Compared to traditional disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics, the field of molecular systems engineering is very young. Over the next few years, we aim to establish the first PhD program on molecular systems engineering in Switzerland. This program will be co-institutional between the University of Basel and the D-BSSE of ETH Zurich, and it will make use of joint resources and expertise areas. The content of the PhD program will represent the research interests of the various groups involved in this NCCR.

The PhD program on molecular systems engineering will contain compulsory and elective modules. PhD students will be required to attend selected lectures and seminars. Thematically suitable courses will be identified mainly from the existing master programs in chemistry, physics, biology, and biotechnology at the two host institutions.

Furthermore, PhD students will need to acquire a certain number of credit points through participation at seminars on ethics and scientific writing. Presentations at congresses or summer schools, as well as participation at the annual fellow retreat will also be demanded.

The development of a new study program at the PhD level to train future generations of molecular system engineers is an essential step to address future economic, societal and technological challenges. The training of PhD students in molecular systems engineering will integrate the science and engineering disciplines developed in chemistry, biology and physics and combine them with ethical considerations in a truly interdisciplinary way. This is essential to successfully address the degrees of complexity that researchers in molecular system engineering are facing.

At the same time, the general public must also be introduced to this new field and be informed about the myriad of possibilities that it opens up. Ethical aspects of scientific research must be openly discussed, with the aim of building a consensus and avoiding conflicts.

Thus, many more internal and external seminars, talks, conferences, workshops, and trainings will accompany the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering to inform the public, to stimulate curiosity with high school graduates, to attract students, and to train young researchers involved in this collaborative research program.

Training and Career Programs

The group leaders of the NCCR will encourage undergraduate and graduate as well as postdoctoral students to follow individual exchange training programs (mini-sabbaticals) within the different research groups of the NCCR, allowing them to learn new techniques in synthesis and analytical methods used in molecular systems engineering.

Furthermore, in the framework of advancement of young researchers, the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering will support career-training opportunities. Some excellent offers exist already at the universities involved.

Contact for Education

Katrein Spieler (University of Basel, Education Officer). In close collaboration with Oliver Wenger (Head of Education) and Daniel J. Müller (Deputy Head of Education), she is responsible for the design and implementation of a new study program "Molecular Systems Engineering".