Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Doctoral Department of Environmental Sciences Information
Environmental Sciences
Human-Environment Systems
701-1651-00LEnvironmental Governance Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 30.
W3 credits2GE. Lieberherr, G. de Buren, R. Schweizer
AbstractThe course addresses environmental policies, focusing on new steering approaches, which are generally summarized as environmental governance. The course also provides students with tools to analyze environmental policy processes and assesses the key features of environmental governance by examining various practical environmental policy examples.
ObjectiveTo understand how an environmental problem may (not) become a policy and explain political processes, using basic concepts and techniques from political science.

To analyze the evolution as well as the key elements of environmental governance.

To be able to identify the main challenges and opportunities for environmental governance and to critically discuss them with reference to various practical policy examples.
ContentImprovements in environmental quality and sustainable management of natural resources cannot be achieved through technical solutions alone. The quality of the environment and the achievement of sustainable development strongly depend on human behavior and specifically the human uses of nature. To influence human behavior, we rely on public policies and other societal rules, which aim to steer the way humans use natural resources and their effects on the environment. Such steering can take place through government intervention alone. However, this often also involves governance, which includes the interplay between governmental and non-governmental actors, the use of diverse tools such as emission standards or financial incentives to steer actors' behavior and can occur at the local, regional, national or international level.

In this course, we will address both the practical aspects of as well as the scientific debate on environmental governance. The course gives future environmental experts a strong basis to position themselves in the governance debate, which does not preclude government but rather involves a spectrum from government to governance.

Key questions that this course seeks to answer: What are the core characteristics of environmental challenges from a policy perspective? What are key elements of 'environmental governance' and how legitimate and effective are these approaches in addressing persistent environmental challenges?
Lecture notesLecture slides and additional course material will be provided throughout the semester.
LiteratureWe will mostly work with readings from the following books:
- Carter, N. (2007). The politics of the environment: Ideas, activism, policy (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Hogl, K., Kvarda, E., Nordbeck, R., Pregernig, M. (Eds) (2012): Environmental Governance: The Challenge of Legitimacy and Effectiveness. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
Prerequisites / NoticeA detailed course schedule will be made available at the beginning of the semester.

We recommend that students have (a) three-years BSc education of a (technical) university; (b) successfully completed Bachelor introductory course to environmental policy (Entwicklungen nationaler Umweltpolitik (or equivalent)) and (c) familiarity with key issues in environmental policy and some fundamental knowledge of one social science or humanities discipline (political science, economics, sociology, history, psychology, philosophy)
851-0589-00LTechnology and Innovation for DevelopmentW3 credits2VP. Aerni
AbstractTechnological change plays a crucial role in efforts to create a more sustainable future. In this context, policy decision makers must design rules that minimize its risks and maximize its benefits for society at large. The course discusses this challenge from an interdisciplinary perspective taking into account legal, economic, historical, development and environmental aspects..
Objective- to recognize the challenges and opportunities of technological change in terms of sustainable development
- to become familiar with policy instruments to promote innovation
- to improve understanding of political decision-making processes in the regulation of science & technology
- improved understanding of the role of science and technology in the context of human and societal development
ContentScience and Technology Policy is normally associated with the improvement of national competitiveness; yet, it is also an integral part of effective environmental and development policies.
The course will discuss the challenges and opportunities of technological change in terms of sustainable development and show how public policy on the national and the international level is responding to this change.

In this context, students are to become familiar with the basic principles of political economy and New Growth Theory and how such theories help explain political decisions as well as political outcomes in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation. State interventions are either designed to regulate (e.g. environmental regulations, anti-trust law) or facilitate (e.g. intellectual property rights protection, public investment in R&D and technical education, technology transfer) technological change. This will be illustrated by looking at different industries and different national systems of innovation. Subsequently the positive and negative consequences for society and the natural environment will be discussed from a short-term and a long-term perspective.
Lecture notesReader with issue-specific articles. E-version is partly available under
LiteratureAerni, P. 2015a. Entrepreneurial Rights as Human Rights: Why Economic Rights Must Include the Human Right to Science and the Freedom to Grow Through Innovation. Banson, Cambridge, UK

Aerni, P. 2015b. The Sustainable Provision of Environmental Services: From Regulation to Innovation. Springer, Heidelberg.

Aerni, P., Gagalac, F., Scholderer, J. 2016. The role of biotechnology in combating climate change: A question of politics. Science and Public Policy, 43 (1): 13-28.

Aerni, P., Nichterlein, K., Rudgard, S, Sonnino, A. 2015. Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) Work for Development in Tropical Countries. Sustainability 7 (1): 831-850.

Aerni, P. 2013b. Do Private Standards encourage or hinder trade and innovation? NCCR Trade Working Paper 18/2013.

Aerni, P. 2009a. What is Sustainable Agriculture? Empirical Evidence of Diverging Views in Switzerland and New Zealand. Ecological Economics 68(6): 1872-1882.

Aerni, P. 2007. Exploring the Linkages between Commerce, Higher Education and Human Development: A Historical Review. ATDF Journal 4(2): 35-47.

Aerni, P. 2004. Risk, Regulation and Innovation: The Case of Aquaculture and Transgenic Fish. Aquatic Sciences 66: 327-341.

