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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology


Peer-reviewed articles

Aerni, P. (2021) ‘"Business as Part of the Solution": SDG 8 Challenges Popular Views in the Global Sustainability Discourse’. MPDI Book Series on Transitioning toward Sustainability. 67-101.

Aerni, P. (2021) ‘Decentralized economic ecosystems in Switzerland and their contribution to inclusive and sustainable change’. Sustainability 13(8), 4181.

Aerni, P. (2021) ‘The ethics of farm animal biotechnology from an anthropological perspective’. Sustainability 13(7), 3674.

Cakir, B, Schluep, I. Aerni, P., Cakir, I. (2021) ‘Amalgamation of Export with Import Information: The Economic Complexity Index as a Coherent Driver of Sustainability’. Sustainability 13(4), 2049.

Aerni, P. (2019) ‘Politicizing the Precautionary Principle: why disregarding facts should not pass for farsightedness’. Frontiers in Plant Science 10 (1053),

Aerni, P. (2018) ‘Global Business in Local Culture: The impact of embedded Multinational Enterprises’. SpringerBriefs in Economics, 1-122.

Aerni, P. (2017) ‘Principled Embeddedness: How Foreign Direct Investment May Contribute To Inclusive And Sustainable Growth In Developing Economies’. ATDF Journal 9(1/2), 3-19.

Schluep, I., Aerni, P. Oniango, R. (2017) ‘Europe and Africa Addressing the food security challenges’. Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics 43, 62-74.

Aerni, P. (2016) ‘Coping with Migration-Induced Urban Growth: Addressing the Blind Spot of UN Habitat’. Sustainability 8(8), 800,

Aerni, P., Gagalac, F., Scholderer, J. (2016) ‘The role of biotechnology in combating climate change: A question of politics’. Science and Public Policy (43), 13–28.

Aerni, P., Nichterlein, K., Rudgard, S, Sonnino, A. (2015) ‘Making Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) Work for Development in Tropical Countries’. Sustainability 7 (1), 831-850,

Schluep, I. and Aerni, P. (2015) ‘Ursachen von Preisvolatilität auf Agrarmärkten’. Die Volkswirtschaft 88 (3-4), 55-58.

Cottier, T., Aerni, P., Karapinar, B., Matteotti, S., de Sépibus, and Shinga, A. (2014) ‘The Principle of Common Concern and Climate Change’. Archiv des Völkerrechts, 52(3), 293-324.

Aerni, P. (2013) ‘Resistance to agricultural biotechnology: the importance of distinguishing between weak and strong public attitudes’. Biotechnology Journal 8 (10), 1129–1132.

Aerni, P. (2013) ‘Why do the biotechnology and the climate change debates hardly mix? Evidence from a global stakeholder survey’. New Biotechnology 30(4), 344-348.

Oser, F, Näpflin, C., Hofer, C. and Aerni, P. (2012) ‘Towards a Theory of Negative Knowledge (NK): Almost-Mistakes as Drivers of Episodic Memory Amplification’. Human Fallibility 6, 53-70.

Näpflin, C., Oser, F. and Aerni, P. (2012) ‘Discussion-Based Teaching Methods Addressing Policy Issues Related to Agricultural Biotechnology’. Moral Development and Citizenship Education 6, 147-153.

Aerni, P. (2011) ‘Connecting catch-up growth to sustainable development – a new theoretical perspective’. ATDF Journal 8 (3/4), 29-42.

Farinelli, F., Bottini, M, Akkoyunlu, S. and Aerni, P. (2011) ‘Green entrepreneurship: the missing link towards a greener economy’. ATDF Journal 8(3/4), 42-48.

Aerni, P., Scholderer, J. and Ermen, D. (2011) ‘What would Swiss consumers decide if they had freedom of choice? Evidence from a field study with GM corn bread’. Food Policy 36(6), 830-838.

Aerni, P. (2011) ‘Do Political Attitudes Affect Consumer Choice? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Study with Genetically Modified Bread in Switzerland’. Sustainability 3, 1555-1572.

Aerni, P. (2011) ‘Food Sovereignty and its Discontents’. ATDF Journal 8(1/2), 23-40.

Aerni, P. et al. (2010) ‘Climate Change and International Law: Exploring the Linkages Between Human Rights, Environment, Trade and Investment’. German Yearbook of International Law 53, 139-188.

