CCES Winter School «Science Meets Practice» 2017, Switzerland

Publish Date: Jul 26, 2016

Event Dates: from Jan 09, 2017 12:00 to Feb 10, 2017 12:00

Strengthening a dialogue between science and practice

There is an increasing demand for scientists to interact with people and institutions outside of the scientific community. In this Winter School you learn methods on how to better interact with stakeholders such as practitioners in public or private institutions and the general public. You learn methods in sharing and exchanging knowledge, using methods such as such as "focus groups" and "accompanying groups", as well as key theoretical foundations that underpin these techniques.

A key feature of this Winter School is the direct application of these methods in real science-practice situations, thereby giving you the unique opportunity to actively interact with various stakeholders from administration, business, policy, and civil society, as well as allowing you the chance to expand your own networks. Furthermore, together with your peers, you also critically analyze and reflect on your own PhD or postdoc research project with respect to its societal relevance and application.

Content and format

The CCES Winter School takes place during two blocks of four days each, with a 2-week pause interval between these blocks, when participants have the chance to conduct preparatory work for the second block.
The format of the CCES Winter School is as follows:

The first block (in January) is dedicated to lectures, group work exercises and case studies, with a focus on theory and methods in knowledge exchange.

The second block (in February) participants implement some of the methods, such as hosting stakeholder meetings, where the results of these interactions are shared and exchanged back with stakeholders. The Winter School concludes with round-table discussions and plenary presentations from experienced professionals in the field of science-practice interactions.

A team of coaches will guide and support you in achieving the learning objectives of the CCES Winter School during the two block weeks. The total time requirement for completing the course is in the range of 120 hours, equivalent to 4 ECTS.


In order to assure the continuation and transfer from the first to the second block week, and depending on your interests and level of knowledge and/or experience with science-practice interactions, participants select one of two tasks, each with its own set of methods that are relevant for fostering a dialogue and interaction between science and practice:

  • Consultation: Participatory methods, such as focus groups, are used to implement the consultation task. Participatory methods actively involve stakeholders in the data collection process of a research project, typically used where diverse viewpoints and complex decision‐making processes exist. In learning to apply participatory methods, participants also present findings to stakeholders in a follow‐up meeting, therefore the task can also be considered as a way towards more collaborative forms of interaction.
  • Co‐production of knowledge: This task evolves as knowledge exchange and learning among diverse stakeholders, who typically speak different languages, have different disciplinary backgrounds and functions, and draw on multiple and diverse knowledge systems. For these interactions, different stakeholders meet in an informal setting and get involved in a process of knowledge co‐production together with CCES Winter School participants, proving a great opportunity for mutual learning between science and practice. Furthermore, it is a chance for stakeholders from various institutions to meet and present their ideas in a moderated process.

To complement the two tasks, an overview of communication tools will be introduced by science communication professionals that enhance skills in effectively communicating research findings to practitioners or the public at large. Within each group, participants learn to apply key tools and concepts into products such as lay summaries for information documents, articles for websites or media releases. Furthermore, in 2017, a new module in negotiation and conflict management (including dealing with group dynamics) will be introduced.

When and where

The next CCES Winter School «Science Meets Practice» will take place during two blocks: 9-12 January and 6-9 February, 2017. It will be held at the "Propstei Wislikofen", where the participants will also stay.

Who can apply

PhD students and Postdocs from all disciplines are welcome to apply and participate! The CCES Winter School addresses primarily PhD students and postdocs in environmental and natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences working on topics relevant for sustainability and sustainable development, with maximum number of participants limited to 25.
PhD students and postdocs from the ETH Domain,other Swiss universities and also from universities all over the world are encouraged to apply. The course language is in English, however, knowledge of (Swiss) German is useful for stakeholder meetings as these are normally held in the local language. However, some translation to English will be provided during the stakeholder meetings.


The participation fee is CHF 400 per participant. The fee covers a contribution to costs associated with staying at Propstei Wislikofen, including board and meals and organizational support. The fee does not cover any travel expenses to and from Propstei Wislikofen.


The Winter School is organized by the Competence Center Environment and Sustainability (CCES) of the ETH Domain and is institutionally anchored at ETH Zurich. The CCES Winter School also benefits from the expertise and facilitation of the D-USYS TdLab.

With CCES, the ETH Domain provides the means to strengthen collaborative research between partners of its institutions in the field of environment and sustainability and to foster dialogue with stakeholders outside science including the private sector, the public administration, and the broader public.


ETH Zurich
Department of Environmental Systems Science
Universitaetstrasse 22
CHN K 78
8092 Zurich

For more information please click "Further official information" below.

Further Official Information

Link to Original

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