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Environment and Sustainability Swiss research institutes to merge to combat climate change

A solar-powered sensors measure rockfalls close to the Aletsch Glacier in the southern Valais region

A solar-powered sensor measures rockfalls close to the Aletsch Glacier in the southern Valais region

(Keystone / Dominic Steinmann)

Two Swiss government-funded institutes specialising in the fields of water, snow and forests will be merged to focus on climate change and sustainability, it has been announced. No job cuts are expected. 

The ETH Board, which oversees the two bodies in question, intends to create a new institute in the area of the environment and sustainability, merging the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in the medium term, it said in a statement on Fridayexternal link

“The objective of the new institute is to use its leading international research to find solutions for a sustainable future for society, and to develop Switzerland further as a leading research centre for the environment and sustainability,” it said. 

The decision to create the so-called “Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for Environment and Sustainability” was taken at the end of September following discussions at the ETH Board over several years. 

“Combining the strengths of WSL and Eawag under one roof and one management offers an opportunity to exploit synergies while also boosting international visibility and cooperation on content,” it stated. 

No changes are planned at the current sites, to staff numbers (900) and key national tasks, the statement went on. 

The federal ETH Domain comprises the two Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and Lausanne (EPFL) - both of which are top-ranked in international surveys - as well as the four research institutes: the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). 

Keystone-SDA/sb

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