PSC Summer School 2018

Responsible Research and Innovation in Plant Sciences

Summer School cover image

10-14 September 2018, Einsiedeln, Switzerland


Social transformation through innovation and research are key elements in the discussion on how the global community could overcome its complex problems related to environmental and economic constraints in a resource-limited world. Innovation conflicts arise when transformation is mainly technological driven and not integrating ethical, legal and social issues. In response, scientists are asked to take a role in science-in-society dialogue.

What does science-in-society mean?

Knowledge that is adapted to societal needs is co-produced between different stakeholders including scientists. Spaces for social learning and transformation are created. Public engagement is key in this process – welcoming civil society actors as partners to express their values and interests in techno-scientific and innovation choices. We have to re-think the scientific research process, opening spaces for the public at the beginning of a research project to come together with the scientists  and reflect on the question, which innovation and research should be fostered: By whom? Why? In which ways? Says who?

In this summer school, we will implement the responsible research and innovation framework (RRI) of the European Union to exemplary research field as plant breeding, smart farming, digitalization in agriculture or genome editing in plant sciences and to your own research projects.

We guide you through the science-in-society research processes that includes the following dimensions: Anticipating a wide range of possible futures with the public and stakeholders. Become reflective about involved values and interests. Opening the research process to all actors, providing them with meaningful information, including different perspectives and expertise across a diversity of communities. And, be responding and adapting research to societal needs and views.

Invited speakers will give insight into their research field, conduct interactive workshops and take part in discussions. They will act as mentors in the case studies group work, which will be available as summer school proceedings.

Invited Speakers

  • Christian Pohl, D-USYS td-Lab, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Daan Schuurbiers, De Proeffabriek, NL
  • Grégory Grin, Fri Up, CH
  • Bernadette Oehlen, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, CH
  • Foteini Zampati, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, GODAN, UK
  • Eduardo Perez, World Food System Center, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Jochen Markard, Sustainability and Technology within the Dept of Management, Technology, and Economics, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Melanie Paschke, University of Zurich, CH
  • ... and others.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the summer school participants will:

  • Understand the responsible research and innovation (RRI) framework
  • Gain tools for co-producing knowledge
  • Know how to carry out constructive ethical assessment, technology assessment and anticipation techniques
  • Be able to apply design thinking
  • Understand public engagement and deliberation in research
  • Understand transition management
  • Build a responsible research and innovation process for your own project  through case studies and best practice examples

Organization of Student Work

Before Summer School:

  • Application includes description of motivation and background
  • Preparatory reading: Students will need to read the assigned literature before the summer school

During Summer School:

  • Sessions are composed as lectures, discussions and case study work
  • Group work will be done on case studies, individual working time on this assignment is expected to be 10h
  • Presentation and integration: At the end of each afternoon, 1 group presents their experiences and insights - Open Format
  • Case study presentations on day 5

After Summer School:

  • Groups submit a finalized version of their case study for inclusion in the PSC summer school proceedings


Priority will be given to students enrolled in one of the following PSC PhD programs: Plant Sciences and Science & Policy.

Other MSc students, PhD students and PostDocs at University of Zurich, ETH Zurich or University of Basel as well as students from other national or international universities are welcome if places are available.


PhD Students registered at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School (LSZGS, incl. PSC PhD Program «Plant Sciences» and «Science and Policy»): CHF 150. All other participants (incl. national and international Master students, PhD students and PostDocs): CHF 300. The fee covers board, lodging and activities during the summer school study week. Travel expenses are not included.

Students are expected to arrive at the venue on Monday morning, September 10, 2018. For cancellation less than four weeks before the summer school a late cancellation fee of CHF 150 applies.

Date and Venue

10–14 September 2018, Study week in Einsiedeln (Canton Schwyz):

Schweizer Jugend- und Bildungszentrum (SJBZ), Hotel Allegro


Registration closed

Please register here:

Applicants are requested to submit the following items as a merged PDF:

(1) CV

(2) short motivation statement (5–10 sentences)

Evaluation of the incoming registrations will be based on the participant’s education, link of personal research work to the summer school topics and motivation statement.




Zurich-Basel Plant Sciene Center:

Dr. Melanie Paschke, Dr. Carole Rapo and Romy Kohlmann


This summer school received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722338 - PlantHUB. Moreover, this summer school received funding from swissuniversities.

Questions about this Summer School? Contact (Coordination):

Romy Kohlmann


Phone: +41 (0)44 632 47 96