The purpose of this Privacy Policy (the “Policy”) is to inform users of websites and/or social media pages provided by the Swiss Polar Institute, and/or services provided by Swiss Polar Institute through these websites and/or social media pages (the “Services”), about the collection and processing of their personal data, including, where applicable, sensitive data, by Swiss Polar Institute acting as controller.

The websites concerned by this Policy (the “Website”) are:

The social media pages concerned by this Policy (the “Social Media Page”) are SPI’s Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube channel pages.

1. Who is responsible for the processing of personal data

The Swiss Polar Institute (“SPI”), a Swiss foundation, is the owner of the Website and the controller responsible for the personal data processing following use of the Website or Social Media Page.

For any request for information regarding SPI’s Policy and/or personal data processing by SPI, you may write to the Secretariat at the following postal address: Route des Ronquos 86, 1950 Sion, Switzerland, or email: .

The processing of personal data is carried out under the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (FADP) as well as, where applicable, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

2. Personal data processed

SPI processes personal data for the needs of its core tasks and supporting activities. When engaging with and/or using the Website and/or Social Media Page, such as getting in contact with SPI, registering for or attending events, applying for funding, personal data about you will be collected by SPI.

Personal data which may be processed by SPI through the Website and/or Social Media Page are as follows: name, email address, mailing address, phone number, professional functions, affiliations and activities, IP address and its geolocation, age group, gender, and any other information related to you which you deliberately decide to share with us when you use our services, subscribe to our newsletters, or contact us.

When you access the Website, we also collect data transmitted by your browser and automatically stored by our server, such as the date and time of access, the name of the files accessed, as well as the amount of data transferred and the access time for analytics and to improve SPI’s Services, such as website operability, accessibility and user interface, as well as to update content in order to optimise user experience.

3. Purposes of the personal data processing

SPI primarily processes personal data according to the needs of its activity or Services being provided to and/or requested by users when using the Website and/or the Social Media Page, as well as in order to comply with legal obligations.

In addition, SPI may process personal data for the following purposes:

  • providing and developing Services, Website and Social Media Page on which SPI is active;
  • ensuring SPI’s operation, including IT, Website and Social Media Page;
  • communication with third parties and processing their requests (e.g. information request, job application);
  • asserting legal claims and defence in legal disputes and official proceedings;

With consent or if the law allows, SPI shall use personal data to provide a user with information regarding Services or activities, to develop a more direct relationship with contacts or provide information about the Website and the Services (marketing and promotional purposes). If such processing is based on consent, SPI will process your personal data within the scope of and based on that consent, unless is has another legal basis. Consent given can be revoked at any time, but this will not affect any data processing that has already taken place.

Data transmitted by your browser shall be used in statistics for analytics purpose to better understand and improve SPI’s Services.

4. Key principles that guide SPI

SPI is bound to respect the principles related to data protection. In application of these principles, data will only be:

  • accurately, lawfully and fairly processed in a transparent manner;
  • processed for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes;
  • processed in a way which is adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary;
  • processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data. Appropriate measures at both the technological and organisational level are used to protect stored personal data from unauthorised access, improper use, alteration, unlawful or accidental destruction and accidental loss.

5. Cookie Policy

The Website and online Services provided by SPI uses “cookies.” Cookies are small files placed on the hard drive of a device which allow a web browser to be recognised during the validity time of the cookies.

There are several types of cookies. Session cookies are temporary bits of information that are erased once a web browser window is closed or a computer is turned off. Persistent cookies remain on a computer until they are deleted or they expire.

The cookies that the Website generates allow SPI to:

  • offer a faster browsing experience of visitors to the Website by storing choices;
  • prepare statistics including frequency of access, the use and performances of Website;
  • adapt the presentation of the Website to the display preferences of a visitor’s device (language, operating system etc.);
  • memorise preferences and parameters (authentication);
  • enable reserved or personal spaces on the Website to be accessed;
  • improve communication and services.

To learn more about the cookies on the Website, please consult our Cookie Policy.

To learn all about cookies, you can go to this page: All About Cookies.