Aerni, P. (2010) Sustainable Urbanization: The Missing Bottom-Up Dimension‘. ATDF Journal 7(1/2), 44-53

Aerni, P. (2010) ‘Is Agricultural Biotechnology Part of Sustainable Agriculture? Different Views in Switzerland and New Zealand’. AgBioforum 13(2), 158-172.

Aerni, P. (2009) ‘What is Sustainable Agriculture? Empirical Evidence of Diverging Views in Switzerland and New Zealand’. Ecological Economics 68(6), 1872-1882.

Aerni, P., Rae, A. and Lehmann, B. (2009) ‘Nostalgia versus Pragmatism? How attitudes and interests shape the term sustainable agriculture in Switzerland and New Zealand’. Food Policy 34 (2), 227-235.

Aerni, P. (2008) ‘A New approach to Deal with the Global Food Crisis’. ATDF Journal 5(1/2), 16-32.

Aerni, P. (2007) ‘Agricultural biotechnology and its contribution to the knowledge economy’. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology 107, 69-96.

Aerni, P. (2007) ‘Exploring the linkages of commerce, higher education and human development: A historical review’. ATDF Journal 4(2), 35-48.

Ozertan, G, Aerni, P. (2007) ‘GM cotton and its possible contribution to environmental sustainability and rural development in Turkey’. International Journal of Agricultural Resources Governance & Ecology 6(4/5), 552-575.

Aerni, P. (2006) ‘Mobilizing science and technology for development: The case of the Cassava Biotechnology Network (CBN)’. AgBioForum 9(1), 1-14.

Aerni, P. (2006) ‘The Principal-Agent Problem in International Development Assistance and its Impact on Local Entrepreneurship in Africa: Time for New Approaches’. ATDF Journal 3(2), 27-33.

Aerni, P. and Bernauer, T. (2006) ‘Stakeholder attitudes towards GMOs in the Philippines, Mexico and South Africa: The issue of public trust’. World Development 34(3), 557-575.

Aerni, P. (2005) ‘Stakeholder attitudes towards GMOs in South Africa’. Environmental Science & Policy 8(5), 464-476.

Aerni, P. (2004) ‘Risk, regulation and innovation: The case of aquaculture and transgenic fish’. Aquatic Sciences 66(3), 327- 341.

Aerni, P. (2004) ‘Stakeholder perceptions towards agricultural biotechnology in Mexico’. International of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Technology 3(1/2), 95-115.

Aerni, P. (2002) ‘Stakeholder attitudes towards the risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnology in developing countries: A comparison between Mexico and the Philippines’. Risk Analysis 26(6), 1123-1137.

Aerni, P. (2001) ‘L'aquaculture : un transfert à risques’. Biofutur 222, 34-37.

Aerni, P. (2001) ‘Assessing stakeholder attitudes to agricultural biotechnology in developing countries’. Biotechnology and Development. Monitor 47, 2-7.

Aerni, P. and Chauvet, M. (2001) ‘La evaluación de opiniones públicas sobre la Biotecnología Agrícola en México’. BioTecnología,. 6(2/3), 44-53.

Aerni, P. Anwander Phan-huy, S. and Rieder, P. (2000) ‘Public acceptance of genetically engineered food - The case of transgenic rice in the Philippines’. Journal of Environmental. Assessment Policy & Management 2(1), 99-118.

Aerni, P. and Rieder, P. (2000) ‘Acceptance of modern biotechnology in developing countries - A case study in the Philippines’. International Journal of Biotechnology 2 (1/2/3), 115-131.

Aerni, P., Anwander Phan-huy, S. and Rieder, P. (1999) ‘Indications on public acceptance of transgenic rice in the Philippines’. Biotechnology and Development. Monitor 38, 18-21.

Special Journal Issues (edited or co-edited by Philipp Aerni)

Aerni, P., Hidalgo C., Semitiel, M. and Schaefer M. (eds) Economic Complexity and Sustainability. Sustainability ( forthcoming

Aerni, P. and Glasmeier, A. (eds) ‘A Contextual and Dynamic Understanding of Sustainable Urbanisation’. Sustainability 8 (2016)

Wesseler, J. and Aerni, P. (eds) ‘Sustainability and the Global Bioeconomy’. Agbioforum 14(3) (2011)

Aerni. P. (ed) ‘Biotechnology and Sustainable Development’. Sustainability 3(10 (2011)

Aerni, P. (ed) ‘The Food Crisis’. ATDF Journal 5 (1/2) (2008)

