701-1502-00L  Transdisciplinary Case Study

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersM. Stauffacher, P. Krütli
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 25.

Students have to apply for this course by sending a two-page motivation letter (why are you interested? what do you want to learn? what can you contribute?) to michael.stauffacher@usys.ethz.ch and pius.kruetli@usys.ethz.ch (latest by December 31, 2020).

Important: for students in Agricultural Sciences, the case study can replace the compulsory course 751-1000-00L Interdisciplinary Project Work!


AbstractThis course is a project-oriented and research based teaching activity organized in a real-world setting. Students work on societally relevant problems. Sustainability issues and collaboration between science and society are key.
In 2021, the case area are the Seychelles, a small developing island state (SIDS) in the Indian ocean.
ObjectiveStudents learn how to plan and implement their research work in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams of students. This includes: structure ill defined problems; derive research questions; design research plans; apply qualitative and quantitative methods; work in interdisciplinary and inter-cultural teams; organise transdisciplinary collaboration between research and people from outside academia.
ContentThe Seychelles are a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Indian Ocean comprising some 115 islands spread over a sea area of 1.4 million km2. SIDS share some common characteristics. They are: small in size and economy; are remote and isolated from international markets; are vulnerable against external disturbances and climate change effects. The Seychelles are highly dependent on intact nature. Tourism and fishery are major economic pillars. The Seychelles are in a transformation process from a developing to a developed country.

Between 2012-2015 ARUP, an international consulting company, developed the Strategy Plan Seychelles 2040. The Seychelles Planning Authority (SPA) is currently working on the implementation of the strategy plan. Land use planning is currently major activity.

The preparation of the case study happens in close collaboration with the SPA. SPA is major partner of the case study in order to secure that the research is relevant for the local context. TdLab and SPA agreed on Sustainable Land Use as umbrella theme. Topics to look at may include transport infrastructure, tourism, conservation, housing, agriculture, etc. all of them relevant for sustainable land use.

This is the third time that the transdisciplinary case study is organized in the Seychelles. In 2016 and 2018 we were working on solid waste management. See: https://tdlab.usys.ethz.ch/teaching/tdcs/former/cs2016.html
https://tdlab.usys.ethz.ch/teaching/tdcs/former/cs2018.html

There is a video which explains the core elements of the transdisciplinary case study. See: http://www.tdlab.usys.ethz.ch/teaching/tdcs.html
Prerequisites / NoticeThe case study 2020 had to be discontinued due to Corona and postponed to 2021.

The number of participants is limited. Students have to apply for this course by sending a two-page motivation letter. The letter should refer to: Why are you interested? What do you want to learn? What can you contribute to? The latter may include particular skills you have the case study could benefit from. Please send the letter to michael.stauffacher@usys.ethz.ch and pius.kruetli@usys.ethz.ch (latest by December 31, 2020).

Important: for students in Agricultural Sciences, the case study can replace the compulsory course 751-1000-00L Interdisciplinary Project Work!