A number of key research questions in evolutionary biology will be addressed in the URPP Evolution. For instance, evolutionary approaches will be used to define management strategies for very small populations threatened by extinction. In addition, the generation of evolutionary novelty in changing environments will be studied in plants and animals, but also in microorganisms/pathogens. The evolutionary diversity of disease signaling pathways and the role of epigenetics in evolution are additional key topics of the research proposal. Finally, in a transdisciplinary project, the evolution of language will be studied.
The URPP involves multiple research groups in biology, and it will play an important integrative role for the diverse biological disciplines at UZH. It even reaches beyond the Faculty of Science (MNF) by including the Center of Evolutionary Medicine (Institute of Anatomy, Medical Faculty, MeF) and the Department of General Linguistics (Faculty of Arts, PhF).
The URPP Evolution will achieve its goals through funding activities in the following areas:
- Funding six collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects in the area of ‘Diversification and Adaptation‘ to strengthen and integrate existing competence at UZH.
- Providing funds for additional research projects in evolutionary biology that will be solicited in open calls and awarded on a competitive basis.
- Supporting next generation scientists at the level of PhD students, Academic Fellows, and Assistant Professors.
- Building an integrated ‘Evolutionary Biology Community’ at UZH through joint meetings, workshops, courses, and a seminar series.