Science & Policy for Environmental Action

WHO IS THE COURSE FOR?
  • Early-career researchers (minimum Ph.D. candidates). Master's students might be allowed in the programme on a case by case basis if their background and motivation letter show strong interest and/or early experience in science-policy engagement).
  • Policy professionals and civil society actors
COURSE DESCRIPTION

From climate change to biodiversity loss or plastic pollution, environmental crises have become more complex and intertwined, calling for active collaboration between scientists and policy actors towards science-informed solutions.

To achieve this, scientists, policy actors and intermediaries need specific skills and capacities to navigate the science-policy interface related to global environmental governance and more localised pathways towards the ecological transition. 

International Geneva is host to a rather unique ecosystem of international organisations, NGOs, diplomatic missions, think tanks, donors and research institutions - which  creates opportunities for science to join the policy table. This vibrant environment provides an exceptional setting for immersing oneself in the dynamics of science-based global policymaking.  

This Geneva Summer School offers a unique opportunity for early career researchers, policy professionals and civil society actors to:

  • Understand transnational policymaking and the use of evidence and scientific knowledge : participants will gain insights into the notion of environmental governance, how policies are formulated and implemented at the international, national and local levels, the role of evidence and scientific knowledge in decision-making processes, as well as the role of non-state actors.
  • Explore various models and practices to produce and translate knowledge in support of environmental policymaking: participants will understand how the interactions between science and policy actors have evolved over time, from linear approaches to more relational and integrated approaches, learn practical resources and skills to conduct knowledge translation initiatives and policy dialogues, and get to know the critical role of boundary organisations and knowledge brokers play.
  • Gain practical insights from high-level experts and practitioners from International Geneva while exploring some of the key locations of environmental governance: participants will find out about the dynamics and politics of expertise in policymaking from seasoned experts with first-hand experience and discover the strategic and cultural skills required to navigate the science-policy interface.
  • Build a network and gain interdisciplinary exposure: participants will get opportunities for networking with researchers, peers and experts from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and sectors of activity, broadening their perspectives, and developing their capacity for interdisciplinary approaches to addressing global environmental challenges.
  • Develop engagement strategies or discover career pathways in specific contexts: participants will get the opportunity to share about their current research or professional activity and benefit from feedback on how to further advance their objectives.  

 

The course will include interactive sessions, conceptual and methodological lectures, round tables, field visits and practical activities. It will involve high-level experts and practitioners working at the science-policy interface.

Module 1: Environmental governance systems and the role of science

Module 2: Understanding the science-policy interface: models, functions and actors                              

Module 3: Boundary-spanning as a field of practice: key engagement skills                                  

Module 4: Field visits and practical activities 

Module 5: Strategies and career paths at the interface

 

COURSE CREDITS
Equivalence of 3 ECTS

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for their course if they satisfy attendance. Students wanting to acquire 3 ECTS have the opportunity to do so on the basis of a written assignment.

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to validate this course for credit at their home university prior to the summer school, as specified in our Terms & Conditions.

 

 

Junior Professionals: CHF 1,100

External students (*): CHF 900

UNIGE students (*): CHF 250

(*) Master’s degree-seeking students and Ph.D. candidates only. The tuition fees for lifelong learning students are subject to employment status.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15 April 2024

Note: No course-housing packages are available for this course.

Academic Directors:

Dr. Alexandre Hedjazi
Insitute for Environmental Sciences
Univeristy of Geneva

Dr. Frédérique Guerin
Geneva Science Policy Interface
 

Course Coordinator:

Dr. Mialy Rann
Geneva Science Policy Interface

Speakers of 2023 :

  • Jennifer Allan, Senior Lecturer at University of Cardiff and Strategic Advisor at IISD
  • Michel Jarraud, Secretary General Emeritus – World Meteorological Organization
  • Julian Keimer, Policy Analyst – Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
  • Melanie Paschke, Education Director – Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
  • Jose Romero, Former Chief Scientist – Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.
  • Martin Scheringer, Professor at Masaryk University and Chair of IPCP Board
  • Matteo Tarantino, Lecturer at University of Geneva
  • Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Professor at the Central European University and Vice Chair of IPCC’s Working Group III
  • Augustin Harte, Programme Officer - Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
  • Prof. Silke Beck, Professor at Technical University of Munich and Lead Author for IPBES
  • Karin Ingold, Professor at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern
  • Diana Rizzolio, Coordinator of the Geneva Environment Network, UNEP
  • David Jensen, Coordinator of the Digital Transformation Task Force, UNEP
  • Zhanyun Wang, Scientist, EMPA - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

Preliminary programme for 2024

Download schedule as PDF

Sophie-Dorothe Lieke, PhD Candidate, The University of Göttingen - 2023 Edition

"Having an academic background that straddles the social and natural sciences, I often see the limitations between us researchers and how we communicate and deliver our findings to not only those who are interested in our work, but also to those who can influence and put into practice what our findings. I'm leaving the summer school with a toolkit and a whole host of connections, networks, frameworks and strategies to marry the social sciences and natural sciences with policy so that I can better navigate this interface."


Sho Yamasaki, Environemtal Policy Analyst, OECD - 2023 Edition

"I took this course to deepen my understanding of the interface of policy and science. This course allowed me to explore the diverse players in the interface and what they're doing. For instance, I now have a better understanding in the intergovernmental panels such as IPCC on IPBES. My current project is to give assessment and recommendations on environmental policies for the OECD member countries. So with this study, I think I can reflect better on scientific messages using policy implications and more actionable recommendations coming from the science evidence.

I also learned about the importance of multistakeholder views. I think this is important to facilitate policy based on evidence. And then also I realized that I should deepen my expertise in certain environmental domains because I have a more general knowledge. So I am now more interested in the issues of environmental justice and the distributional impacts coming out from the course this week."


Linda Lammensalo, Knowledge Broker, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters - 2023 Edition

"I think this course is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and learn from each other, learn specific tools and strategies on how to improve the science-policy interface.

What I really also learned is the importance of institutionalizing initiatives in the science-policy interface. So how to kind of scale up interventions and make them more effective. I also learned the importance of co-design and co-creation in the science-policy interface. So the need to bring actors together from different sides, different perspectives and have this multistakeholder dialog together for solving these complex problems.

I also learned that we have these complex environmental issues, challenges like climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and we need to work together to find evidence-based solutions to tackle these issues. And we really need to have scientists and policymakers working together, together with knowledge brokers, to find innovative solutions.
And this is the added value of this course: to get practical information on how to do this and translate it into the daily work of each of us."