Science and Policy Courses

Workshop A: Evidence-based Policy-making

 

(2 ECTS, 2 days with case study work in-between, next Spring 2019)

Lecturers and case study supervisors: Dr. Daniela Eberli (Dept. of Political Science, University Zurich), Holger Gerdes (Ecologic Institute), Dr. Eva Lieberherr (Natural Resource Policy, ETHZ), Dr. Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann (Natural Resource Policy, ETHZ), Dr. Susanne Menzel (Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, FOAG)), Dr. Luisa Last (PSC)

The aim of this course is to develop skills and actions to improve the effectiveness of science in informing policy-makers. The lectures will introduce the concepts of environmental governance and evidence-based policymaking. In the case studies, you will study and evaluate concrete examples of policymaking. You will learn how scientific evidence is incorporated by investigating selected examples and processes. The second course day is dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the case studies and what has been retrieved from them. Furthermore, there will be the presentation of a best practice example.

Specific learning objectives are:

  • Understand the concept of evidence-based policy-making
  • Know other factors that interplay in policy making aside from evidence
  • Know factors that influence the policy-making process
  • Argue about the possible advantages of a governance approach to environmental problems
  • Basic understanding of the political and institutional issues that surround environmental governance on the global, federal and cantonal scale
  • Formulate a policy brief
  • Being able to analyze a policy making process (identify involved actors, their interests, positions and strategies to influence the outcome of the policy making process)
  • Value the criteria for good policy advice
  • Being able to modify your approaches to generate knowledge in response to the concerns of policy makers

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (16 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required to hand in an individual assignment to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (44 hours). Case study work involves literature research, expert interviews and group discussions.

Workshop B: Stakeholder Engagement

 

(2 ECTS, 3 days with preparatory and case study work, next Spring 2019)

Lecturer and case study supervisor: Dr. Minu Hemmati, Berlin www.minuhemmati.net

During their work life, most life scientists will have to deal with issues relating to the development of their field, some of which may be subject to controversial debates in society and politics. They may be asked to give advice to governmental institutions on policies relating to natural resource governance, conservation, sustainable use of ecosystems, and others. Life scientists may also be invited to participate in stakeholder engagement processes, as experts, as representatives of the scientific community or other organisations or sectors they may work for.

Communicating and collaborating effectively across the boundaries and differences of various stakeholder groups and engaging constructively with representatives from government, business and civil society in multi-stakeholder processes will be key competencies in this context. In this course, students will learn to understand different stakeholders and multi-stakeholder processes, and effectively engage in multi-stakeholder settings. The course will combine presentations of background information, practical exercises, group discussions and individual reflection.

Specific learning objectives are:

  • Gain a basic understanding of stakeholder engagement and multi-stakeholder processes;
  • Get an overview of possible issues within Life Sciences where stakeholder engagement could play a role;
  • Learn to identify and analyse stakeholders;
  • Understand how to engage with different stakeholders and work effectively in various multi-stakeholder settings;
  • Understand different levels of engagement, including their strengths and weaknesses; and
  • Learn about criteria and methods for evaluating stakeholder engagement processes.

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (25 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required study pre-reading / reading essentials before the workshop, to hand in an individual and group assignments to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (44 hours).

Workshop C: Communicating Science

 

(2 ECTS, 2 days with case study work in-between, next Spring 2020)

Lecturer and case study supervisor: Dr. Jacopo Pasotti www.jacopopasotti.com

In this course, students will learn basics on how to communicate science in an effective way to the media, policy-makers and a wider public. They will be introduced to different communication tools and best-practice examples. Scientists in all fields are expected to perform public outreach occasionally on matters ranging from research funding to assist policy-makers in taking decisions. In doing this, they face particular challenges. Challenges range from being clear, convincing, accurate, and, at the same time, engaging. Academic researchers play an essential role in allowing policymakers to develop and properly assess science policy options, speaking to the media, and contributing to the improvement of public’s critical thinking. If advised and coached appropriately they can engage in a true dialogue that enhances mutual understanding between academia and the public.

