Nicolas Derungs

My PhD project starts from the observation that despite more than twenty years of concerted efforts by soil management experts to implement measures to protect soil quality, erosion on arable land still constitutes a major environmental problem for Swiss agriculture today. In response, Swiss agricultural policy for the period 2014-2017 includes plans to improve soil protection by strengthening the effectiveness of current agri- environmental instruments, as reflected most recently in new guidelines issued by the Federal Offices for Agriculture and for the Environment. In this project, we will investigate the effectiveness and long-term stability of this agri-environmental policy for soil protection by analyzing: (a) how soil erosion has been constructed as an agri-environmental problem; (b) how the network of authorities, experts, instruments and farmers involved in its implementation interact around this problem; and (c) how biological and social scientific knowledge about proper policy formulation in the area of erosion on arable land has been constituted and how it is evolving. This PhD project is co-directed by Proefessor Ellen Hertze of the Anthropology Institute and Prof. Edward Mitchell of the Biology Institute.



2007 :

M.Sc. in Biology (in biogeosciences), University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

2005 :

B.Sc. in Ethnobiology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

2002 :

Maturity grade in biology, chemistry and geography, Bulle, Switerland


Professional experiences:

2010 - 2013

Science communicator (Communication in Science)

2010 - 2011

Science teacher (Bilingual school of Suisse Romande)

2009 - 2010

Intern for the Agenda 21 of Fribourg (Bureau Urbasol): sustainable development projects.

2008 - 2009

Co-author for a book: « Les plantes ligneuses du Rwanda : flore, écologie et usages » (Adansonia Consulting)

2008 - 2009

Internship in the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.


Publications :

Bloesch, U., Troupin, G. & Derungs, N. Les plantes ligneuses du Rwanda: flore, écologie et usages. Aachen, Shaker. 2009. 760p.

In prep:

Heger TJ, Derungs N, Theurillat JP, Mitchell EAD. Climatic vs. biotic controls over microbial communities - A comparative study of testate amoebae (Protista) in Calluna vulgaris litter and Minuartia sedoides cushions along an altitudinal gradient.


Interview sur la RTS on 24th Ferb. 2013 (Follow the link to listen to the insterview)