PSC-Syngenta Fellowships


In March 2003, the ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, University of Basel and Syngenta agreed on a long-term research collaboration. Each year, PSC professors and group leaders are invited to apply for PhD or Postdoc fellowships. An Advisory Committee, composed of three university representatives and one of Syngenta, selects the winning projects based on reviews of invited experts. The PSC Steering Committee gives its final approval to the proposed projects.

We particularly encourage young group leaders to submit project proposals. Keep in mind, however, that applications for PhD positions must be accompanied by a letter of support from a faculty member to confirm that the student will be advised during the full PhD term in Switzerland.

Evaluation criteria for project applications include:

  • the scientific quality and originality of the research project
  • interdisciplinary and perferably inter-university collaboration
  • the scientific qualifications of the applicants.

PSC-Syngenta Symposia

List of publications

Approved projects

Project Title Project Leader PhD Student / Postdoc End
Mycorrhiza-facilitated bio-irrigation in intercropping systems in dryland agriculture as a new tool to stabilize and increase yields of small holder farmers Ansgar Kahmen (UniBS), Mathimaran Natarajan UniBS),
Astrid Oberson
(ETH Zurich)
PhD 2021
Unraveling regulatory mechanisms of the chloro-phyll/chlorophyllase binary defense system of plants against insect herbivores and the insects’ counter-adaptation strategies Stefan Hörtensteiner (UZH), Consuelo de Morares (ETH Zurich) Spoorti Kalleda, (postdoc) 2020
How does the plant-AMF mutualism scale from pairwise interactions to complex networks? An analysis combining theory and experiments

Pascal Niklaus (UZH),

Jordi Bascompte (UZH), 

Ansgar Kahmen  (UniBS)

Sandy Schneebeli 2020
Shaping signaling landscapes during organ formation

Joop Vermeer (UZH)

Bruno Müller (UZH)

Milica Nenadic 2020

Impact of intra-specific TE variations on gene expression, local epigenetic states and spatial genome organization in Brachypodium distachyon

Anne Roulin (UZH)

Célia Baroux (UZH)

Beat Keller (UZH)

Michele Wyler 2019
Cell death executioners: impact of programmed cell death-associated enzymes on plant vascular development Cell death executioners: impact of programmed cell death-associated enzymes on plant vascular development 

Antía Rodríguez Villalón (ETHZ)

Bruno Müller (UZH)

Claudia Stoff 2018
Linking genotypic variation among plant-associated fluorescent pseudomonads with activation of plant defense against pathogens and insects Consuelo De Moraes (ETHZ)
Monika Maurhofer (ETHZ)
Mark Mescher (ETHZ)
Tobias Löser 2018
Using comparative transcrip-tomics to understand the genetic basis of biotrophy and necrotrophy in the wheat - Zymoseptoria tritici pathosystem J. Palma Guerrero (ETHZ)
Thomas Wicker (UZH)
Beat Keller (UZH)
Bruce McDonald (ETHZ)
Xin Ma 2018
The impact of the TOR path-way on cell growth, cell wall development and partitioning of assimilated carbon Christoph Ringli (UZH)
Samuel Zeeman (ETHZ)
M. Schaufelberger 2017
Good and Evil: mechanism of plant protection by beneficial Sphingomonas spp. against the phytopathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae DC3000 Julia Vorholt (ETHZ)
Willi Gruissem (ETHZ)
C. Vogel 2017

Epigenetic contributions to hybrid vigor in apomictic offspring

Bernhard Schmid (UZH)
Ueli Grossniklaus (UZH)

A. Herrmann


Characterization of the purine permease (PUP) family of genes in Arabidopsis as can-didates for a cytokinin transport system controlling signaling activities and domains

Bruno Müller (UZH)
Enrico Martinoia (UZH)
Ueli Grossniklaus (UZH)

E. Zürcher


Causes and consequences of epigenetic variation in plant interactions with pollinators and herbivores

H. Kirk (UZH)
Florian Schiestl (UZH)
Ueli Grossniklaus (UZH)

R. Kellenberger


Novel chimeric receptors inducing programmed cell death for resistance against the plant pathogenic Xanthomonas genera in model and tropical crop species

Hervé Vanderschuren (ETHZ)
Delphine Chinchilla (UniBS)
Willi Gruissem (ETHZ)

E. McCallum



Temporal analysis of the regulatory activities of small RNAs during the cell-to-cell spread of tobamovirus infection

M. Heinlein (UniBS)
Frank Vazquez (UniBS)
T. Boller (UniBS)

Khalid Amari



Decision making in plants: resource allocation to mycorrhizal hyphal networks

B. Schmid (UZH)
A. Wiemken (UniBS)

A. Argüello García


Exploring unreduced male gamete formation for plant breeding

C. Köhler (ETHZ)
L. Brownfield (ETHZ)

D. Kradolfer


Integration of transcriptomics and genome-wide association study for identification of genes responsible for natural quantitative variation: A “multi-omics” approach

T. Tsuchimatsu (UZH)
K. Shimizu (UZH)
T. Städler (ETHZ)

T. Tsuchimatsu



The mechanisms of volatile-mediated plant growth promotion: A focus on indole

L. Weisskopf (UZH)
T. Boller (UniBs)
L. Eberl (UZH)

A. Bailly



EPIGENOMICS: Characterization of Epigenetic Changes in Systems under Selection

U. Grossniklaus (UZH)
B. Schmid (UZH)
L. A. Turnbull (UZH)

C. Heichinger



Volatile mediated impact of bacteria on plant growth and disease resistance

L. Weisskopf (UZH)
T. Boller (UniBS)
L. Eberl (UZH)

D. Blom


Impacts of extreme climatic events on ecosystem functioning in alpine grasslands

M. Scherrer-Lorenzen (ETHZ)
E. Spehn (UniBS)
A. Lüscher (ART)

S. Schmid


Structural and functional analysis of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) in plants

T. Wicker (UZH)
C. Jäger-Baroux (UZH)
U. Grossniklaus (UZH)

K. Kritsas


Understanding and exploiting diversity in plant storage carbohydrates

S. Zeeman (ETHZ)
W. Gruissem (ETHZ)

S. Bischof



Relationship between the success of establishment of invasive plants and their mode of reproduction

U. Grossniklaus (UZH)
J. Stöcklin (UniBS)

C. Sailer


Discovering the mechanism of sucrose export from plant cells

S. Zeeman (ETHZ)
E. Martinoia (UZH)

H.C. Lin


Chemical signaling in the mutualistic arbuscular-mycorrhizal symbiosis in plants

M. Bucher (ETHZ)
T. Boller (UniBS)
E. Martinoia (UZH)

D. Drissner


Constraints to plant tissue formation in the cold

F. Meins (FMI)
C. Körner (UniBS)
A. Fleming (ETHZ)

Y.P. Lee


Molecular and phenotypic diversity of wheat landraces for winter

B. Keller (UZH)
P. Stamp (ETHZ)
J. Leipner (ETHZ)

C. Plassé


Identification and characterisation of tonoplast transport systems using proteomic approaches

U. Schmidt (UZH)
S. Baginsky (ETHZ)

A. Endler


Neutral versus niche-structured communities: testing for resource partitioning by plants

N. Buchmann (ETHZ)
A. Hector (UZH)
P. Niklaus (UniBS)

S. von Felten


Genetic dissection of seed and fruit development in Arabidopsis thaliana

C. Köhler (UZH)

L. Hennig (ETHZ)

O. Leroy