Sustainability and Technology @ETH Academy 2018

Published by Monika Rut on the 27th June 2018.

Sustainability and Technology @ETH Academy 2018

For the past twelve years, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) has organized their PhD Academy to foster interdisciplinary knowledge exchange, provide research guidance, and network early career researchers with the world-class experts. The theme of this year’s academy was “Sustainability at the Crossroads: Integrating Technologies, Policies and Strategies for a Sustainable Economy” – and it focused on the sustainability challenges facing us in the 21st century such as climate change, and solutions to address them such as renewable technologies, sharing economy, sustainable management of fisheries and food systems, and corporate sustainability policies.

As a food researcher working with the SHARECITY, I was delighted to be selected to join thirteen other PhD students and post doc researchers with backgrounds in management, innovation studies, economics, and political sciences, and to be able to present a paper on practices of recirculating surplus food and food sharing in Singapore. The academy was chaired by a group of international experts in sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship, and management, and included Professors Gail WhitemanJeffrey YorkVolker Hoffmann and Erin Baker. They provided insightful feedback on each participant’s paper, focusing particularly on research design, theoretical approaches, and methodologies.

The academy was inspiration to all of us and helped guide our future research plans. As a group, we questioned and brainstormed strategies, approaches and challenges of integrating sustainability in everyday practices, technologies, economies and policies. Last but not least, all of us enjoyed being in the beauty of mountainous Swiss city of Appenzell, known for its cheese, breweries, music, colourful costumes and direct democracy experience. As much as the mountain paths of the region do, our conversations wandered from topic to topic and from place to place over the six days of the Academy. Discussions took place at lecture halls, and importantly for SHARECITY over shared dinner tables, as well as while hiking trails. Collectively our ideas and thoughts grew fuelled by the scent of summer and sound of alphorn.

Monika Rut


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