The aim of this course is to develop skills and actions to improve the effectiveness of science in informing policymakers and in engaging with the policymaking process. The lectures will introduce the concepts of environmental governance and evidence-based policymaking, as well as the policy cycle as an underlying conceptual normative framework. Participants will reflect on their role as scientists with a special focus on the idea of honest broker. In the case studies, participants will work with concrete examples of policymaking and learn how scientific results are translated to become policy-relevant.
Communicating and collaborating effectively across the boundaries and differences of various stakeholder groups and engaging constructively with representatives from government, business and civil society in multi-stakeholder processes will be key competencies to be learnt in this course. Participants will learn to understand different stakeholders and multi-stakeholder processes, and effectively engage in multi-stakeholder settings. The course will combine presentations of background information, practical exercises, group discussions and individual reflection.
Scientists in all fields are expected to perform public outreach occasionally on matters ranging from research funding to assist policy-makers in taking decisions. In doing this, they face particular challenges. Challenges range from being clear, convincing, accurate, and, at the same time, engaging.
In this course, students will learn basics on how to communicate science in an effective way to the media, policy-makers and a wider public. They will be introduced to different communication tools and best-practice examples.
Building Political Support
During the last decades different ways of bridging science and policy have been explored. Policy is understood as a principle or guideline for action in a specific context. In this course, the students shall learn what kind of actions are necessary to implement policies in different sectors, such as the governmental system, the public agencies, the civil society or the private sector. Who are the main actors and when do they need to be involved? Decision and policy-makers in Switzerland and the process of policy endorsement, participants will underatand the processes in Switzerland and on the level of the European Union. They will explore ways to engage as scientists with different formats and in different advocating strategies and landscapes. Additionally, a visit to the Swiss Parliament and an interview with a parliamentarian is scheduled.
Analysis and Communication of Risks and Uncertainties
The reliability of scientific data and models are frequently subject of public and political debate. The aim of this course is to understand the concepts of risk, uncertainty and ignorance in relation to these data and models in order for course participants to be more aware of and work more effectively at the science-policy interface. Additionally, we will explore communication tools and strategies linked to risk and uncertainty, including different public engagement strategies.
Understanding Policy Evaluation
The course provides a general overview of different policy evaluation approaches, as well as opportunities for concrete applications and reflections on impact models. It aims at discussing how, when, by whom and for what purpose policy is evaluated as well as under what conditions the effectiveness and efficiency of a policy can be measured. Based on the theoretical and methodological introduction on policy evaluation conducted by social scientists, participants reflect on how natural science can contribute to policy evaluation and practice the application of logic models.
Specialized Courses: Strategic Foresight and Scenario Building
The most innovative scientists, government officials and business executives regularly reflect on the challenges and changes lying ahead 5, 10 or 20 years from now. In the process of such reflection and strategic planning, many turn to the scenario building methods as an effective tool for a structured thinking/analysis of one’s future contexts. This seminar is a practice-oriented learning experience that dives into the scenario development/building methods and their concrete applications.
Lecture: Introduction to Political Sciences
The course is an introduction to politics in a globalised world, with a focus on how political science tries to understand and explain cross-country and cross-time differences. The course will begin by introducing students to some of the main empirical variations in political behaviour, institutions, and actors, focusing mainly on democratic and partially democratic countries.We mainly discuss theoretical approaches to the study of politics and policies across a range of states, international organizations and issue areas.