The PlanetSolar DeepWater expedition is allowing researchers from the University of Geneva to take advantage of the exclusive features of the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the largest solar catamaran ever built. The researchers will conduct a unique campaign of physical and biological measurements along the Gulf Stream, with no carbon emissions. This scientific adventure aims to improve our understanding of the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, while raising public awareness of the complexity of climate change and its impacts.
The Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE) is a new inter-faculty entity of the University of Geneva. Created formally in March 2009, three faculties are involved in the Institute, namely Science, Social and Economic Sciences, and Medicine.
The Institute’s main objectives are to undertake research and teaching activities in the numerous inter-connected domains of the environment, such as climate, water, biodiversity, health, energy, urban ecology and environmental governance. The key objective is to bridge the gap between the natural and human environments through addressing issues that include the understanding of fundamental physical, biological and chemical processes of the Earth system, the protection of natural resources, sustainable development, social and medical well-being, and links to the policy and decision makers.
Despite being a relatively newcomer to the Geneva academic world, ISE has already achieved a number of successful objectives, in particular the coordination of two major integrated projects within EU-FP7 (the projects ACQWA and enviroGRIDS, the participation in other FP7 projects, EU-COST projects, those funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and projects funded by public and private bodies.
ISE has a number of active international relations, in particular through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-GRID), and the World Health Organization, whose secretariats are located in Geneva.
The international dimension of ISE is reinforced by its research and teaching agreements with UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), UQAM (University of Quebec at Montreal), York University (Ontario, Canada); currently, discussions with the University of Sydney (Australia) and Zayyed University (Abu Dhabi) are under way for further collaborative action.
In terms of its teaching commitments, the Institute leads a Masters Programme in Environmental Science, with over 100 students currently. The University of Geneva thus fulfills a genuine request from young and motivated students to explore the complex and global nature of environmental issues that are today high on the economic and political agenda of many countries.
Finally, the staff of ISE contributes substantially to public, political and media requests for information on key issues such as climatic change or energy, through public lectures, newspaper articles, and through the regular update of an environmental information service run by the Swiss TV network (“TSR Découvertes”) in association with the France-5 TV channel.