Publications and Policy outcomes from Response fellowships

Conclusions from 11 years of PSC-Mercator Fellowship Program

Download evaluation report: PDF

Proceedings of the Response Summer School 2021

Summer schools can enrich the learning experience of participants.

The summer school proceedings are a summary of the learning journeys of theparticipants on the five case studies: Digital technologies for urban micro farms, circular approaches in the food system, vertical farming, sustainable and resilient energy, food and biodiversity landscapes, stewardship of land use changes.

Report (PDF)

Citation: Response Summer School «Responsible Research, Innovation and Transformation in Food, Plant and Energy Sciences» Learning Journey and Reflection. Melanie Paschke (ed.). Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, 2021. With contributions by: Manuel Belanche Guadas, Linda Brodnicke, Dusan Denic, Danli Fei, Linda Frattini, Laurent Giguère, Reah Gonzales, Monika Katarzyna Goralczyk, Katharina Jung, Xeniya Kim, Simon Landauer, Yuanyuan Liang, Alberto Linares Quiros, Simone Markoff, Bessie Noll, Dabwiso Sakala, Fei Wu, and Francesca Zuffa:                       

A new workbook on risk and uncertainty in science, policymaking and its communication is available.

The workbook explains risk perception. It offers guidelines for scientists to communicate risk and uncertainties to policymakers and to the public in different areas from public health to climate change.

It explains the theory of deliberation at the science-society interface and explains the design of a public engagement processes.

Free download: Beuttler, C., Paschke, M. (2020). Risk and uncertainty communication. In: Paschke,M., Dahinden, M. (eds.): Engaging in the Science-Policy Dialogue, Workbook 4. Zurich: Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center.

Printed workbooks can also be ordered at; CHF 20 per workbook

Competencies for students to be gained:

  • You will understand definitions and concepts of uncertainty, ignorance and risk.
  • You will develop effective strategies for communicating risk and uncertainty.
  • You will become aware of biases in risk perception, including your own.
  • You will understand how deliberative systems can help to structure risk and uncertainty.
  • You will know the phases and deliberative formats for planning a public engagement process.

All workbooks for free download:

Paschke M., Pfisterer A. (2019). Evidence-based policy making. With contributions of: McNally, K., Herrendörfer, R., Hirschi, C., Last, L. Pauli, D., Studer, B. and J. Schubert.

Hemmati, M. (2020). Stakeholder engagement. With contribution of: Maier, B.

Pfisterer, A., Paschke, M. and J. Pasotti (2019). Communication science through the media.

Beuttler, C., Paschke, M. (2020). Risk and uncertainty communication.

Bütitikofer, S. (2019). Building political support. With contributions of: Falk, M., Last, L., Neu, U., Paschke, M., Pavageau, C. and C. Rey.

Paschke, M. and S. Studer (2019). Generating impact chains. With contribution of: K. McNally.

Paschke, M. and A. Pfisterer (2019). Collective inquiry. With contributions of: Backhaus, J., Carteret, R., Huppenbauer, M., McNally, K., Reynolds, M., Wallimann- Helmer, I.

Following up the summer school 2018 the PSC published proceedings: Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Plant Sciences.

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.


New Publication in GAIA 28/3/2019

In our newest publication in GAIA (GAIA 28/3/2019) based on a Delphi study we summarized opportunities and challenges of our educational model: Real-world experience through secondments and co-creation of knowledge with policy organizations facilitates boundary crossing of research results to policymaking in their later work.


PSC published six workbooks

These workbooks are the firsts in a series of eight, exploring the role of scientists in the science-policy dialogue. They are addressed to students in our PhD program and to other interested readers. The workbooks offer close insight into theory, processes, and tools for evidence-based policymaking. These are core elements of our courses.

1 Evidence-based policymaking, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000308533
2 Stakeholder engagement
3 Communicating science through the media, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000314920
4 Risk and uncertainty communication, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000340471
5 Building models & scenarios
6 Building political support, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000312492
7 Generating impact chains, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000315536
8 Collective inquiry, DOI: 10.3929/ethz-b-000315545

Following public engagement events in 2017 the PSC published a technical report

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (2018). Future Forums Project Report
Symposium and Workshops on Public Engagement with Science (Technical Report).


PSC has summarized the diverse field of sustainable transformation of agriculture with contribution of Philipp Aerni, Gurbir Bhullar, Allan Buckwell, Markus Frank, Marcel van der Heijden, Hans Herren, John Ingram, François Meienberg, Michael Meissle, Melanie Paschke, Martin Schmid, Franziska Stössel, Raphael Wittmer, Gunda Züllich et al.

Paschke (ed.) (2017). Agriculture in Transformation. Concepts for agriculture production systems that are socially fair environmentally safe. Proceedings of the PSC Summer Schools 2014 and 2016. For download:


Number 6

The sixth issue of the IDP BRIDGES newsletter documents – and in some ways celebrates – the research work of 13 PhD students at the interfaces of science and policy as well as science and innovation. We reflect on how the Innovative Doctoral Program program IDP BRIDGES contributes to the training of junior natural scientists.

Number 5

Newsletter No 5 presents the take home messages from the PSC Summer School 2016 on “Agriculture in Transformation”, a summary of the plenary discussion on Innovation vs. Regulation (EUCARPIA General Congress 2016) and Secondment reports of two IDP BRIDGES fellows.

Number 4


This newsletter highlights IDP BRIDGES outreach activities. For example, the public panel discussion on “Plant Sciences, Patents, and Food Security” which was moderated by three IDP BRIDGES fellows. A summary of this event as well as a personal address by panelist Prof. em. Chris Leaver, Oxford University will be presented.

Number 3

Newsletter No 3 focuses on “wicked problems” introduced by an editorial of Prof. Chrissie Rey, University of the Witwatersrand and addressed by five summarized case study of the PSC Summer School 2015 “Tackling wicked problems”. Secondment reports of three IDP BRIDGES fellows as well as outreach highlights are included.

Number 2

Followed by an editorial on “The challenges of communication” written by Dr. Eduardo Pérez, ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural Science, Newsletter No 2 presents further eight portraits of the IDP BRIDGES fellows. Upcoming training, mentoring and events are outlined.

Number 1

After visiting the fellows in their labs and fields, the newly implemented newsletter IDP BRIDGES News presents portraits of the IDP BRIDGES fellows in their working environments. Read the first six portraits in this issue. Upcoming training, mentoring and events are outlined.

Engaging in a Science and Policy Dialogue