Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD) | Institute of Earth's Surface Dynamics (IDYST) | Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE)

Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD)

With approximately 130 members, the Institute of geography and sustainability (IGD) develops fundamental and applied research, provides training in research and intervenes in the public debate on major contemporary issues of sustainability.

The IGD relies on its expertise in different environments (cities, margins, mountains, etc.) and approaches the processes of societal, territorial and environmental transformation by integrating skills in geography and human and social sciences.

In addition, the institute offers expertise in certain methodological areas, in particular cartography, quantitative methods and qualitative methods in the fields of geography and social sciences.

Each researcher participates in one or more research collectives: five thematic collectives, five transversal collectives emerging research initiatives.

The IGD develops its activities in two locations: the Lausanne site (Geopolis building) and the Sion-Bramois site. In Sion, the IGD focuses on topics related to tourism and mountain studies (in collaboration with the CIRM).

Institute of Earth's Surface Dynamics (IDYST)

It is an unprecedented time in Earth’s history. Changes in climate, biodiversity, and the degradation of soil and water ecosystems are major environmental issues facing society. The Institute of Earth Surface dynamics (IDYST) investigates the fundamental processes that underlie these major challenges. Our research is guided by two key questions :

  1. What is the impact of climate on landscape evolution, the cryosphere, and soil and water ecosystems ?
  2. How do humans impact the natural environment through resource use, land use, and pollutant mobilization ?

The strengths of IDYST are in its ability to study processes using a multi-disciplinary approach, with a strong focus on gaining a mechanistic understanding of environmental processes through fundamental physical, chemical, ecological investigations and methodological innovation.

Keywords: Elemental cycles, climate (past, present, and future), minerals, ecosystems, soils, ice, vegetation, land-use, mechanistic processes, reactivity, isotopes, geochemistry, geocomputing, geostatistics, remote sensing, geochronology.

The institute currently includes 11 professors, five lecturers and senior lecturers and 15 research collaborators and research associates. The principle research topics are spearheaded by a number of research groups with distinct acronyms (LAKES, ALPWISE, ICE, ISOLAB, LGE, GAIA, BIOGEOSCIENCES, SPATIAL ECOLOGY, SE) but the research groups rely on strong collaborative interactions amongst all groups.

Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE)

The research at ISTE covers a large spectrum of the Earth Sciences, including Geophysics. The principal themes are:

  • environmental geophysics and stochastic modeling;
  • landslides, mechanics and analysis of rocks and risk modeling;
  • sedimentology, micropaleontology and land disasters;
  • structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics modeling;
  • igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochemistry and thermodynamics;
  • alpine geology (at the crossroads of all of the above-mentioned approaches).

The ISTE also comprises laboratories involved in research at national and international level, the cutting edge research in the geosciences: updating and developing these laboratories are one of ISTE’s main priorities. Members of ISTE support the CASA platform uniting research in the FGSE with EPFL laboratories.