Specific learning objectives are:

  • Learn to identify and communicate aspects of their research that are relevant to policy-makers and different stakeholder groups
  • Practice writing techniques to effectively reach a non-specialist audience
  • Know and understand different communication tools such as short texts and press releases
  • Practice public speaking techniques to react to interviews and a non-specialist audience

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (16 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required study pre-reading / reading essentials before the workshop, to hand in an individual and group assignments to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (44 hours).

Workshop D: Building Political Support

 

(2 ECTS, 2 days with case study work in-between, next Spring 2020)

Lecturers and case study supervisors: Dr. Sarah Bütikofer, Global Governance, ETH Zürich; Marcel Falk, chief communication officer, Swiss Academy of Sciences; Dr. Sebastian Koehler, Center for Data and Methods, University of Konstanz (CDM); Dr. Luisa Last, PSC

During the last decades different ways of bridging science and policy have been explored. Policy is understood as a principle or guideline for action in a specific context. In this course, the students shall learn what kind of actions are necessary to implement policies in different sectors, such as public agencies, the civil society or the private sector. Who are the main actors and when do they need to be involved? Decision and policy-makers in Switzerland and the European Union - This lecture gives an overview on main actors in the policy-making process in Switzerland the European Union. Process of policy endorsement - This lecture introduces the essential steps in the process of policy endorsement in Switzerland and the European Union, including examples related to plant sciences and ways to form alliances with policy-makers at national and European scale. Getting support from policy-makers will depend among others, upon convincing them of the benefits that implementing the actions can provide and upon the timing. The aim of the course is to know where it is possible to exert influence on the political process as a scientist, an expert, a lobbyist or an interested Swiss or European resident/citizen. Knowing the decision makers is central to exerting influence on negotiations and decision-making processes. On the second course day, a visit to the Swiss Parliament and an interview with a parliamentarian is scheduled.
Specific learning objectives are:

  • Identify the relevant policy- and decision-making sectors in Switzerland and the European Union
  • Understand the common procedures for establishing and monitoring measurable national and European goals and targets
  • Identify the different legislative measures existing in Switzerland and in the European Union
  • Know different existing policy management and oversight arrangements
  • Plan for successful impact

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (16 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required study pre-reading / reading essentials before the workshop, to hand in an individual and group assignments to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (44 hours).

Workshop E: Analysis and Communication of Risks and Uncertainties

 

(2 ECTS, 3 days with preparatory and case study work, next Spring 2019)

Lecturers and case study supervisors: Cornelius Senf (Humboldt University, Berlin), Dr. Christoph Beuttler (Risk Dialogue Foundation, St. Gallen), Dr. Elisabeth Ehrensperger (TA Swiss), Prof. Anthony Patt (ETH Zurich)

The reliability of scientific data and models are frequently subject of public and political debate. The aim of this course is to understand the concepts of risk, uncertainty and ignorance in relation to these data and models in order for course participants to be more aware of and work more effectively at the science-policy interface. During the first two workshop days, lectures will introduce the concepts of risk, uncertainty and ignorance and apply these in discussion to the course participants’ problems. In exercises, the participants will get first hands-on experiences with applying quantitative (risk-type) uncertainty models to practical examples.

Specific learning objectives are:

  • Understand the concepts of risk, uncertainty and ignorance
  • Apply quantitative models to measure and propagate uncertainty
  • Understand the role of risk-based evidence as a decision tool/framework for policy choices (e.g. IPCC, Technology Assessment)
  • Develop effective strategies for communicating risk and uncertainty

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (24 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required study pre-reading / reading essentials before the workshop, to hand in an individual and group assignments to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (36 hours).

Workshop F: Understanding Policy Evaluation

(2 ECTS, 2 days with case study work in-between, next Fall 2019)

Lecturer and case study supervisor: Dr. Sibylle Studer (INTERFACE, Lucerne)

The course provides a general overview of different policy evaluation approaches, as well as opportunities for concrete applications and reflections on impact models. It aims at discussing how, when, by whom and for what purpose policy is evaluated as well as under what conditions the effectiveness and efficiency of a policy can be measured. Based on the theoretical and methodological introduction on policy evaluation conducted by social scientists, participants reflect on how natural science can contribute to policy evaluation and on how research can become socially relevant. Between the first and the second workshop day, participants are solving a case study (in groups or individually). The main objective of the case study is to practice the application of logic models.