Aerni, P. (ed) ‘Agriculture in Turkey: structural change, sustainability and EU compatibility’. International Journal of Agricultural Resources Governance & Ecology 6(4/5) (2007)

Aerni, P. (ed) ‘Agricultural biotechnology in developing countries: perception, politics and policies’. International Journal of Biotechnology 7(1/2/3) (2005)

Aerni, P. and Konde, V. (eds) ‘A Focus on Entrepreneurship’. ATDF Journal 3 (2) (2006)

Books and Monographs

Aerni. P, Stavridou, M., and Schluep I. (eds) Transitioning to Decent Work and Economic Growth. MPDI Book Series on Transitioning toward Sustainability (June 2021)) (available online:

Schluep, I., Aerni, P. When Corporatism leads to Corporate Governance Failure: the Case of the Swiss Watch Industry. Banson, Cambridge (June 2016)

Aerni, P., Grün K.-J., Kummert, I. Schwierigkeiten mit der Moral: Ein Plädoyer für eine neue Wirtschaftsethik. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden (August 2015)

Aerni, P. The Sustainable Provision of Environmental Services: from Regulation to Innovation. Springer Series on CSR, Ethics and Governance. Springer, Heidelberg (July 2015)*

Aerni, P. Entrepreneurial Rights as Human Rights. Banson, Cambridge (June 2015)

Aerni, P. und Oser, F. (eds). ‘Forschung verändert Schule’. Seismo Verlag, Zürich (January 2011)

Aerni, P. und Grün, K-J. (eds). ‘Moral und Angst’. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, Göttingen (May 2011)*

Aerni, P. ‘Public Acceptance of Transgenic Rice and its Potential Impact on Rice Markets in Southeast Asian Countries’. Dissertation. ETH Zurich, Switzerland (December 1999)

Aerni, P. ‘The Problem of Indebtedness of Small-Scale Farmers - The Case of Guatemala’. Master thesis. Institute of Geography, University of Zurich (June 1995)

Book Chapters

Aerni, P. 'Wir stehen für Euch ein!' Eine Analyse der politischen Rhetorik im Wettbe werb um das öffentliche Vertrauen’. In Matthias Lindenau (eds) Vertrauen – ein riskantes Unterfangen? Wbg academic, pp 49-62 (2022).

Aerni, P. ‘Exploring the roots of the GMO narrative and why young people have started to ask critical questions’. In: Agnes Ricroch et al. (eds) Plant Biotechnology. 2nd edition. Springer, pp. 277-304 (2021)

Aerni, P. ‘The City as an Ecosystem’. In: Hiromi Hosoya and Markus Schaefer (eds) The Industrious City. Lars Müller Publishers, pp 105-115 (2021)

Aerni, P. ‘Langfristige Direktinvestitionen als Chance für lokales Unternehmertum und Beitrag zu inklusivem Wachstum‘. In: Almanach Entwicklungspolitik 2020: In: Afrika zwischen Aufbruch und Armut. Caritas-Verlag, Luzern, pp 171-180 (2019)

Aerni, P. ‘The Use and Abuse of the Term ‘GMO’ in the ‘Common Weal Rhetoric’ Against the Application of Modern Biotechnology in Agriculture’. In: James Harvey (ed) Ethical Tensions from New Technology: The Case of Agricultural Biotechnology. CABI Publishing, pp 39-52 (2018)

Aerni, P. ‘Attitudes towards the role of innovation in promoting sustainable agriculture’. In: Melanie Paschke, (eds). Agriculture in Transformation. Proceedings of the PSC Summer Schools 2014 and 2016. IDEA GmbH Verlag, München: 60-65 (2017)

Aerni, P. ‘Regulatory Barriers to Trade: Private Standards’. Chapter III.27. In: Thomas Cottier and Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer (Eds), Elgar Encyclopedia of International Economic Law. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp 413-415 (2017)

Aerni, P. ‘Stimulating the Private Sector’. Chapter IV.17. In: Thomas Cottier and Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer (Eds), Elgar Encyclopedia of International Economic Law. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp 617-619 (2017)

Aerni, P. ‘Agricultural biotechnology and public attitudes: An attempt to explain the mismatch between experience and perception’. In: R. Watson and V. R. Preedy (Eds), Genetically Modified Organisms in Food. Elsevier Press, Amsterdam: 149- 156 (2015).

