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Mountain research centre launched in Swiss Alps

Global warming is putting pressure on mountain regions, increasing risks such as avalanches. Keystone

The University of Lausanne is launching a research centre aimed at improving sustainable development in mountain regions. 

This content was published on November 2, 2018 - 09:00

The centre, being launched on Friday in Sion, canton Valais, brings together researchers in natural, human and social sciences. It will look into issues as diverse as tourism and health, risks of natural disasters, local produce, weather and sustainability. 

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for alpine regions, according to experts. “In general, mountain areas are facing climate-linked processes in an intense way - whether it be in terms of hydrology, avalanches, or natural dangers,” the centre’s director Emmanuel Reynard told Swiss public broadcaster RTS on Friday morning. “These regions are very sensitive to climate change.” 

One of the reasons behind the Interdisciplinary Mountain Research Centre (CIRM) is to bring together longstanding expertise from different departments at the University of Lausanne. “We have nearly 50 people - professors, teachers, researchers - who have all shown interest in this centre,” said Reynard. 

A call for cross-disciplinary project proposals has been launched within the university. Projects will be selected by the board of the new centre, and research will then begin.

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