NCCR PlanetS

NCCR “PlanetS” aims to decipher the origin and evolution of planets

The recent scientific progresses in planetology signal the shift from an era of discovery to one of physical and chemical characterization. In response to this shift, the NCCR PlanetS research activities will be distributed along three main scientific themes: Origin, Evolution, and Characterization. Combining astronomical observations, measurements by spacecraft of the Earth and solar system bodies, laboratory measurements, and theoretical modeling, these activities will catalyze a phase change in the breadth and depth of the research carried out in Switzerland.

PRN_PlanetS.pngIn addition, the PlanetS organization will
  1. coordinate education by creating an interdisciplinary doctoral network in planetary sciences to educate the next generation of highly skilled scientists
  2. establish platforms for technology development and transfer as well as exchanges and analysis of data
  3. ensure a highly visible coordinated scientific exploitation of CHEOPS
  4. develop new research groups and new laboratory facilities
  5. carry out a large multiregional education and outreach program.

Ultimately, PlanetS will lay the foundations of a Swiss Institute of Planetary Sciences (SIPS) that will carry on these activities beyond the lifetime of the NCCR.

The Universities of Bern and Geneva are the two leading houses of the NCCR PlanetS. The director of the NCCR is Prof. Willy Benz (Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern), the co-director is Prof. Stephane Udry (Astronomy department, University of Geneva). The NCCR program is divided in seven research areas:

  1.  Circumstellar discs and planetary systems – Prof. Michael Meyer, ETHZ (mmeyer(at)
  2. Origins and Evolution of volatiles in planets – Prof. Maria Schönbächler, ETHZ (mariasc(at)
  3. Atmospheres of Exoplanets – Prof. Francesco Pepe, University of Geneva (Francesco.Pepe(at)
  4. Solar system data analysis, laboratory investigations, and modelling – Prof. Nicolas Thomas, University of Bern (nicolas.thomas(at)
  5. Planet formation and evolution – Prof. Willy Benz, University of Bern (willy.benz(at)
  6. Numerical laboratory for planet formation – Prof. Ben Moore, University of Zürich, (moore(at),  lmayer(at)
  7. Multi-faceted determination of planet properties and system architecture – Prof. Stéphane Udry, University of Geneva (Stephane.Udry(at)
In order to support these research projects, several job offers are opened.