Arthur, B. 2009. The Nature of Technology. New York: Free Press.

Baylis, K./Rausser, G. C. and Leo S. 2005. Including Non-Trade Concerns: The Environment in EU and US Agricultural Policy. International Journal of Agricultural Resources Governance and Ecology, 4 (3/4): 262-276.

Brown, T. (2013) The Precautionary Principle is a blunt instrument. The Guardian. July 9, 2013.

Burk, D. L. & Lemley, M. A. 2009. The Patent Crisis and How to Solve it. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Burk, D., L. 2013. Patent Reform in the United States: Lessons Learned. Regulation: 1-25.

Carr, N. 2008. The Big Switch. Rewiring the World from Edison to Google. W. W. Norton & Company, New York.

Christensen, C. 2011. Innovatior's Dilemma. Harper Business, New York.

Christensen, Jon. 2013. The Biggest Wager. Nature 500: 273-4.

Diamond, Jared. 2013. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies. Viking, New York.

Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs and Steel. New York: Norton.

Farber, Daniel. 2000. Eco-pragmatism: Making Sensible Environmental Decisions in an Uncertain World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Farinelli, F., Bottini, M., Akkoyunlu, S., Aerni, P. 2011. Green entrepreneurship: the missing link towards a greener economy. ATDF Journal 8(3/4): 42-48.

Freidberg, S. (2007). Supermarkets and imperial knowledge. Cultural Geographies, 14(3): 321-342.

Goldstone, Jeffrey. 2010. Engineering Culture, Innovation, and Modern Wealth Creation. In: C. Karlsson, R.R. Stough, B. Johansson (eds) Entrepreneurship and Innovations in Functional Regions. Northampton: Edgar Elgar.

Hamblin, J. D. 2013. Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jefferson, D. J., Graff, G. D, Chi-Ham, C. L. & Bennett, A. B. (2015) The emergence of agbiogenerics. Nature Biotechnology 33 (8): 819-823

Juma, Calestous. 2016. Innovation and its Enemies. Oxford University Press.

Kaul, Inge, Grunberg, Isabelle, and Marc A. Stern (eds). 1999. 'Global Public Goods. International Cooperation in the 21th century.' Published for the United Nations Development Program. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rosenberg, Nathan. 2000.'Schumpeter and the Endogeneity of Technology'. London: Routledge.

Warsh, David. 2006. Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe 2-hour course (5-7 p.m.) will be held as a series of lectures. The course materials will be available in form of an electronic Reader at the beginning of the semester.
The class will be taught in English.
Students will be asked to give a (a) presentation (15 Minutes) or write a review paper based on a article selected from the electronic script, and (b) they will have to pass a written test at the end of the course in order to obtain 3 credit points in the ECTS System. In the final mark (a) will have a weight of 40% and (b) 60%.
701-1543-00LTransdisciplinary Methods and ApplicationsW3 credits2GP. Krütli, M. Stauffacher
AbstractThe course deals with transdisciplinary (td) methods, concepts and their applications in the context of case studies and other problem oriented research projects. Td methods are used in research at the science-society interface and when collaborating across scientific disciplines.
Students learn to apply methods within a functional framework. The format of the course is seminar-like, interactive.
ObjectiveAt the end of the course students should:

-Function, purpose and algorithm of a selected number of transdisciplinary methods

-Functional application in case studies and other problem oriented projects

Be able to reflect on:
-Potential, limits, and necessity of transdisciplinary methods

Be prepared for:
-Transdisciplinary Case Study 2017
ContentThe lecture is structured as follows:

- Overview of concepts and methods of inter-/transdisciplinary integration of knowledge, values and interests (approx. 20%)
- Analysis of a selected number of transdisciplinary methods focusing problem framing, problem analysis, and impact (approx. 50%)
- Practical application of the methods in a broader project setting (approx. 30%)
Lecture notesHandouts are provided by the lecturers
LiteratureSelected scientific articles and book-chapters
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is recommended and helpful for students participating in the Transdisciplinary Case Study 2017.
701-1551-00LSustainability AssessmentW3 credits2GP. Krütli, C. E. Pohl
AbstractThe course deals with the concepts and methodologies for the analysis and assessment of sustainable development. A special focus is given to the social dimension and to social justice as a guiding principle of sustainability as well as to trade-offs between the three dimensions of sustainability.

The course is seminar-like, interactive.
ObjectiveAt the end oft he course students should

- core concepts of sustainable development, and;
- the concept of social justice - normatively and empirically - as a core element of social sustainability;
- important empirical methods for the analysis and assessment of local / regional sustainability issues.

Understand and reflect on:
- the challenges of trade-offs between the different goals of sustainable development;
- and the respective impacts on individual and societal decision-making.
ContentThe course is structured as follows:
- Overview of rationale, objectives, concepts and origins of sustainable development;
- Importance and application of sustainability in science, politics, society, and economy;
- Sustainable (local / regional) development in different national / international contexts;
- Analysis and evaluation methods of sustainable development with a focus on social justice;
- Trade-offs in selected examples.
Lecture notesHandouts.
LiteratureSelected scientific articles & book chapters
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