Call 2 for PhD applications within the RESPONSE Doctoral
Programme «to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences»
RESPONSE DP is offering 7 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 and University of 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.
Huang et al (2018) in close cooperation between University of Zurich and the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, searched the links between to forests diversity and forest ecosystem services in a large biodiversity experiment in a subtropical forest in China.
What are the career paths of our alumni in the PhD Program in Science and Policy? At the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center we are interested in knowing what it is that they do. We did a short survey on 32 of our former PhD students: What type of organizations and sectors are they employed today? Are they involved in policy work?
Recommendations for a sustainable fodder production in changing climate
by Claudia Hahn
What was the main impact for policy?
Claudia Hahn in her fellowship from European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, IDP BRIDGES delivered integral knowledge directly for farmers and their farming practices, but also for the future education of farmers. Moreover, this project sensitized the farmers for climate change and associated problems and possibilities. On basis of this highly topical study successional projects have already been started.
by Dr. Tobias Bühlmann Alumni in PSC Science & Policy, now at METAS
What was the main impact for policy?
The work of Bühlmann et al. (2017) in cooperation with the University of Basel and the Forum Biodiversity Switzerland resulted in the change of the subsidy system of the cooperation Urseren favoring Engadine sheep in 2013. Furthermore, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) adjusted the model for calculation the indirect NO and N2O emissions from close to natural ecosystems in Switzerland (Bühlmann et al. 2015).
Experimental studies in grasslands have shown that the loss of species has negative consequences for ecosystem functioning. Is the same true for forests? Huang et al. (2018) report the first results from a large biodiversity experiment in a subtropical forest in China. The study combines many replicates, realistic tree densities, and large plot sizes with a wide range of species richness levels. After 8 years of the experiment, the findings suggest strong positive effects of tree diversity on forest productivity and carbon accumulation. Thus, changing from monocultures to more mixed forests could benefit both restoration of biodiversity and mitigation of climate change.
Yuanyuan Huang is now an alumni of the PSC Science and Policy program and from University of Zurich. She received a fellowship from the European Union’s Seventh FrameworkProgramme, IDP BRIDGES, PITN-GA-2013-608422 to carry out her doctoral thesis. In a recent Nature paper she and her colleagues showed their scientific results on how tree diversity improves forest productivity.
Huang, Yuanyuan et al (2018). Impacts of species richness on productivity in a large-scale subtropical forest experiment Science 05 Oct 2018: Vol. 362, Issue 6410, pp. 80-83 DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6405
Devang Mehta summarized in his short opinion report some of the current discussion how genome editing could revolutionize agriculture. Starting out with the technology at hand and outlining the importance of natural variation and creating diversity, Devang Mehta shows what a new agriculture using genome editing could look like and puts things in a global perspective while referring to the pressing legal questions regarding patenting, ownership and funding that are addressed in the current public, political and expert debate. The opinion report is addressed to the lay public.
Oil palm extension remains an important environmental topic given the large negative impacts it can have on tropical biodiversity. John Garcia-Ulloa had developed models and scenarios to understand biodiversity change in oil-palm landscapes under REDD+ initiatives during his science-policy fellowship from PSC and Mercator Foundation Switzerland. In 2014 a close collaboration between ETH Zurich and IUCN was established to convene stakeholders from the oil palm sector and develop a strategy for IUCN to address the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity. The main activity within the fellow’s internship at the policy Partner was to convene a group of experts to develop guidelines for the protection of biodiversity on oil-palm landscapes for IUCN.
Pavageau et al in close cooperation between ETH Zurich and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India searched the links between pollination service, coffee production and land use in coffee plantations in India.
Land-use allocation has multiple and complex economic and environmental implications. Thus designing optimal land-use is a key challenge for decision-makers and policies aiming at promoting sustainable development for a given region. The results of this study contributed to inform land-use and agricultural policies on the consequences of different collective decision-making scenarios on coffee productivity, economic gain and biodiversity conservation, by using landscape-scale ecosystem services models. This is important for better planning of land-use policy.
Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot and its forests harbor a vast diversity of precious woods. For decades, ever increasing demand for timber on the international market and its high commercial value have led to massive illegal exploitation of rosewood, palisander and ebony species in Madagascar. Controlling the international trade of illegally logged timber is challenging. One reason is that logs and sawn wood are difficult to assign to species or geographic origin (provenance).