Category Archives: PSC Science-Policy Fellowship

CALL 2 FOR PHD APPLICATIONS – DEADLINE JUL 1, 2020

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:

https://www.plantsciences.uzh.ch/en/research/fellowships/response.html

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

Fixing carbon in subtropical forest to mitigate climate change

How to transfer the knowledge to farmers

By Yuanyuan Huang

What evidence was useful for policymaking?

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.

Continue reading Fixing carbon in subtropical forest to mitigate climate change

Effects of seasonal drought on the productivity of grasslands

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.

Continue reading Effects of seasonal drought on the productivity of grasslands

The influences of N₂-fixing green alder and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on the nitrogen balance in close to natural ecosystems

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).

Continue reading The influences of N₂-fixing green alder and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on the nitrogen balance in close to natural ecosystems

How tree diversity improves forest productivity

By Yuanyuan Huang

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.

Reference

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

Alumni PSC Science & Policy

Rewriting Our Food Supply

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.

Continue reading Rewriting Our Food Supply

Maintaining biodiversity and managing oil palm expansion

What can policy papers and scenarios achieve?

By John Garcia-Ulloa

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.

Continue reading Maintaining biodiversity and managing oil palm expansion

Co-production of pollination services in coffee plantations

Developing sustainable management scenarios

By Charlotte Pavageau

What was the main impact for policy?

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.

Continue reading Co-production of pollination services in coffee plantations

Molecular identification methods for carrying out origin analysis for illegally logged and transported Malagasy rosewood

By Sonja Hassold

What was the main impact for 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).

Continue reading Molecular identification methods for carrying out origin analysis for illegally logged and transported Malagasy rosewood