published: February 9, 2011
The PhD Program for Forward Looking Students
Andrea Pfisterer is coordinating the PSC Plant Sciences & Policy Program. With this program, she tackles a most important challenge for environmental sciences: The dialogue between scientists and stakeholders.
By Andrea Pfisterer
What is so unique about the specialized PhD Program ‘Plant Sciences and Policy’?
Tomorrow’s plant scientists are not only expected to carry out excellent research and to provide contributions to a beneficial future for our society; they are also expected to communicate with the public and help develop guidelines on which politicians and economic leaders can rely. By introducing tools and skills for policy-work, the PSC PhD program ‘Plant Sciences and Policy’ provides students with the necessary insights and experience to face these challenges.
Who should attend?
This program is open to talented young scientists who feel motivated to take responsibility at the interface between policy, the public and research. It addresses students who are interested in learning the important aspects of policy making, such as evidence-based policy-making, stakeholder engagement, communication strategies and how to build political support, and their link to science.
What can you expect?
At present, thirteen students are enrolled in the program, and additional students attend individual workshops. It is therefore a small group of highly motivated students who have ample opportunities to share and discuss experiences during the workshops. The program contains five block courses consisting of lectures, group work on case studies, individual studies and interviews with external experts.
The workshops are led by top scientists and external experts from governmental offices, NGOs or private organisations. All of them have been carefully selected to contribute, with their practical expertise, to a very ‘hands-on’ course experience. The case studies are placed at the interface of plant science and policy and address issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change, biotechnology, land-use change and sustainable agriculture.
Each course concludes with open, round-table discussions with senior scientists, stakeholders, policy-makers and politicians. The half-yearly courses each provide 2 credit points and will be repeated every two years. In addition, course participants attend one course of their choice in the basics of political science at the ETH Zurich and are encouraged to attend a national or international conference with a societal/political aspect. The program will peak in a Think Tank Event: a joint symposium where the research results of the different theses will be presented and discussed by students, supervisors, invited stakeholders and interested members of the public.
How can you apply?
Students who are interested in this program should visit the program website or contact the program coordinator Andrea Pfisterer (firstname.lastname@example.org).