Yvonne Scherrer, PhD

Current Position

social scientist with a strong interest in the human-nature interface





  • Understanding local knowledge in a sustainability context: a framework approach (2013-20)
  • Transmission of medicinal plant knowledge in Switzerland (2010-11)
  • Development of a sustainable management system for Swiss NPOs (2009-11)
  • cological literacy across geographies, generations and economies (2008)
  • Contribution of local knowledge and socio-cultural realities to biodiversity conservation in Laos, PDR (2006-07)
  • Social and gender-related impacts of implementing ‘Collaborative Forest Management’ (CFM) in Southern Kyrgyzstan (2003-04)

Research Interests

  • Local/traditional/indigenous knowledge
  • Knowledge transmission across epistemologies
  • Local knowledge for development cooperation / sustainable development – integration of local knowledge into project planning, monitoring and evaluation
  • Traditional and ethnomedicine
  • Ethnobotany, ethnobiology
  • Natural resource management
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable management (primarily of NPOs)
  • Resilience and anti-fragility (organizational/individual)

Geographical areas

  • Central Asia
  • Indonesia
  • Switzerland


  • 2013-2020: PhD in Sustainability Science (University of Basel, TU Kaiserslautern, University City of London)
  • 2003-2004: MAS in Development and Cooperation (NADEL, ETH Zurich)
  • 1994-2002: M.A. in Sociology, Biology, Russian literature & linguistics, German literature)

Professional experience

  • Researcher at ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Consultant at Swiss Academy for Development (SAD), Biel, Switzerland
  • Consultant at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia
  • Consultant at pansolutions GmbH, Allschwil, Switzerland (sustainability consulting)
  • Researcher/project leader at University of Applied Sciences North-Western Switzerland (research, teaching and consultation)
  • Project assistant with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in Kyrgyzstan
  • Field researcher in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Switzerland
  • Primary school teacher

Selected publications

  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. and Jan T. Frecè, 2021. «Nachhaltigkeit» in: P. Genkova (Ed.). Gobale Kompetenz. Wiesbaden: Springer, forthcoming.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. and Michael Heinrich, 2021. «Understanding local knowledge as integral factor in designing strategies for sustainably conserving and using herbal resurces». Ethnopharmacology 2021. Abstract book from the 20th International Congress of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology, Thessaloniki, Greece, p. 78.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M.and Michael Heinrich. 2018. «Understanding local knowledge for traditional medicines research: a framework approach». Reviews on Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Therapy 16/2, 86 (conferecne proceedings).
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. and Michael Heinrich. 2017. “Traditional healing systems: A framework approach against the backdrop of sustainable development”. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 17(suppl 1):333, doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1784-2 (conference proceedings).
  •  Daub, Claus-Heinrich, Yvonne M. Scherrer and Arie H. Verkuil. 2014. “Exploring Reasons for the Resistance to Sustainable Management within Non-Profit Organizations”Sustainability 6/6, 3252-3270.
  • Frecè, Jan T., Yvonne M. Scherrer, and Claus-Heinrich Daub. 2012. Projekte nachhaltig managen. Basel: gesowip.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M., Jan T. Frecè, and Claus-Heinrich Daub. 2012. “Evaluating sustainability in non-profit organizations – an approach for sustainability evaluation of project implementations”Asia Journal of Global Studies 5:43-57.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. 2011. “Cultural Significance of Berries and Mushrooms in Northern Europe: NTFPs Between Tradition and Acculturation“, contribution to: Cocks M., C. Lopez and T. Dold, Cultural Importance of Non-Timer Forest Products: Opportunities they Pose for Bio-Cultural Diversity in Dynamic Societies, in: S. Shackleton, C.M. Shackleton and P. Shanley (eds.). Non-Timber Forest Products in the Global Context, Tropical Forestry 7, Springer-Verlag, Berlin & Heidelberg.
  • Burger, Paul, Claus-Heinrich Daub, and Yvonne M. Scherrer. 2010. “Creating values for sustainable development (Editorial)“. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 17:1-3.
  • Burger, Paul, Claus-Heinrich Daub, and Yvonne M. Scherrer. 2009. “New Perspectives on Sustainable Business (Editorial)”. Journal of Business Ethics 85:479-481.
  • Daub, Claus-Heinrich and Yvonne M. Scherrer. 2009. “Doing the Right Thing Right: The Role of Sociological Research and Consulting for Corporate Engagement in Development Cooperation”. Journal of Business Ethics 85:573-584.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. 2009. “Environmental Conservation NGOs and the Concept of Sustainable Development”. Journal of Business Ethics 85:555-571.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M., Claus-Heinrich Daub, and Paul Burger. 2007. “Toward integrating sustainability into business strategy (Editorial)”. Business Strategy and the Environment 16:459-460.
  • Scherrer, Yvonne M. 2003. «Social aspects of Collaborative Forest Management: Allocation of CFM plots, the influence of CFM on the tenants’ families and its gender dimension – a comparative study in two leshozes in southern Kyrgyzstan» (unpublished research report).

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