Evolutionary Biology Workshop “Guarda” (BL.0206)


The Evolutionary Biology in Guarda course is is a project-oriented international summer school in the alpine village of Guarda, Grisons, Switzerland, organized by Prof. Dieter Ebert, University of Basel and Prof. Sebastian Bonhoeffer (ETHZ) (see: http://www.evolution.unibas.ch/teaching/guarda/).


This is a recommended and elective MSc course in Biology for the option Ecology and Evolution; it amounts to 56 hours and counts for 4 ECTS points. There is no guaranteed admission to this course (see below).


The course is a 1-week long workshop for Master students and early PhD students with a keen interest in evolutionary biology.


Purpose of the workshop

  • To learn to think more clearly and to express your ideas.
  • To gain confidence in your own ideas.
  • To discuss your ideas, reject them if necessary and to find new ones.
  • To learn how to write a grant.
  • To have a focused and sustained conversation about science, to dig deep.
  • To make the doing of science a shared pleasure.
  • To learn interact in a team.


What happens during the workshop:

  • Form working groups of 4-6 people with shared interests.
  • Make a list of things to discuss.
  • Take some time to discuss the list.
  • Faculty members will assist you and will visit groups daily.
  • Ask yourselves, what is a good research question? How can we recognise it?
  • Choose 1-2 promising questions or topics. Discuss them.
  • Write a grant proposal
  • Have it critiqued, revise it, present it in plenary.
  • All of this happens without using the internet (There is limited internet access during the course).



The town of Guarda is in the Swiss alps at an altitude of about 1650 meters in the Kanton of Grison (Graubünden), the easternmost Swiss Kanton. The nearest larger town is Scoul (Schuls) (about 10 km). The mountains in the area are spectacular. Accommodation is in flats with 4 to 8 people (mostly double bed-rooms). People sharing a flat cook for themselves.



Every participant has to finance his travel and accommodation him/herself. The costs for accommodation are CHF 450.-. That includes food. This money has to be paid in advance (we have to pay for housing in advance). The exact costs can only be calculated closer to the event, but will not change much. Payment will be possible by money transfer or credit card.



There is no guaranteed admission to this course. The application deadline (announced on http://www.evolution.unibas.ch/teaching/guarda/) is usually in February, with the course taking place in June.


Students who are interested in attending the Guarda course and who would like more information on this course should please contact and make an appointment with Prof. Thomas Flatt ahead of time (thomas.flatt@unifr.ch).


Further information on the Guarda courses can be found at: http://www.evolution.unibas.ch/teaching/guarda/ For application deadlines see the course website.