Facilitating sustainable ariculture research

Project A1-19

Translating Plant Science into Sustainable Development - An Educational Model for facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Research towards Transfer: (SMART Agriculture)

SMART Agriculture aims at the translation of plant science into sustainable development education (=ESD) in the agriculture context. It enabled students to put knowledge into action by applied case studies and mentoring. In two summer schools we explored the alleys of a sustainable agriculture - „Green Revolution Reloaded: Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production“ was in September 2014 and „Agriculture in Transformation: New Concepts for an Agriculture Production that is Socially Fair, Environmentally Safe and Economi- cally Viable“ was proposed in September 2016.
Foto von Tanja Lander für Graduate Camus, University of Zurich

SMART Agriculture brought together the outstanding expertise of researchers in our network at the forefront of development of emerging technologies, management practices, as well as fundamental understanding of agroecosystem processes with our established network of experts from different social actor groups, all with an important and necessary stake in the question how future sustainable agriculture should look like. Our program is brought them all together in a social learning environment – for the benefit of the students.

The program offers realms of experience from knowledge acquisition to reflection, and from social learning to hands-on training.
Students in the program have developed a skill set for sustainable development through:
  • reflecting on societal and personal values that influence own understanding of what sustainable 
agriculture is
  • observing and valuing societal demands and perception as part of the dialogue
  • communicating risks and uncertainties, and engaging with all involved social actor groups to seek 
for practical solutions for complex problems. This process is part of a participatory dimension in the role of new scientists. It is absolutely necessary for honest knowledge translation: knowledge must be managed and translated to key stakeholders.
  • competency in foresighted thinking of how research, knowledge and decisions on how to implement this knowledge will affect environment and sustainable agriculture

Project leader
Dr. Melanie Paschke
University of Zurich
Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center

Involved universities
University of Zurich
University of Basel

Project duration
01.07.2013 - 31.12.2016


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