RESPONSE – A new Doctoral Programme

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The RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (RESPONSE DP) aims to contribute to the EUs’ coordinated efforts for stewardship in transformation to sustainable food systems, sustainable energy systems and to ensure sustainable land use.

In December 2019, the PSC will launch its new PhD fellowship programme RESPONSE DP. It combines excellent inter-sectoral research with the empowerment of 35 PhD students capable of interacting with stakeholders, policy-makers and the public to make sure that research is responsive to the needs of society.

Research Topics

RESPONSE DP addresses challenges in the fields of sustainable food system, sustainable transitions in the energy sector and sustainable land use decisions.

PhD students will benefit from the research environment of ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, and University of Basel and from the support of three involved competence centers: Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, the World Food System Center and Energy Science Center.


The RESPONSE research and training programme is unique. PhD students will collaborate with a non-recruiting partner organisation at the science-policy-society interface or with a private organisation (enterprise) and will spend a mandatory secondment of 3-12 months.

Together with their partner organisation and stakeholders PhD students will co-create societally relevant and desirable research and innovation outcomes. Each PhD student will contribute to one Stakeholder Meeting and one Citizen Consensus Conference.

PhD students will be enrolled in the PSC Doctoral Programme Science and Policy. They will be trained in different fields such as:

  • Communication of scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public;
  • Involvement of different stake-holder groups in a participative process to co-produce knowledge;
  • Policy development and endorsement in Europe and at global level;
  • Establishing contacts to policy-implementing organisations, industry, national and international NGOs, GOs and IGOs; and
  • Development of a high standard of scientific responsibility and responsiveness towards the needs of the public.

RESPONSE DP aims to become a flagship example of inter-sectoral research, underpinned with a dedicated training curriculum to foster awareness, expertise and competence in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).