Aerni, P. ‘Welche Ethik braucht es für die Durchsetzung der UNO-Nachhaltigkeitsziele?‘ In: P. Aerni, K.-J- Grün and Irina Kummert (Hrsg), Schwierigkeiten mit der Moral: Ein Plädoyer für eine neue Wirtschaftsethik. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden: 25-44 (2015)

Aerni, P. ‘The motivation and impact of organized public resistance against agricultural biotechnology’. In: D. Castle, P. Phillips & S. Smyth (Eds), Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK: 482- 521 (2014)

Aerni, P. ‘The great misunderstanding of the global food crisis’. In: B. Heap and D. Bennett (Eds) Insights – Africa’s future: can biosciences contribute? Banson Publishers, Cambridge: 76-87 (2014)

Aerni, P. & Rüegger, D. ‘Making Use of E-mentoring to support Innovative Entrepreneurs in Africa’. In: T. Cottier and M. Burri (Eds), Trade in the Digital Age. Cambridge University Press, New York: 433-454 (2012)

Aerni, P., Karapinar, B. & Häberli, C. ‘Rethinking Sustainable Agriculture’. In: T. Cottier and P. Delimatsis (Eds), The Prospects of International Trade Regulation: From Fragmentation to Coherence, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK: 169-210 (2011)

Aerni, P. ‘Learning from the past: how to bring ethics and economics in line with the real nature of the human being’. In: M. Cockell et al. (Eds), Common Knowledge: Rising to the Challenge of Transdisciplinarity. EPFL/CRC Press, Lausanne, Switzerland: 15-30 (2011)

Aerni, P. ‚Die Moralisierung der Politik als Kehrseite der Angst vor dem globalen Wandel’. In: Philipp Aerni und Klaus-Jürgen Grün (Hrsg), Moral und Angst. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht Verlag, Göttingen: 13-32 (2011)

Aerni, P. ‚Interdisziplinarität an Schule und Universität: Das Fallbeispiel Geographie’. In: Philipp Aerni und Fritz Oser (Hrsg), Forschung verändert Schule. Seismoverlag, Zürich: 152-174 (2011)

Aerni, P. ‚Wirtschaftliche Auswirkungen eines EU Beitritts auf die Schweiz: Landwirtschaft und Umwelt’. In: T. Cottier und R. Liechti (Hrsg), Die Schweiz und Europa. Vdf Hochschulverlag, Zürich: 307-309 (2010)

Aerni, P. ‘Reforming agricultural policy in Turkey in Accordance with New Growth Theory’. In Baris Karapinar and Fikret Adaman (Eds) Rethinking Structural Reform in Turkish Agriculture: Beyond the World Bank’s Strategy. Nova Publishers, New York: 229-242 (2010)

Aerni, P. ‘Public Perception of Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa’. In: Zerihun Tadele (Ed), New Approaches in Plant Breeding of Orphan Crops in Africa. Stampfli AG, Bern: 223-243 (2009)

Bernauer, T. & Aerni, P. ‘Trade Conflict Over Genetically Modified Organisms’. In: K. Gallagher (Ed), Handbook on Trade and Environment. Edward Elgar Publishing, London: 184-194 (2009)

Bernauer, T. & Aerni, P. ‘Implications of the Transatlantic Biotech Dispute for Developing Countries’. M. A. Schreurs, H. Selin, S. D. VanDeveer (Eds), Transatlantic Environment and Energy Politics. Ashgate, Burlington VT: 127-144 (2009)

Aerni, P. ‘Technological innovation and its contribution to sustainable development in agriculture’. In: Mieczysław Adamowicz (Ed), Innovations and Innovativeness in the Agribusiness Sector. SGGW Conference Proceedings, Warsaw, Poland: 11-28 (2008)

Aerni, P. ‘Politische Interessen und öffentliches Vertrauen in der Gentechnikdiskussion’. In: H. Busch & G. Pruetz (Hrsg), Biotechnologie in Gesellschaftlicher Deutung. Herbert Utz Verlag, München: 2-11 (2008)

Aerni, P. ‘Anwendungen der Agrarbiotechnologie in der Armutsbekämpfung’. In: Ursula Renz und Barbara Bleisch (Hrsg), Zu wenig: Dimensionen der Armut. Seismo Verlag, Zürich: 218-228 (2007)

Bernauer, T. & Aerni, P. ‘Competition for Public Trust: The Transatlantic Biotech Conflict and Developing Countries’. In: R. Falkner (Ed), The International Politics of GM Food and Trade. Houndsmills/Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan: 138-154 (2006)

