C-CIA staff

Prof. Martin Beniston

Honorary Professor, The University of Geneva, Switzerland

Group leader from 01.10.2006-31.07.2017 and Director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences, 2008-2017

+41(0)79 314 80 28

Please scroll down to view a brief CV, academic qualifications, professional experience, and more...

Curriculum vitaE



Martin Beniston was born in England in 1953 and holds three passports (Swiss, British, French). He undertook his university studies in England (BSc in Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia and MSc in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading), and completed his D octoral dissertation on Atmospheric Modelling at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD) of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 1997, he obtained his Habilitation degree at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in Climate Modelling.

His career in research has led him from France (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique - LMD - Paris) to Australia (Macquarie University, Sydney), Canada (University of Quebec), Germany (Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg) and, since 1985, Switzerland. He has worked in the fields of air pollution at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL); from 1990-1992 he was director of ProClim (the Swiss National Climate Program of the Swiss Academy of Sciences in Bern), and from 1993-1996, he shared his time between a senior scientist position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and the vice-chairmanship of one of the working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize). He still contributes to the IPCC process as author for several chapters in the sequence of IPCC assessment reports (1996; 2001; 2007). From 1996 to 2006, he held a full professor position as head of the Department of Geography at the University of Fribourg.

On October 1, 2006, he was appointed full professor at the University of Geneva, and until his early retirement on July 31, 2017, he held the Chair for Climate Research and was also the Director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences. Among other research tasks, he initiated and coordinated from 2008-2014 a major EU Framework Programme 7 project (“ACQWA”) dedicated to assessing changes in water resources in vulnerable mountain regions. He was also the scientific leader of the "PlanetSolar DeepWater" expedition which, during the spring and summer of 2013, made use of the world's largest solar-powered ship (the Swiss "Tûranor Planet Solar") to investigate ocean-atmospheric interactions and marine aerosol-climate interactions along the Gulf Stream, from Miami to London. The expedition ended in Paris in September, 2013.

Martin Beniston has close to 200 publications in the international literature (peer-reviewed journal papers, book chapters), including the authorship of 5 books (two in French) and the editing or co-editing of a further 10 volumes with major publishers. He is editor-in-chief of “Environmental Science and Policy” published by Elsevier Publishers in the Netherlands, series editor of “Advances in Global Change Research” published by Springer Publishers, and is associate editor or board member of journals such as "Regional Environmental Change" and the "Journal of Hydrology".

He has organized numerous international and inter-disciplinary meetings, such as the Wengen Workshops on Global Change Research in the Bernese Alps, that has brought together leading researchers at the international level to discuss topics relevant to global change issues since 1995. Other, more recent, meetings can be viewed on the Meetings option of these web pages.

He is a member of international scientific committees in Austria, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the EU, is a reviewer for numerous international scientific journals, and was elected to the Academia Europea in 2000.

More details can be found below.


Academic Profile

1997 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland: Habilitation in Climate Research

1978 Ecole Normale Supérieure, Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique, CNRS, Paris, France: Doctorate in Atmospheric Sciences

1975 University of Reading, Department of Meteorology, Reading, UK: Master of Science in Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

1973 University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences, Norwich, UK: Batchelor of Science in Environmental Sciences

Professional Experience

Since Oct 2006: University of Geneva: Ordinary (Full) Professor

Oct 1996 - Sep 2006: Department of Geosciences/Geography, University of Fribourg, Switzerland: Ordinary (Full) Professor and Head of Department

Jan 1993 - Dec 1997 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Switzerland: Vice-Chairman of IPCC Working Group II

Jan 1991 - Sep 1996 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland: Senior scientist and lecturer (climate modeling)

Sep 1990 - Oct 1992 Swiss National Climate Program (ProClim), Bern, Switzerland: Director of the Program (part-time position)

Dec 1989 - Dec 1990 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland: Director of the ERCOFTAC Coordination Center (European Research Community on Flow, Turbulence, and Combustion)

Feb 1985 - Nov 1989 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland: Research Scientist (regional atmospheric and air pollution modeling)

Sep 1981 - Jan 1985 Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, West German: Research Scientist (regional atmospheric modeling)

Oct 1980 - Aug 1981 Université du Québec, Canada: Lecturer in Atmospheric Sciences

Jun 1978 - Sep 1980 Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS, Paris, France: Post- Doctoral scientist

Dec 1973 - Jul 1974 Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia: Research Assistant.

Editorial Boards and Reviewer

Series Editor of “ Advances in Global Change Research ” (Springer Publishers, Heidelberg and New York, formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers)

Editor-in-Chief of “ Environmental Science and Policy ” (Elsevier Publishers, from July 1, 2010)

Former Specialty Chief Editor of" FRONTIERS Interdisciplinary Climate Studies

Former Associate Editor of “ Journal of Hydrology ” (Elsevier Publishers)

Former Associate Editor of “ Regional Environmental Change ” (Springer Publishers)

Reviewer for "Climate Dynamics", "Climatic Change", "Theoretical and Applied Climatology", "Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics", "Atmospheric Environment", "Geophysical Research Letters", "Journal of Geophysical Research", "Journal of Climate", and "Science"


Additional qualifications, Scientific Boards, Memberships

Co-ordinator and initiator of the EU-FP7 ACQWA  project

Lead Author and Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1992; former vice-chair of IPCC WGII-C and member of the IPCC Bureau (Management Board) from 1992-1997. The IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

Elected member of the Academia Europea , the European Academy of Sciences, since the Year 2000

Initiator and organisor of the annual “ Wengen Workshops on Global Change Research ” since 1995

Member of the Climate Sciences Section of the European Geophysical Union ( EGU ) and convenor of an oral and poster session on Climate Extremes for each EGU General Assembly Meeting since 2001

Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the European Research Course on Atmospheres (ERCA) since 2005

Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Austrian Climate Research Program

Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the EU-ENSEMBLES Project  (6th Framework Programme "Environment")

Member of the Advisory Board of the EU ERA-NET  "Climate and Health" programme

Member of the Climate Change Task Force of Green Cross International , chaired by former president Michael Gorbatchev

Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of ENGIE (formerly GDF-SUEZ) , one of the world's largest energy consortia

Retired member of the Management Board of the Swiss Forum for Climate and Global Change (ProClim), Swiss Academy of Sciences

Retired member of OcCC (Organe consultatif sur les Changements Climatiques), an interface between Science and Swiss Parliamentarians on issues related to climatic change


Assessor for grant applications with the following organizations

Swiss National Science Foundation

5th Framework Programme of the European Union on Environment and Climate

German Ministry for Research (DEKLIM program)

Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS), former board member

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

The Norwegian Research Council

The Czech Academy of Sciences


C-CIA staff