RESPONSE – A new Doctoral Programme

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The RESPONSE Doctoral Programme (DP) «RESPONSE - to society and policy needs through plant, food and energy sciences» is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 847585. RESPONSE DP builds on the academic expertise of three world-leading institutions - ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Basel - and the three internationally renowned competence centers Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (PSC), the World Food System Center and Energy Science Center. RESPONSE DP is centrally managed by the PSC. It started in February 2020.

After 4 calls for PhD candidates, 28 early-stage researchers (see projects) have been recruited for 36 months (100%). They are working at the interface of science and policy, as well as science and innovation. 20 ESRs are employed at ETH Zurich and 8 ESRs are working at the University of Zurich. RESPONSE DP will train them 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.

While working in an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research environment in the natural, life and engineering sciences at one of the two host organization, the ESRs will be co-supervised by renowned Partner Organizations, for example from industry, public and civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations or governmental organizations to transfer research results into policy or society.

A mandatory secondment (= internship) of 3 to 12 months at selected partner organizations such as Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL (CH), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, FR), International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD, CH), Office for Nature and Environment Grisons (CH), Puregene (CH) and RWE Renewables GmbH (DE) is part of each project. 

ESRs are matriculated at either ETH Zurich or University of Zurich or depending on the academic supervisor’s location with a PhD awarded after successful completion of a PhD thesis. All applicants will follow the PSC PhD Program Science and Policy that is unique in its kind. Through the curriculum of this program, PhD fellows will be trained in the communication of scientific evidence to policy-makers and the public; the involvement of different stakeholder groups as well as in policy development and endorsement in Europe and at global scale.


Luisa Last