6. Data Protection Rights

As data subject, you have the right to (i) receive a copy of your personal data; (ii) update, correct and rectify your personal data; (iii) restrict or object to the processing of your personal data in particular for direct marketing purposes and for other legitimate interest; (iv) request the deletion of your personal data and (v) request portability of your personal data. The handling of personal data can be opposed. When the processing is based on consent, consent can be withdrawn at any time, without affecting the lawfulness of processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

Please email requests to . However, please note that you are entitled to these rights in accordance with the provisions of the applicable laws. SPI reserves the right to refuse any request which is contrary to applicable laws. Finally, data subjects have the right to lodge a complaint with the relevant data protection supervisory authority or to enforce his/her rights.

7. Data Retention

Personal data will not be retained for any longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they are processed, in accordance with the applicable laws. Personal data may be retained for the period during which claims can be asserted against SPI or insofar as we are otherwise legally obliged to do so or if legitimate business interests require further retention (e.g. for evidence and documentation purposes). As soon as your personal data are no longer required for the above-mentioned purposes, they will be deleted or anonymized, to the extent possible.

For technical reasons and pending their definitive deletion, data that have been collected using SPI’s online applications may be stored and remain temporarily recorded even after termination of an account or closure of the site, particularly in the case of backup systems. However, they will not be used. Anonymous data may be conserved without limit.

8. With whom personal data are shared

Personal data are mainly processed by the SPI Secretariat, but personal data may be shared with third parties in the context of SPI’s business activities and in line with the purposes of the data processing. In particular, the following categories of recipients may be concerned:

  • service providers, such as e.g. banks, insurances, IT providers;
  • trusted subcontractors acting on SPI’s behalf for operational or analytical purposes;
  • third parties or authorities when required by applicable laws, necessary to defend the rights of SPI, or to protect the vital interests of the data owner or another person.

9. Transfer of data outside Switzerland

Personal data are processed in Switzerland and EU. In compliance with the applicable laws, personal data may be transferred outside of Switzerland if the recipient state has an adequate level of personal data protection or if such level is provided with appropriate safeguards, such as e.g. standard contractual clauses. You may request additional information in this regard and obtain a copy if the relevant safeguards by contacting SPI at the address provided at the end of this Policy.

10. Data Security

SPI secures personal data you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorised access, use, or disclosure. SPI maintains reasonable administrative, technical and physical safeguards in an effort to protect against unauthorised access, use, modification, and disclosure of personal data in our control and custody. However, no data transmission over the internet or wireless network can be guaranteed.

Therefore, while SPI strives to protect your personal data, you acknowledge that (i) there are security and privacy limitations of the internet that are beyond our control; (ii) the security, integrity, and privacy of any and all information and data exchanged between you and this website and services cannot be guaranteed; and (iii) any such information and data may be viewed or tampered with in transit by a third party, despite best efforts.

11. Data Breach

In the event SPI becomes aware that the security of the Website, Social Media Page and/or Services has been compromised or users’ personal data has been disclosed to unrelated third parties as a result of external activity, including, but not limited to, security attacks or fraud, SPI will take reasonably appropriate measures, including, but not limited to, investigation and reporting, as well as notification to and cooperation with law enforcement authorities. In the event of data breach, SPI will make reasonable efforts to notify by email or letter affected individuals if we believe that there is a reasonable risk of harm to the user as a result of the breach or if notice is otherwise required by law.

12. Links to third-party websites

Our Website may contain links to third-party websites. We have no control over the content or privacy practices of these websites and recommend reviewing their privacy policies.

13. Acceptance of this Policy

By accessing and using the Website and Social Media Page and submitting your data you agree to be bound by this Policy.

14. Policy Updates

SPI reserves the right to modify this Policy or its terms related to the Website and Services at any time at its discretion and will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page accordingly. SPI may also provide notice to you in other ways at its discretion, such as through the contact information you have provided.

An updated version of this Policy will be effective immediately upon the posting of the revised Policy unless otherwise specified. Your continued use of the Website and Services after the effective date of the revised Policy (or such other act specified at that time) will constitute your consent to those changes. However, SPI will not, without your consent, use your personal data in a manner materially different than what was stated at the time your personal data was collected.

15. Contacting Us

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints regarding this Policy, the personal data SPI holds about you, or if you wish to exercise your rights, we encourage you to contact us using the details below:

Swiss Polar Institute, Route des Ronquos 86, 1950 Sion, Switzerland

+41 21 693 76 74

We will attempt to resolve complaints and disputes and make every reasonable effort to honour your wish to exercise your rights as quickly as possible and, in any event, within the timescales provided by applicable data protection laws.

This document was last updated on 17 October 2023.