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  • Publikation_Stefano Mintchev (2023)

    latest publication from the PSC-Syngenta Fellowship programm

Syngenta-PSC Fellowships


In March 2003, ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, the University of Basel and Syngenta Crop Protection AG agreed on a long-term research collaboration, which has been extended to 2023. The research projects are awarded through annual calls. An Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from the three universities and Syngenta Crop Protection AG was created to select the projects. This funding scheme promotes innovative bottom-up research in plant sciences focusing on the following area: Climate change – challenges and opportunities in agriculture (or crop production). Topics may include:

  • Development of knowledge and tools to better predict the effects of climate change on agriculture systems (at different spatial and temporal scales)
  • Advances in fundamental and applied plant science to mitigate adverse climatic events and safeguard crop protection and crop production
  • Unearthing of new discoveries and inventions to feed the innovation process in sustainable crop protection/production.


Young PSC group leaders are especially encouraged 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.

Call for proposals 2023

Proposals for a PhD or Post doc fellowship can be submitted until 1st of November 2023.

Call for proposals 2023 (PDF, 73 KB)

Template for application 2023 (DOC, 38 KB)

Contact: Manuela Dahinden

Evaluation criteria for project applications include:

  • Alignement to the challenge area: climate change (see call for proposals)
  • Quality and intellectual merit of the proposed research
  • Potential of discovery
  • Potential for interdisciplinary collaborations

List of publications

Approved projects

Project Title Project Leader PhD Student / Postdoc End
Biocontrol composts: Tackling soilborne crop diseases in a changing climate Pascale Flury (UBasel), Gina Garland (ETH), Sebastian Dötterl (ETH), Klaus Schläppi (UBasel) n.n. 2027
Epigenetic drugs as key to understand and modulate flowering time in grasses Sara Simonini (UZH), Bruno Studer (ETH) n.n. 2027

Improving biostimulants to cope with future climate for sustainable agriculture

Leo Eberl (UZH), Klaus Schläppi (UBasel), Monika Maurhofer (ETH Zurich) Marta Torres Béjar (Postdoc) 2025

Toward the engineering of plant pattern recognition receptors for durable disease resistance

Cyril Zipfel (UZH), Julia Vorholt (ETH Zurich), Amedeo Caflisch (UZH), Julia Santiago (ULausanne) Songyuan Zhang 2026
Plant Ecological Airborne Indicators for Response, Plant Eco-AIR Meredith C. Schuman (UZH), Stefano Mintchev (ETH Zurich) Sergio Ramos (Postdoc) 2024
Unearthing the mechanisms of carbon retention in soil and linking them to farmer practices Anna-Liisa Laine (UZH), Ansgar Kahmen (UBasel)

Luiz A. Domeignoz-Horta   (Postdoc)

Epiploidy: An epigenetic approach to increasing the utility of polyploidy as a crop improvement tool Sylvain Bischof
(UZH), Kirsten Bomblies (ETH Zurich)
Miguel Wente 2024
Deciphering plant exudate and root microbiota dynamics during pathogen attack Klaus Schläppi (UBasel), Joelle Schläpfer (UZH) Charlotte Joller 2024

Action of essential bacterial effectors on conserved plant receptor kinases: towards strategies
for durable and broad-spectrum disease resistance

Cyril Zipfel (UZH), Giovanni Broggini (ETH Zurich), Euiwhan Chung (Syngenta) Laura Herold 2023

Effects of microbial endosymbionts on the transmission of plant pathogens by aphid vectors

Mark Mescher (ETH Zurich), Clara Sánchez-Rodríguez (ETH Zurich), Consuelo De Moraes (ETH Zurich), Anke Buchholz (Syngenta)

Patricia Sanches


Improved measurements of plant transpiration for sustainable agricultural water use

Alexander Damm (UZH), Nina Buchmann, Johan Six (ETH Zurich) Eugénie Paul-Limoges (Postdoc) 2021

Identifying the plant genes that shape the leaf metabolome and microbiome

Matt Horton (UZH) and Julia Vorholt (ETH Zurich) Jana Mittelstrass


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)
Santiago Perez Bernal 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)

Sören Weber 2021
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
RNAi solution in agriculture Beat Keller (UZH) Luisa Schäfer 2019
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