Call 2018

Selected projects

Behavioral Interventions to Promote Energy Efficiency

Earth and Environment

Central to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, the mitigation of climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our society is facing. Many national and international initiatives have been launched aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The success of these initiatives, however, does not only require the development of new technologies, but also substantial changes in individual behavior. Research in the behavioral sciences has demonstrated that behavior change can be facilitated through choice architecture, the careful design of the environment in which consumers make decisions. Our understanding of the effects of choice architectural tools on different consumer groups or population segments is still limited. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by integrating our expertise in the fields of environmental decision science and affective sciences. Specifically, we will develop and implement a first comparative study to investigate possible behavioral and cognitive differences between European and North American consumers in response to interventions that aim to promote energy efficiency. The results of this collaborative research project are not only of high theoretical relevance but may also inform the development and implementation of intervention strategies and policies in the energy domain. The project focus is in line with the highly prioritized Sustainability Development Goals of the University of Geneva and the Princeton University Sustainability Plan. The project will initiate a lasting collaboration between our research groups and between the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

projects
Participants
Prof. Tobias Brosch
University of Geneva
Prof. Elke Weber
Princeton University
Stephanie Mertens
University of Geneva

EUROCOMPLEX

Political Science
International Relations

Regime Complexes and European Studies in Interdisciplinary Perspective (EUROCOMPLEX) aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration on the topic of regime complexes. Regime complex means that many policy areas are governed not by one overarching International Organization (IO) but rather by overlapping sets of rules and institutions that are loosely connected. The extension of policy competences to the European Union (EU) in the 1990 has led to the superposition of different regulatory and procedural regimes. The central question for the EUROCOMPLEX project is how the existence of regime complexes has impacted the policy options available to the EU as it tackles pressing international challenges created by economic globalization. EUROCOMPLEX provides a framework for collaborative research projects bringing together Princeton and University of Geneva faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students from the European Union Program at Princeton (EUPP), the Global Studies Institute (GSI), and affiliated departments and programs, to study the constraints and opportunities offered to the EU by the proliferation of regime complexes. The project mixes students and senior researchers to investigate the impact of regime complexes in three specific policy areas: 1) the politics of foreign direct investment; 2) the taxation of multinational companies; and 3) the EU role in global governance. Each cluster is organized as a summer “lab” headed by one senior researcher and including students from each institution. Each lab carries out collaborative research in an interdisciplinary perspective blending notably Political Science and Law.

projects
Participants
Prof. Nicolas Levrat Ph.D.
University of Geneva
Dr. Sophie Meunier
Princeton University
Dr. Didier Wernli
University of Geneva
Yuliya Kaspiarovich
University of Geneva
Grégoire Carasso
University of Geneva

Logical methods in the philosophy of physics

Physics
Philsophy

The aim of this project is to apply logical methods to problems in the foundations of physics. We propose to classify several already existing axiomatizations of the special theory of relativity, using classical and recently developed notions of theoretical equivalence, such as Quine-Glymour equivalence, the more general notion of Morita equivalence, and the even more general notion of categorical equivalence. In a second step, we will attempt to construct first-order theories that capture some of the interesting structure of the general theory of relativity and analyze them in the same way. The goal would be gaining more clarity about questions in the general philosophy of science and in metaphysics, such as “How are special and general relativity related to each other?”. Another concerns the geometrical or physical nature of the gravitational field. A third is whether special and general relativity are supersubstantivalist: whether their ontology consists only of spatiotemporal entities. Do these metaphysical options disappear when one translates from an equivalent formulation of the theory to another? We plan to lay the foundations for future collaboration with a summer school on logical methods in Geneva. We hope to train graduate students in logical methods appropriate to the philosophy of science, whose main experts are in Princeton, and to open a new field of application, spacetime theories, a focus of the philosophy of physics group in Geneva.

projects
Participants
Prof. Christian Wüthrich Ph.D
University of Geneva
Prof. Fabrice Correia Ph.D.
University of Geneva
Prof. Hans Halvorson Ph.D.
Princeton University
Joshua Babic M.A.
University of Geneva
Eliyah Cohen
Princeton University

Partnering Princeton and Geneva to lead community advancements in geochronology

Earth and Environment

U-Pb geochronology is the most widely applicable and accurate tool for measuring ages of rocks and reconstruct rates of geologic processes, from the formation of the solar system, to mass extinction events, and recent volcanic eruptions. Advances in sample preparation methods, isotope measurement, and data reduction have led to increasingly more precise dates. At the same time, higher precision has lead to questions about the fundamentals of isotope systems in mineral structures, requiring development and refinement of scientific concepts. As a result of these advances and new questions, arises the need for interaction between different laboratories to share ideas and data, formulate new methodologies, and identify areas for progress. Princeton and UNIGE host two of the worlds' top laboratories specializing in high-precision U-Pb geochronology. As part of the EARTHTIME initiative, between ~2003 and 2010, there was a burst of interaction between different U-Pb laboratories that resulted in more precise and more accurate dates being generated, with better reproducibility between labs. Following a lull of ~7 years, there is a need again for labs to get together and pave the way to the next level of precise U-Pb geochronology. Questions surrounding climate change and Earth system history in deep time demand more precise and more accurate dates from labs such as ours. In order to facilitate this work, we propose to host and heavily subsidize two workshops at PU and UNIGE, at which representatives from established and new U-Pb labs around the world will come together for a period of 3 days each in order to determine the next steps in improving analysis and interpretation techniques, formalize an intercalibration experiment between labs, work with industry to develop better measurement tools, and to develop new strategies for outreach. The vast majority of the requested budget is to fund these two workshops, from which PU and UNIGE, as well as the broader community, will benefit significantly.

projects
Participants
Prof. Blair Schoene
Princeton University
Prof. Urs Schaltegger
University of Geneva