Aerni, P. ‘Wahrnehmungs- und Netzwerkanalyse von Interessenvertretern in der Gentechnik-Debatte in Entwicklungsländern’. In: U. Serdült (Ed) Zürcher Politik- und Evaluationsstudien 2: Universität Zürich: 37-54 (2005)

Aerni P. & Rieder, P. ‘Public Policy responses to Biotechnology’. Chapter BG6.58.9.2 in Our Fragile World: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development. Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems (ELOSS), UNESCO, Paris (2001)

Selected Working Papers and contributions to official documents since 2016

Aerni, P. (2020) Mit Emotionen und Moral gegen die Konzerne: Analyse eines entwicklungspolitischen Irrwegs’. Austrian Institute Paper (36) (see

Eidgenössisches Departement des Äussern (EDA) (2019) Bericht «Aussenpolitische Vision Schweiz 2028». EDA, Bern (P. Aerni, member of the external working group appointed by the Swiss Federal Council Ignazio Cassis). (see

Aerni, P. (2016) ’Das bedingungslose Grundeinkommen als Taschengeld für die postmaterielle Wertegemeinschaft’. Austrian Institute Paper (10) (see

Aerni, P. (2016) ‘Der neue Chefökonom der Weltbank sieht Staats- und nicht Marktversagen als Gefahr für die globale Nachhaltigkeit’. Austrian Institute Paper (11) (see

Aerni, P. (2016) ’Migrationsdruck im 21. Jahrhundert: Gefragt sind produktive und prosperierende Städte’. Austrian Institute Paper (14), (see

Selected press contributions since 2017

NZZ, 26.12.2021: Das Problem der Verklärung der Unabhängigkeit der Universität. Gastkommentar (

NZZ, 27.08.2021. Mit stereotypem Denken in der Diskussion um den Stadt-Land-Graben verkennt man die komplexe Realität'. Gastkommentar, S. 21

NZZ, 13.05.2021. Wenn es um effektive Verbesserungen geht, ist der radikale Tierschutz oft kontraproduktiv ( . Handelszeitung, 31.10.2020. Konzernverantwortung: Was bringt die Initiative dem Süden? S.21.

NZZ, 22.09.2020. Zu viel Nabelschau in den Sozialwissenschaften. Meinungen und Debatte, S. 14.

Watson, 19.07.2020. Was passiert genau in Äthiopien? Wie frühere Opfer plötzlich zu Täter werden. Analyse (

NZZ, 22.05.2020. Es gibt weiterhin Herren und Knechte auf unserer Welt: Das blenden wir Europäer gerne aus. Feuilleton online.

Finanz und Wirtschaft, 13.12.2019. Interview mit Franziska Bösiger. Rubrik: Closing Bell/Kaffee mit (

NZZ, 15.11.2019. Eine Lanze für Cassis. Kommentar. Tribüne. S.9. NZZ, 25.07.2019. Multis sind für die Dritte Welt mehr Segen als Fluch. Rezension von P.Aerni’s Buch ‚Global Business in Local Culture‘ von Sergio Aiolfi. Sachbücher, S. 37. (

Watson, 29.06.2019. Darum ist Trumps Kampagne gegen Huawei ein Schuss ins eigene Bein. (

NZZ, 11.02.2019. Äthiopien am Scheideweg. Tribune. S.9 (

Higgs. 05.02.2019. Wir müssen aufhören, Entwicklungsländer als Opfer zu sehen. (

NZZ am Sonntag, 26.08.2018. Zwei Agrarinitiativen pflegen auch unseren Chauvinismus. Externer Standpunkt. S.6

Brand eins, 07.07.2018. Augen auf beim Training! Ein Erfahrungsbericht aus dem Fitness-Studio. S.52

Denaris, 12.03.2019. Unternehmen sollten den Mut haben dort zu investieren, wo die Wirkung am grössten ist. Interview mit Philipp Aerni, Denaris 02/2019, 25-27.

NZZ, 11.02.2019. Äthiopien am Scheideweg. Tribune. S.9 (

NZZ, 15.06.2018. Nachhaltige Entwicklungshilfe: Wachstum braucht Strukturwandel. Gastkommentar in Meinungen und Debatte S.10.

Tages-Anzeiger, 12.05.2018. Vorsorgen statt verhindern. Gastkommentar, S. 12

NZZ, 12.05.2018. Der katalanische Unabhängigkeitsmythos: unlauter und provinziell. Gastkommentar.