities:

  • It is a valuable source of proteins for human nutrition. Buckwheat contains all nine essential amino acids which makes it a high-quality, complete protein. It is rich in limiting amino acids like lysine and arginine, which are in shortest supply in plant-based diets.
  • It became popular in satisfying the increasing demand for gluten-free foods.
  • It has a unique taste – in contrast to rice or wheat.
  • So far, it is little affected by pests and diseases in the field that could reduce its yield.
  • As a cover crop, it contributes to soil protection and soil improvement as part of a crop rotation.
  • It is good for pollinators and a rich source of nectar while contributing to a biologically diverse agriculture.

Despite all these positive qualities, buckwheat cultivation suffers from low and unstable yields, and in comparison to wheat, the baking quality is inferior. Potentially, this bottleneck can be overcome with breeding. Here, the screening of genetic resources could unlock undiscovered potential and the cultivation of buckwheat on Swiss farms may experience a renaissance!

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Arbeitshefte für den Ernährungswandel

Diese richten sich an die Initiativen, die den Ernährungswandel begleiten.

Lass dich inspirieren von den Anleitungen, Materialien und Ideen, um eine nachhaltige Ernährung mit Quartierbewohner:innen umzusetzen!

Mit welchen Methoden lässt sich ein Wandel der Ernährungsgewohnheiten begleiten? Multiplikator:innen können das Arbeitsheft nutzen, um Methoden kennenzulernen und in ihre eigene Arbeit zu integrieren. Anleitungen und Vorlagen stehen zum Kopieren zur Verfügung. Wir teilen Erfahrungen beim Anwenden dieser Methoden und Beispiele, welche Handlungen ausgelöst wurden.

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (2022). Nachhaltige Ernährung für den Planeten: Ernährungsgewohnheiten in Quartieren begleiten und verändern. Arbeitsheft 2: Methoden und Interaktionen:

Was sind die die Auswirkungen der Ernährung auf die planetaren Grenzen? Welche Möglichkeiten hat jeder Einzelne, um durch die Ernährung diese negativen Umweltauswirkungen zu halbieren? Die Zahlen, Kenngrössen, das notwendigen Hintergrundwissen und Argumente erleichtern die Kommunikation mit der Bevölkerung.

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (2022). Nachhaltige Ernährung für den Planeten: Ernährungsgewohnheiten in Quartieren begleiten und verändern.
Arbeitsheft 1: Wissen, Zahlen, Hintergründe:

Mehr Vorlagen und Materialien:

Summary from Response Thematic Event: Sustainable Energy System – Who Will Lead the Way?

In this public event of the Response Doctoral Program, organized by the Energy System Science Center, GreenBuzz and Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center at Siemens in Zug one question was in the focus: how do we get to a sustainable energy system?

For sustainable energy systems the innovative technologies are existing, but we have to combine them in the most sustainable way to decarbonize our future. The questions are what business model change, political regulations and societal adaptation are needed and inevitable and helped us to answer the questions “What steps we should take?”, and “Who will lead the way?”

9 Response doctoral students presented and discussed their research to representatives from the energy sector, companies and the public. They presented their research on green energy models, biofuels, semiconductor efficiency, managing hydropower dams, carbon capture and storage or the future of electrical transport.

From the keynotes:

Kristina Orehounig, Empa draw attention to the housing infrastructure that needs to be cooled in summer and heated in winter due to climate change. For this CO2 emission-low systems need to be combinations of multiple renewable supply technologies in small decentralized networks in neighbourhoods.

Kaja Hollstein, Swissgrid pointed out challenges in the future when the grid system is operated with renewables. In winter demand for heating is highest while supply by photovoltaic drops in several countries at the same time. In this case there will be no import market that can balance the shortages of energy.

Ilonka Zapke, Siemens showed the Wunsiedel blueprint for our energy future. Energy comes from renewables and is stored in one of the largest batteries worldwide. Battery storage might be one solution to energy shortages in the grid system.

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Response Doctoral Programme: European Policy for CCS networks

Linda Frattini contributed to a policy report that evaluates possible governance frameworks for establishing a European CCS network. In principle, CCS projects are eligible for support through different European and national funding tools, but more ambitious support schemes for CCS projects through national governments seem to be necessary.

From the report:

CCS technologies are poised to help attain the EU’s 2050 net-zero target, mainly by effecting emission reduction in energy-intensive industries and underpinning carbon removal solutions. For this to happen, there is a need for a carefully planned and well-coordinated scale-up of emerging CO2 transport and storage networks, and for national governments to come forward with. This is particularly important for the Just Transition of many industrial regions and clusters in Central and Eastern Europe, where CCS can complement the deployment of renewables, especially in places where clean electricity is not available at the scale and within the timeframe required by the EU’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction targets.


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing CO2 either through post-combustion capture [1]  [FL1] or via direct air capture[FL2]  [2], transporting it and storing it for centuries or millennia in deep geological formations or sequestering in mineral carbonates from CO2.

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Could “advanced” nuclear technologies support low-carbon energy strategies?

Response Doctoral Programme

“No” says Bessie Noll et al. (2021) in a synthesis paper as renewable energy technologies have significant advantage over current non-traditional nuclear reactor designs.

Taking insight foremost from a 2021 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on “advanced” nuclear reactors, their synthesis examines three non-traditional nuclear reactor designs based on three UCS defined evaluation criterion—safety and security risk, sustainability, and nuclear proliferation potential—as well as one additional criterion added newly, “economics”.  Proclaimed advantages of non-traditional over traditional reactors are also included in an “Expectation vs. Reality” rapid-fire comparison.

Some of the arguments:

  • Technologically immature non-traditional reactors have to compete with renewable energy technologies which are already today drastically cheaper on a $/kWh basis and have much steeper learning curves.
  • Even with optimistic assumptions for deployment timelines, non-traditional reactors will likely be outcompeted in deployment by renewables and grid-scale battery storage (in some cases, they already are)—relatively more mature technologies that are readily being deployed today
  • It is highly unlikely that non-traditional reactors will be able to ramp-up construction fast enough to stay in-line with climate targets.
  • Nuclear reactors built in a modular fashion are not spared the curse of high capital cost and long construction times in practice.
  • Non-traditional reactors introduce new safety issues that will require extensive testing and analysis. The technology itself is too early in its development stage to be certain of all possible safety issues.
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Response Thematic Event: Sustainable Energy System – Who Will Lead the Way?

June 16, 18:00 – 20:30. More info and registration:

This event is part of RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (DP) «RESPONSE – to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences» is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 847585.

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Lokale Nahrungsversorgung mitgestalten: 23. Juni, 2022, 19:00

Mit lokalen Initiativen gestalten wir die Ernährungslandschaft im Quartier. Ideen, Anliegen, Wünsche und zukünftige Mitmacher:innen in Ernährungsrojekten willkommen.

Informationen zum Programm:

Das Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center zusammen mit GZ und Quartierverein Riesbach lädt ein: Im interaktiven Workshop können Quartierbewohner:innen gemeinsam die Ernährungslandschaft im Quartier und Zürich gestalten und bringen ihre Anliegen und Wünsche ein. Wir fragen: „Was kann lokale und ökologische Ernährung im Qartier leisten? Welche Hürden müssen überwunden werden und welche Chancen können entstehen? Welche Kapazitäten das Quartier Riesbach und Zürich?».

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