Neue Züchtungstechnologien: Anwendungsbeispiele aus der Pflanzenforschung

Der Bundesrat wurde vom Parlament beauftragt, bis Mitte 2024 risikobasierte Regeln für die Zulassung von Nutzpflanzen vorzulegen, die mit neuen Züchtungsmethoden gezüchtet wurden, kein artfremdes Erbmaterial enthalten und einen Mehrwert für Landwirtschaft, Umwelt und Konsumierende gegenüber herkömmlichen Züchtungsmethoden bieten. Die Vernehmlassung der vorgeschlagenen Zulassungsregelung ist für die 2. Jahreshälfte 2023 angekündigt. Als Beitrag zur Diskussion hat das Forum Genforschung der SCNAT untersucht, ob sich aktuell Projekte in Forschung und Entwicklung befinden, die diesen Kriterien entsprechen.

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Politics scholarship for academics – Prepare yourself and submit a successful science and policy application

PSC Science and Policy Talk

On May 24, 2023, Dr. Sophie Girardin will share her experiences on how can you prepare for a career at the interface between science and policy.

In the Science and Policy Talk series professionals working in different roles at the science and policy interface explain how they communicate research findings to have an impact on policies and give us insights in their career pathway.

Dr. Sophie Girardin holds a politics scholarship for academics. The scholarship of Scientific Policy Grants enables each year two graduates of Swiss universities to experience the political processes in the Swiss parliament by working for the Parliamentary Services in the Federal Palace in Berne. The scholarship recipients support the parliamentary legislative committees by joining the team of one of the committee secretary’s offices.

You are interested? Please register here.

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Diversifying and scaling direct air capture for a net-zero future

To meet net-zero targets by mid-century, gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year must be removed through direct air capture and storage (DACS). However, current deployment is low, requiring DACS technologies to be deployed at an unprecedented pace. The ETH Energy Blog post of RESPONSE fellow Katrin Sievert explores the two most advanced capture methods used in DACS, compares their scalability, and stresses the significance of investing in multiple technologies over the next decade instead of solely relying on existing approaches.

Read Katrin Sieverts’ Energy Blog article.

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

Citation: Sievert, Katrin. “Diversifying and scaling direct air capture for a net-zero future”, Energy Blog @ ETH Zurich, ETH Zurich, February 28, 2022,

Featured photo is owned by Katrin Sievert.

Politikstipendien für Wissenschaftlerinnen oder Wissenschaftler

Die Stiftung wissenschaftliche Politikstipendien vergibt per September 2023 zwei Politikstipendien für junge Wissen­schaftler­innen oder Wissenschaftler. Die Stipendien ermöglichen Abgängerinnen und Abgängern von Schweizer Hochschulen aller Fachbereiche und Disziplinen, die politischen Prozesse im Schweizer Parlament kennenzulernen. Für ein Jahr unterstützen Sie die Arbeit der Parlamentsdienste im Bundeshaus in Bern. Die Bewerbungsfrist läuft bis zum 13. März 2023. 

Mehr Informationen

ESC Summer School 2023: Energy Technology, Policy and Politics – how to build a net-zero GHG emissions energy system

27. August – 1. September 2023, Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland

For more information and registration

This summer school of the Energy Science Center (ESC) is aiming to present an in-​depth understanding of the energy sector to early-​stage researchers from around the world. The theme of the summer school will be to address the following questions from a technical, economic and policy perspective:

  • How does the energy supply system function today and potentially in the future?
  • What are the main challenges and opportunities in achieving a net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions energy supply system?
  • How can needed investments in the energy system be realized?
  • How can policy accelerate the transition to a net zero energy system?
  • How can political ambition be increased or implement such accelerating policies?

The ESC is a collaborating competence center of the RESPONSE Doctoral Program .

America’s Inflation Reduction Act is asking too much of car manufacturers and electric vehicle supply chains

Response Doctoral Programme

America’s recently passed climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), provides strong support for accelerated adoption of clean vehicles in the US. Subsidies are generous for consumers looking to go electric, but only for vehicles that meet strict geographic requirements for critical mineral sourcing, battery manufacturing and vehicle assembly. Unabashedly, the US is seeking to shift the EV supply chain from China to North America, but at what cost?

RESPONSE fellow Bessie Noll discusses whether the isolationist IRA is the right move for the US and, more importantly, the climate.

Read Bessie Nolls’ Energy Blog article.

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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Research on plant-based proteins at the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center

By 2035, plant-based protein products such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, vegi convenience or meat analog could replace 11-22% of conventional meat in Switzerland (BLW, 2022). Far too little to live within the limits of available resources of our planet. The Planetary Health Diet suggests eating more pulses (such as peas or beans), nuts, protein-rich grains (such as oats) and pseudocereals (such as buckwheat) and replacing at least half of meat with plant-based proteins (EAT-Lancet, 2020). How can we transform our food systems? We need consumers to accept increasing ampounts of plant-based proteins in their weekly diets and farmers to be able to grow more plant-based proteins in ecological ways.

We introduce research from the PSC network that support increases of plant-based protein production for human nutrition in Switzerland and worldwide.

Plant-based proteins: Finding a resistant gene against the novel bean leaf crumple virus in South American beans

In South America per capita consumption of beans is 14kg/capita compared to Switzerland with below 1.92/capita ( This shows the importance of traditional beans in the protein-supply of populations in South America.

Now a new threat to this base of food security has arrived: Since 2002 the novel begomovirus (BLCrV) is infecting common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and is increasingly widespread in Colombia, the Andean and Mesoamerican areas. The virus is associated with leaf crumple symptoms and significant yield losses.

It is transmitted by the whitefly vector Bemisia tabaci and causes devastating yield losses in susceptible cultivars. Current climate change scenarios suggest that the whitefly populations can reach higher altitudes and move towards more temperate regions, expanding the range of infestation to other countries in Latin America.

Management of the disease relies on the use of insecticides to restrict the whitefly advancement, but resistance to these products have started to evolve. A more sustainable solution to control the disease is deploying plant genetic resistance.

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