Following up the summer school 2018: PSC published proceedings

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center: Proceedings of the PlantHUB Summer School 2018, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Plant Sciences.

Melanie Paschke (ed.). With contributions by: Manuela Dahinden, Gregory Grin, Melanie Paschke, Christine Rösch, Daan Schuurbiers, Foteini Zampati, Camilo Chiang, Franco Conci, Claudio Cropano, Florian Cueni, Seydina Issa Diop, Daniel Grogg, Manuel Nolte, Ina Schlathölter, Giacomo Potente and Maximilian Vogt.

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The laboratory is in many ways still a protected space, in which (especially young) researchers are effectively shielded from outside pressures by their lab directors (Rip, 2003). The challenge for educational programs that aim to raise the level of attention to RRI issues is, therefore, to demonstrate the added value of social and ethical reflection for the researcher’s own work.

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PSC Proceedings: Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Following up the summer school 2018 the PSC published proceedings:

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center: Proceedings of the PlantHUB Summer School 2018, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Plant Sciences.

Melanie Paschke (ed.). With contributions by: Manuela Dahinden, Gregory Grin, Melanie Paschke, Christine Rösch, Daan Schuurbiers, Foteini Zampati, Camilo Chiang, Franco Conci, Claudio Cropano, Florian Cueni, Seydina Issa Diop, Daniel Grogg, Manuel Nolte, Ina Schlathölter, Giacomo Potente and Maximilian Vogt.

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Social transformation through innovation and research is a key element in the discussion as to how the global community can overcome its complex problems related to environmental and economic constraints in a resource-limited world. Innovation conflicts arise when transformation is mainly technology-driven and does not take up ethical, legal and social issues. In response, scientists are today being asked to play a role in the science-in society dialogue.

The laboratory is in many ways still a protected space, in which (especially young) researchers are effectively shielded from outside pressures by their lab directors (Rip, 2003). The challenge for educational programs that aim to raise the level of attention to RRI issues is, therefore, to demonstrate the added value of social and ethical reflection for the researcher’s own work.

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How can biodiversity-ecosystem function research (BEF) be used to inform ecosystem managers and policy-makers?

Ecosystem researchers currently do different types of BEF research. How can these studies be used in policymaking? A recent analysis with involvement of Prof. Nina Buchmann from ETH Zurich and member of PSC came up with recommendations:

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How can policymakers decide if protected areas (=PA) in the Alps will be able to secure high-species richness under climate future change?

Protected areas like the Swiss National Park should conserve native plant and animal species in the Alps now and in the future. With upcoming climate change the habitats of species shift and the spatial distribution of alpine biodiversity is changing.

Can researchers predict if protected areas can uphold conservation goals under these changing conditions? How can policymakers decide if they need to update the boundaries of existing protected areas or if new ones need to be created in specific areas to conserve alpine biodiversity?

Continue reading How can policymakers decide if protected areas (=PA) in the Alps will be able to secure high-species richness under climate future change?

Theory of Cange for three Alternative Food Networks in Zurich and Basel

Written by Dubravka Vrdoljak (ETH Zurich), Maria Tereza de Alencar (University of Graz), Anja Tesic (University of Basel)

Many alternative food networks (AFNs) developed over the past few years in Zurich and Basel. AFNs are an umbrella term that encompasses different foci in sustainable food systems, such as community-supported and urban agriculture, short food supply chains up to direct farm retail or food cooperatives with the objectives of shortening the food chain from farmers to consumers, bringing it closer to urban or peri-urban areas; the promotion of community engagement and participation; and the reduction of food waste (Moschitz et al., 2018).

We analyzed three AFNs operating in Zurich and/or Basel, namely Too Good To Go, Urban Agriculture Basel and Bachsemärt for their goals, visions, interventions and formats and organized it in the process-oriented Theory of Change (ToC).

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Dramatic Loss of Food Plants for Insects

The diversity of food plants for insects in the canton of Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years or so. This means that bees, flies and butterflies are increasingly deprived of their food base, a team of researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Zurich (Reto Nyffler, Michael Kessler) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL has demonstrated. The results are transferable to the whole of Central Europe, with minor regional restrictions.

Source: https://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2020/Loss-of-Plants.html

Stefan Abrahamczyk, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Michael Nobis, Reto Nyffeler, Michael Kessler: Shifts in food plant abundance for flower-visiting insects between 1900 and 2017 in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland, Ecological Applications, 23 April 2020. DOI: 10.1002/eap.2138

Theory of Cange for three Alternative Food Networks in Zurich and Basel

Written by Dubravka Vrdoljak (ETH Zurich, Maria Tereza de Alencar (University of Graz), Anja Tesic (University of Basel)

Many alternative food networks (AFNs) developed over the past few years in Zurich and Basel. AFNs are an umbrella term that encompasses different foci in sustainable food systems, such as community-supported and urban agriculture, short food supply chains up to direct farm retail or food cooperatives with the objectives of shortening the food chain from farmers to consumers, bringing it closer to urban or peri-urban areas; the promotion of community engagement and participation; and the reduction of food waste (Moschitz et al., 2018).

We analyzed three AFNs operating in Zurich and/or Basel, namely Too Good To Go, Urban Agriculture Basel and Bachsemärt for their goals, visions, interventions and formats and organized it in the process-oriented Theory of Change (ToC).

In summary we have built ToC analysis based on the informations on the webpages of each AFN, crucial contributors to diverse agri-food chains. With the help of the ToC, we could provide compelling evidence that alternative food system initiatives work with a long-term goal model, even though they don’t clearly communicate it to the public. This approach has the potential to help emerging AFN’s to learn from existing ones and to establish a bigger network and best practices.

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The seminar “Sustainable Plant Systems” (VVZ: 551-0209-00L) is organized by the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center for MSc and PhD students of ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Basel every autumn term.