A foundation at the service of the Swiss polar and high-altitude community

The Swiss Polar Institute is a foundation under Swiss Law with the mission to support Swiss polar and high-altitude science.

The Swiss Polar Institute is recognised as “Research institution of national importance” for the period 2021-2024 by the Swiss Confederation.

Foundation Council

The Foundation Council is the highest authority of the Foundation. It allocates resources, appoints new members as well as those of the Science and Technology Advisory Board, the Scientific and Executive Directors and the financial auditors. Moreover, it approves the annual budget and the Foundation accounts. The Foundation Council is composed of:

Martin Vetterli (President) EPFL
Christian Leumann (Vice-President) University of Bern
François Bussy University of Lausanne
Detlef Günther ETHZ
Christoph Hegg WSL
Beatrice Beck Schimmer University of Zurich

The Swiss Polar Foundation, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) as well as the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research (SKPH) are participating in the Foundation Council as guests.

Science and Technology Advisory Board (STAB)

The STAB issues recommendations to the SPI Secretariat regarding educational, scientific and technological activities as well as supports the SPI in the setting up of programmes, international collaborations and evaluations of funding activities.

The STAB is composed of 7 to 9 independent experts with varied scientific profiles and backgrounds.

Current STAB Members

Gabriela Schaepman-Strub (Chair) University of Zurich
Björn Dahlbäck (Vice Chair)
Jane Francis British Antarctic Survey
Philippe Gillet EPFL
Frédéric Herman University of Lausanne
Christian de Marliave Editions Paulsen
Heini Wernli ETHZ
Hubertus Fischer (SKPH delegate) University of Bern
Patricia Holm (SKPH delegate) University of Basel

SPI Secretariat

After the tragic loss of our Scientific Director, Koni Steffen, the continuity of the scientific leadership at SPI is ensured by the current Chair and Vice Chair of the SPI’s Science and Technology Advisory Board (STAB). Prof. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub and Dr. Björn Dahlbäck are working closely with the SPI Executive Director and SPI team until a new SPI Scientific Director is appointed.

The SPI Secretariat is in charge of the implementation of the SPI activities and tasks. The Secretariat is currently located on the premises of the EPFL in Lausanne.