All posts by Luisa Last

Call 1 for PhD applications – Deadline Dec 1, 2019

Call 1 for PhD applications within the RESPONSE Doctoral Programme «to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences»

RESPONSE DP is offering 8 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, University of Zurich or University of Basel.

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

ENGAGE with Society: Noch 8 Tage bis Bewerbungsschluss

Noch acht Tage können Fragen und Anliegen an unsere Forschenden formuliert werden! Das neue partizipative Forschungsformat gibt Forschenden des PSC und Partnern aus der Öffentlichkeit und Praxis die Möglichkeit, für Fragestellungen und Herausforderungen einer nachhaltigen, ökologischen und ressourcenschonenden Landwirtschaft eines alternativen und regional-orientierten Ernährungssystems Forschungswissen zu generieren und dieses gemeinschaftlich für die Praxis zu übersetzen.

Continue reading ENGAGE with Society: Noch 8 Tage bis Bewerbungsschluss

EPSO statement on the Court of Justice of the EU ruling regarding mutagenesis and the GMO Directive

EPSO publishes its statement to the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on organisms obtained by mutagenesis (case C-528/16) stating that the ruling disregards scientific evidence. (re-post Feb 19, 2019 | EPSO, WG Agricultural Technologies)

Genome editing is not the only answer to current challenges of agriculture and society, but it represents an important tool for harnessing plant science knowledge toward a future-ready agriculture, for allowing Europe to play a leading role in innovative plant science, and to contribute to the bioeconomy by boosting the performance of underutilised plant species and biological resources. In the drive to achieve sustainable development goals, no useful tool should be neglected. EPSO supports a science-based change to the present European legislation and proposes to establish a legislation adapted to future technological developments by increasing emphasis on product-based risk assessment. Meanwhile, further tangible commitment is needed to support, inform and communicate about innovative plant science and its societal role.

Are alternative food networks a way to support the implementation of SDG 12?

A case study report can be downloaded: Are alternative food networks a way to support the implementation of SDG 12? . Written by Misato Today (ETH) and Nadine Engbersen (ETH), PhD Program in Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich.

Are alternative food networks (AFNs) a way to support the implementation of SDG 12? In their case study Misato Toda and Nadine Engebersen compared Swiss and Japanese AFNs. These enable consumers to purchase locally-grown and organic food directly from farmers. They offer possibilities for consumers to learn about seasonal products.  The closer relationship between farmers and consumers can create a relationship built on trust, which is contradictory to the relationship many consumers have with large food retailers. However, they need political support.

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.

Food security and sustainability in the city of Zurich

A case study report can be downloaded: Food security and sustainability in the city of Zurich. Written by Xeniya Kofler (UZH) and Eleni Tevridou (UNIGE), PhD Program in Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich.

In the past few decades, the issue of sustainable and responsible living has been on top of the list of topics discussed at world leaders’ meetings such as the United Nations Summit. Since the development of sustainable development goals (SDGs), many European countries have embraced and implemented many steps on the way of achieving these goals. In this case study we decided to investigate the extent to which the city of Zurich, Switzerland succeeds in the policy development and implementation of SDG’s 2 and 12 both dealing with food sustainability.

For download: PDF

PSC-Mercator Alumni co-authored IUCN Report on Oil palm and biodiversity

John Garcia-Ulloa, a PSC Science and Policy alumni, worked on a “Comprehensive Trade-off Analysis of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) Implementation”. Based on this work and a secondment within the framework of his fellowship, he co-authored the recently published IUCN report on “Oil palm and biodiversity: A situation analysis by the IUCN Oil Palm Task Force”.

The situation analysis primarily focuses on oil palm in the context of biodiversity  conservation based on literature published before 31 January 2018, and aims to provide a constructive pathway to addressing sustainability challenges in the palm oil industry. This report does not assess the social and economic implications of palm oil production and expansion but will refer to these when they are likely to have an impact on biodiversity conservation. Through identification of key knowledge gaps, the situation analysis will also provide direction to the Oil Palm Task Force in terms of seeking to address these knowledge gaps in the remainder of the 2017-2020 Quadrennium. Read more …

Synthetic biology for natural products

A summary of the public panel discussion about Synthetic biology for natural products considering perspectives from academia, policy, public and industry. The panel discussion took place at the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (PSC)  Symposium Plants for Health – from research to application on December 1st, 2016. Read more …

Written by Devang Mehta (ETH Zurich, Plant Biotechnology, Marie Curie IDP BRIDGES fellow)