A number of key research questions in evolutionary biology are addressed in the URPP Evolution in Action. For instance, evolutionary approaches are used to define management strategies for very small populations threatened by extinction. In addition, the generation of evolutionary novelty in changing environments are 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. Finally, in a transdisciplinary project, the evolution of language is studied.
The URPP Evolution in Action involves multiple research groups in biology, and plays an important integrative role for the diverse biological disciplines at UZH. It even reaches beyond the Faculty of Science (MNF) by including the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (Medical Faculty) and the Department of Comparative Linguistics (Faculty of Arts).
The URPP Evolution in Action aims at achieving its goals through funding activities in the following areas:
- Funding 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 are 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 seminars.