Specific learning objectives are:

  • Know different types of policy evaluation and their methods
  • Understand logic models in the context of policy evaluation
  • Gain insights on how policy evaluation helps to improve policy implications
  • Apply policy evaluation logics in a case study

Individual performance and assessment: Attendance and active participation in the course (16 hours). In order to obtain the credit points, participants are required study pre-reading / reading essentials before the workshop, to hand in an individual and group assignments to be carried out at home and a group/case work to be presented during the second course day (44 hours).

Specialized Courses: Scenario-building and modelling

(1 ECTS, 3 days, next Spring 2019)

Lecturers: Véronique Lamblin (Futuribles, France) Claude Garcia (ETHZ, Switzerland)

This 3 day a workshop consists of two components highly relevant to scientific conceptions and visions of the future. The first day will focus on coupling modeling and scenario-building through a role-playing game experiment. The day will be structured in 3 parts. Firstly, we will play a game of resource management called ReHab, pitching players as Harvesters against Park Managers in a landscape with resources and protected species. Then, we will debrief the game session to elicit the lessons learnt through the game, the role of knowledge, trust, monitoring, etc. in managing natural resources. Finally, we will discuss the Companion Modelling approach and the use of simulation models and/or role-playing to foster dialogue, devise management strategies and explore alternative scenarios. We will address the strengths of the approach, as well as its limits. Day two and three will focus on scenario-building. It will be organized around a practical workshop allowing students to test the scenario method, specific to foresight practices, through the exercise. The goal is not to perform a real foresight study in just 2 days, but to ensure that students 1) understand the basic requirements to build consistent and argued scenarios and 2) the different uses of scenario building.

Specialized Courses: System thinking

(1 ECTS, 3 days, next tbd)

Lecturer: Dr. Martin Reynolds, The Open University, UK

Participants will develop skills in systems thinking in practice using ideas from boundary critique and critical systems heuristics (CSH).  Participants effectively design a reference system for their case study based on applying the CSH boundary-setting questions. Through surfacing key inter-relationships, perspectives, and boundaries, participants will explore the possibilities and limitations of making factual judgments, value judgments, and boundary judgments associated with the ‘wickedness’ of their case study situations. The workshop will be a combination of presentation and mini-lectures (40%) centred on a core demonstration case study running throughout the event, group-work sessions (40%) based on individuals’ choice between two to three other case studies, and plenary reflection and discussion (20%).  Participants should also be encouraged to keep reflective notes through personal journaling during the course of the workshop. Morning and afternoon sessions should be of approximately same duration - 3 hours each, including 20 minute breaks. Figure 1 below provides a general model of the workshop.

Specialized Courses: Careers in Science or Policy, or both?

 

(1 ECTS, 6-7 evenings 5 to 8 pm, next Fall 2019)

This course is also part of the PSC Mentoring and Career Development offer!

This course offers a perspective on possible career paths at the interface of science with policy. It is structured as input-talks, followed by discussion rounds. Recent graduates also from the PSC PhD program “Science and Policy” as well as more mature professionals will be invited, representing career paths in government, politics, NGOs or private companies. In the discussions, we will elaborate with the speakers what kind of skills, experiences and qualities are sought in the respective sector. Moreover, how their responsibilities, impact and working day looks like. The participants prepare by researching the institutions and preparing questions in advance for the speakers. Moreover, they will have the chance for networking.

Invited Guest speakers (2016): Simon Briner (Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG); Franziska Humair (Federal Office for the Environment FOEN); Claudia Boelter (KWS SAAT AG); Sabine Perch-Nielsen (Ernst Basler + Partner); François Meienberg (Berne Declaration); Friedrich Wulf (Pro Natura, Friends of the Earth); Dominik Klauser (Syngenta Foundation); Eva Spehn (Swiss Academy of Sciences SCNAT); Michele Garfinkel (European Molecular Biology Organization EMBO); Thomas Marty (Berinfor AG); Thomas Brook (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources - IUCN) and Claude Garcia (ETHZ, Agricultural Research Centre for International Development CIRAD).