Umweltbedingte Geschlechtsumwandlung in Papaya als transdiziplinäres Forschungsprojekt

Tiago Meier

Wer kennt sie nicht, die birnenähnliche Form, die gelborange Farbe und den süssen Geschmack – alles Markenzeichen der Papayafrucht. Tiago Meier, Doktorand am Institut für Pflanzen- und Mikrobiologie in der Gruppe von Prof. Dr. Ueli Grossniklaus hat sich auf die Spuren der Papayafrucht begeben. Er ist zum Ursprung der Pflanze nach Mexico, ins Reich der Maya , gereist und ist auf Hinweise gestossen, die auf eine frühe Kultivierung der Papayapflanze deuten. Die Maya wählten Papayapflanzen mit für sie vorteilhaften Eigenschaften aus, nämlich zwitterige Pflanzen, die sich selbst befruchten können. Die Spanier verteilten die Papaya in ihrem Kolonialreich, wodurch sie zu einer wichtigen wurde. Jedoch hat das sich veränderndes Klima auf unserem Planeten auch Folgen für die Papaya. Eine durch Umwelteinflüsse verursachte Geschlechtsumwandlung von Zwittern zu Männchen führt zu Sterilität und beeinträchtigt dadurch die Papayaproduktion.

Tiago untersucht die Blütenentwicklung der Pflanze, um das Problem der Geschlechtsumwandlung besser zu verstehen und um zu möglichen Lösungen beizutragen. Bald wird hier ein Film veröffentlicht, der über seine Arbeit entstanden ist.

Continue reading Umweltbedingte Geschlechtsumwandlung in Papaya als transdiziplinäres Forschungsprojekt

PSC Summer School 2021

We again have 1 place available. For registration contact directly:

For conditions and program check: For conditions and program check here

We are happy to announce that Alessandra Schmidt from FabLab Barcelona joined the summer school speakers list giving inspiration:

Food citizenship: Co-creation of community-driven technologies.

FabLab Barcelona is an innovation centre that is allowing co-creation of food-related innovation with citizen.

This practice example is related to a case study that participants will work on: DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN MICRO FARMS: HOW CAN THEY LINK FARMERS AND (URBAN) COMMUNITIES?

Photo: CIFOR FORETS, Pisciculture in Bengamisa – DRC. Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR:

Summer School Registration OPEN: Responsible Research and Innovation in Food, Plant and Energy system Science

13–17 September, 2021 – Wislikofen, Switzerland

Flyer / More information

Food and energy are the great challenges for modern societies, both producing enough for the growing world population as well as producing and distributing them environmentally friendly, fair and equitable. Their footprint on land, biodiversity, ecosystems, water, soil and their impact on climate is enormous.

In this summer school, we will implement the Responsible Research and Innovation framework to exemplary case studies addressing sustainable food systems, sustainable transition pathways in the energy sector; and sustainable land use decisions. Participants in teams work on case studies, they define the problem in the societal context, develop prototypes following value-based and human centered design approaches to the problem or develop a social practice theory and change hypothesis for setting their prototypes into practise.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the summer school, participants will:
• Understand the responsible research and innovation (RRI) framework and its application in research.
• Design their own responsible research and innovation process including public engagement and participation formats.
• Know how to carry out ethical inquiry and a value-based design processes.
• Be able to apply design thinking.
• Can implement formats of social and transformative learning in their research processes.


Call 4 for PhD applications within the RESPONSE Doctoral Programme «to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences»

RESPONSE DP is offering 6 early-stage researcher’s positions for 36 months (100%) at the interface of science and policy, as well as science and innovation at one of the three world-leading academic host organization – ETH Zurich.

RESPONSE DP will train ESRs to reflect on their role as scientists in society, contributing with evidence to policymaking and to build capacities to address global challenges in the areas of sustainable food systems, sustainable energy systems and sustainable land use decisions.

For more information about RESPONSE, open positions and further steps (i.e. submit your application), have a look at:

ETH Zurich and University of Zurich are dedicated to promoting the role of women in science, and, therefore, explicitly invites women to apply.

How could digitalisation make agricultural policy more effective in reducing undesired impacts and enhancing the benefits of farming?

Ehlers et al. (2020) investigated the extent to which digital technologies can trigger different choices of agricultural policy instruments and novel design specifications that address problems of sustainability in farming more effectively and possibly more efficiently. They developed and applied an analytical framework that focuses on the effects of digitalisation in distinct policy dimensions, drawing on theoretical insights and examples from practice in a European context.

Continue reading How could digitalisation make agricultural policy more effective in reducing undesired impacts and enhancing the benefits of farming?

Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and Agroecology

The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is a global and solution-oriented framework aiming for transformative action by government, civil society and business to help biodiversity to recover for the benefit of people and the planet. As agriculture is occupying more than one-third of the global landmass with massive consequences in threatening species, agroecological principles should be included in the post-2020 GBD say Wanger and co-authors.

Reference: Wanger, Thomas C.; DeClerck, Fabrice; Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Kleijn, David; et al. (2020). Integrating agroecological production in a robust post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Can nitrogen balances support the sustainability assessment?

Anna Hunkeler1, Anja Schmutz2, Carole A. Epper3

1  Department of Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2 Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 3Agroscope, Switzerland

Nitrogen balances uncover the potential negative environmental impact of a certain agricultural management at a defined scale, here at the farm level, and can also illustrate where the farm is positioned in the sustainability transition pathway.

PDF Download

In the report, the authors explored the strengths and weaknesses of the nitrogen balance approach and data availability for Switzerland, conceptualized the nutrient balance of two contrasting farm systems and discussed them in the frame of the sustainability assessment.

Continue reading Can nitrogen balances support the sustainability assessment?

Engaging in a Science and Policy Dialogue