First Alumni Debate in Zurich

Panelists Photo

35 oikos alumni met on 19 September 2013 for an apéro and panel discussion on growth and sustainability. The event took place in Zurich at LGT Venture Philanthropy. Three alumni led the discussion:  Jan Amrit Poser (Bank J. Safra Sarasin); Irmi Seidl (Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL) and Christian Busch (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs).

Our In-Kind sponsors:




Christian Busch

Christian Busch

Christian Busch

Alumnus oikos St. Gallen

Growth and Competition Policy, Economic Policy Department, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Christian is responsible for questions addressing innovation policy and sectoral structural change in the Growth and Competition Policy unit at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, where he works since January 2012. Besides, he is also in charge of the external research programs conducted by SECO.

From 2007 to 2011 he has worked and researched at the KOF Swiss Economic Institute at the ETH Zurich where he has focused on the analysis of emerging market economies. In this position, he has also represented KOF in international bodies related to business cycle analysis and headed the KOF Economic Forum.

Christian holds a Master in International Relations from the University of St. Gallen where he has also earned his PhD degree in development economics. In parallel with his studies, he has been a major force in the creation of a renowned e-learning platform at the chair of Macroeconomics.

Irmi Seidl



Irmi Seidl

Alumna oikos St. Gallen (1988 – 2002)

Head of Economics and Social Sciences Unit, Swiss Federal Research Institute

Check some of Irmi Seidl’s points of view regarding growth (alas, only in German/French).


Wachstumsgrenze: Übergang neue Ära ist zwingend

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Die Wachstumsgesellschaft ist ein Auslaufmodell

Le Monde

Comment guérir de notre dépendance à la croissance?

Academic  Education
April 2003 Venia legendi by the Faculty of Sciences, University Zürich, in environmental sciences with focus on environmental economics; Title: “Biological and conservationist perspectives on economics”
Oct. 1993 PhD in business economics, University St. Gallen, Title: “Environment and Innovations: The Role of Organisational Culture in the Agro-Chemical Industry”
June 1987 Maîtrise ès Sciences Economiques (Master), University of Paris I Sorbonne
June 1986 Licence ès Sciences Economiques (Bachelor), University of Aix-Marseille
July 1985 Vordiplom in Economic Sciences, University of Munich
Professional  Experience
Since July 2006 Head of the Research Unit “Economics and Social Sciences”, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
Sept. 2002-2006 Co-Head of the Economics Section, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf
Jan. 1995-April 2002 Research Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Zürich
Since many years Lecturer at University of Zürich and ETH Zürich
1994 (Febr.–Dez.) Independent Research, Munich
1993–1994 (May–Jan.) Research Fellow at the Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig-Halle
1989-1992 Working student at CIBA AG
1988–1990 Teacher for Economics in adult education, St. Gallen (part time)
1988–1992 Honorary activities with oikos – Environmental economic student initiative, University of St. Gallen
Research Periods Abroad
2011/2012 (Dec.-Febr.) Department of Economics, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
1998 (Jan.–May) Visiting Fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
1997 (June to Sept.) Visiting Fellow at the Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, USA
Recent Research Projects (Selection)
2013-16 Controlling urban sprawl to limit soil consumption, Swiss Science Foundation
2010–13 Early recognition of critical drought conditions in Switzerland – coping with shortages in soil moisture, groundwater and runoff (DROUGHT-CH), Swiss Science Foundation
2009- Post-growth-society
2007-2013 AlpFUTUR – Future of Swiss alpine pastures, Joint Research Project (member of program management), Federal and Cantonal Offices, Foundations,
2009-2012 Transferable development rights for reducing land consumption and sprawl in Switzerland, Swiss Science Foundation
2008-2011 Entrepreneurship in Swiss rural regions – a spatial analysis Swiss Science Foundation
2008-2009 Cost of biotope conservation in Switzerland, MAVA-Foundation
Present  Research  Topics
Economics of land use and settlement development, Development of peripheral areas of Switzerland, Economics of nature conservation and biodiversity, Management of Droughts; Post-growth-society

Jan Amrit Poser

Jan Poser

Jan Amrit Poser

Alumnus oikos St. Gallen (1989 – 1991)

Head of Asset Management and Sustainability, Bank J. Safra Sarasin

Born in Bonn, Germany. Attended high school in Bonn and Geneva. After studying economics in St. Gall, Switzerland, and Freiburg, Germany, he moved to the ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich. After completing his PhD in 1998, he joined the Russia Division of the International Monetary Fund in Washington. Returning to Switzerland in 1999 he worked in the Country Risk Department of one of Switzerland’s large banks, where he was responsible for Russia and Eastern Europe. Jan Amrit Poser joined Bank Sarasin in 2001 as a foreign exchange strategist. He became Chief Economist in 2004. From 2008 until 2013 Jan Poser was responsible for the Research department. In 2013 he became Head of Asset Management and Sustainability of Bank J. Safra Sarasin. Jan Poser is a renowned commentator of economic and financial market developments in the media.


Alexander Barkawi


Alexander Barkawi

Alumnus oikos St. Gallen

Founder and Director, Council on Economic Policies (CEP); President, oikos Foundation

Alexander Barkawi is founder and director of the Council on Economic Policies (CEP). Prior to his decision to build up CEP, he was the managing director of SAM Indexes and thus responsible for developing the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) into a key reference point for sustainability investing. In that capacity, he drove worldwide marketing, sales and licensing as well as media and public relations for the DJSI family and other indexes compiled by SAM for more than nine years. Before joining SAM, Alex took the lead in internationalizing the activities of oikos – an organization that promotes sustainability issues in teaching and research at faculties for economics and management worldwide. Originally started as an initiative in St. Gallen, Switzerland, oikos today comprises more than 30 chapters on four continents. Alex continues to be engaged in the organization as president of the board of trustees of the oikos foundation.

Alex is a graduate in economics (M.A.) of the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he also wrote his PhD thesis on “Social Change in Egypt in the 1990s”. He grew up in Germany and Egypt and today lives in Zurich, Switzerland.


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Pictures: Christian Bärtsch


The event will take place at LGT Venture Philanthropy (Färberstrasse 6 Zürich).

Größere Kartenansicht


If you have any questions, please email