ETH1 - World Food Systems
7 August - 21 August 2016
Hosted by ETH Zurich
The next generation of decision makers must take the lead in building sustainable food systems. Become one of these leaders and join the World Food System Summer School hosted on Switzerland’s largest organic farm.
The two week intensive academic program will bring together university students from a wide variety of disciplines and cultures. It provides the opportunity for young scientists to understand the challenges and opportunities of sustainable agriculture and to connect these to the broader context of the world food system.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary and multicultural, allowing students to work in diverse groups and in collaborative ways. The course incorporate various pedagogic methodologies including, but not limited to: lectures, workshops, field trips, student presentations, small group and plenary discussions, artistic and creative activities, and small-group case study and project work.
During this course you will:
- Discuss challenges, opportunities, and innovations in food systems in a global context with producers, leading research institutes, industry partners, policy makers, and civil society representatives
- Critically reflect on the role of organic production systems to contribute to global food security together with like-minded, motivated students from around the world.
- Learn how to apply a food systems perspective. The program will take an integrated, transdisciplinary approach that considers interactions across the food system and with its environmental, social, and economic boundary conditions.
- Be creative and innovative. Exchange ideas and work on case studies to address contemporary challenges of the world food system as part of an international interdisciplinary team.
- Experience on-farm the realities of organic production systems in a global context.
Field trips are an integral part of the program.
Target Audience / Prerequisites
Upper level Bachelor students only (3rd year), Master students, PhD students. Recently graduated young professionals are also eligible to apply, up to 2 years after graduation.
Applicants should have a strong interest in food systems and challenges and in transdisciplinary collaborative research. They are pursuing studies relevant to the world food system and are be able to demonstrate their motivation, interest, and expertise.
Delivery Method & Learning Outcomes
This immersion learning experience integrates lectures, group work, case studies, workshops, excursions, art, and includes guest speakers and evening social and cultural activities. You will also have the chance to do hands-on work on the farm.
Thematic learning objectives:
- Understand the world food system and food system dynamics in Switzerland.
- Understand the major relationships, interactions and trade-offs in current food systems with a focus on organic production but covering the entire value chain.
- Understand the diverse, political, economic, social and cultural contexts within which solutions to food system challenges take place.
- Understand issues related to the food system from various disciplinary and cultural perspectives.
- Understand potential benefits and challenges of different sustainable and organic production systems with regard to food system outcomes at different scales.
- Understand local challenges and solutions first hand in an interactive and participatory manner and explore transferability of solutions to challenges in their own locality in light of the particular context.
- Understand the political and policy implications of solutions to food system challenges.
Methodological learning objectives:
- Access new tools, methods and materials to support your own projects or initiatives that are related to the topic.
- Gain skills in systems thinking and analysis, multi-cultural and multidisciplinary collaboration, food systems approaches, technical tools, and problem framing.
Personal learning objectives:
- Reflect on how you can make a positive contribution to addressing food system issues, at any scale.
- Reflect on your role as a young leader and gain insights into future career opportunities.
- Become part of a growing alumni group of like-minded, motivated peers from around the world.
- Have a memorable, immersive experience away from day to day distractions to allow time for deeper connection to the topic and to others.
Pre-assignment to be completed before start of the course.
Small case study at the end of the course.
Credit equivalent at host university & contact hours
ETH Zurich accredits successful completion of the course with 4 (four) ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credit points. Acceptance of the points in non-ETH study programs is subject to the regulations of the participant‘s home institution.
This is an intensive course that provides an immersive learning experience. The program will also include some evening social and cultural activities.
Lecturer(s) / Tutor(s)
- Michelle Grant (Executive Director World Food System Center - ETH Zurich)
- Nina Buchmann (Director World Food System Center – ETH Zurich),
- Faculty from the World Food System Center member pool
- Experts from leading research institutes, the public sector, industry, and the non-profit sector
Accommodation will be arranged for the duration of the course and is included in the course fee.
Details will be provided at a later stage.
Figures are estimates only. Click on each item for details.
Tuition FeesCHF 750.- (covers cost for board, lodging, local travel, and activities during the program, all of which are arranged by the course organizers. Participants are responsible for paying and organizing their own visa (if required), health insurance, and their own transportation to and from the course venue in Switzerland.)
Living ExpensesAppr. CHF 150.-
Required and / or Recommended Insurance(s)
Health and accident coverage for the duration of the course is mandatory and participants will have to sign a liability release form.
Further Required Application Material
In portable document (pdf)-format:
- Curriculum vitae
- Motivation letter