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PhD Program in Science and Policy

The PhD Program in Science and Policy is unique in Switzerland. It combines life, environmental, earth, agricultural, engineering, energy or food sciences with the development of skills and competencies for the science-policy dialogue and interface.

Why a PhD Program in Science and Policy?

Scientists have an important role to play in policymaking - but how can they make sure their research has an impact?

The world is changing. Critical challenges that we face for preserving our livelihood and a sustainable future for all, need reliable data and scientific evidence to inform policymaking.

Scientists need to engage with the policy world and stakeholders to be relevant and have their work incorporated into policy and societal dabates. The PhD Program in Science and Policy provides participants with the tools and skills they need to brigde science and policymaking.

Our program was built for individuals in early stage of their scientific career (PhD or Postdoc) to develop the necessary competencies and skills for engaging in science policy dialogue or to pursue their future career in the field of policymaking. Careers in policy in different settings in feeral, state of local government and administration, in non-profits, think tanks, in private companies or in academic institutions.

Join the PhD Program and prepare yourself to make a difference in current policymaking.

The PhD Program in Science and Policy

This 3-year PhD Program of 12 ECTS introduces students in block courses and workshops to theory, tools and skills for interacting at the science policy interface. Each block course is organized as a series of lectures, tool-oriented workshops, literature studies, and problem-based group work on timely case studies from the science-policy domain. Exchange with external experts, policymakers and politicians provide hands-on experience. Opportunities and expectations for networking are central to the training program. Our program learning objectives are:

  • Learn about the policymaking process and the ways to engage with evidence-based research.
  • Learn how to translate research findings for policy-relevance.
  • Improve your communication of scientific results with policymakers, media and the public.
  • Learn to involve different stakeholder groups in a participative process.
  • Build competencies and skills for your transition into a science-policy career.
  • Build a science policy network.

Students in the program will obtain their PhD from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich or the University of Basel.

The PhD Program is accredited by the University of Zurich, University of Basel and ETH Zurich, as well as the Zurich Life Science Graduate School. It will be finished with a joint certification from all three universities as part of your doctoral degree.

What our participants say:

“In the course ‘Communicating Science’ I learned to craft compelling messages to different audiences.” – Charlotte Pavageau, Marie Curie Alumni

“It’s helpful to understand how my project has a broader societal impact. (…) It’s good to always take a step back and look at larger societal impact, and these workshops definitely helped me frame that.” – Bessie Noll, Marie Curie PhD Fellow

“A course like ‘Stakeholder Engagement’ taught me techniques and tools to work with stakeholders in a way that bridges the divide rather than creating new walls.” – Kevin Vega, Science & Policy Alumni"

Program Contact

Dr. Luisa Last (PhD Program Coordinator,

Weiterführende Informationen


This initiative has received support from the SNSF Prodoc (grant no. PDAMP3-127227/1), SUK Doktoratsprogramme, the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. PITN-GA-2013-608422 – IDP BRIDGES, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 847585 - RESPONSE (2020-2025), Mercator Foundation Switzerland and ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich through the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.


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