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 will start in February 2020.

Call 2 for Research Project Proposals is closed.

Call 3 for Research Project Proposals will open on May 1, 2020.

Research Topics

RESPONSE DP addresses challenges in the fields of sustainable food system, sustainable transitions in the energy sector and sustainable land use decisions. Approved projects (Call 1).



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).