SPI Science Plan

We thank you all for your valuable inputs.The consultation of the science plan is now closed. The authors of the document will analyse the received inputs in details and amend the text where this is needed. The next opportunity to discuss the science plan will be at the Swiss Polar Day 2019 on 23 April 2019 in Bern. 

About the Science Plan

The SPI science plan will identify strengths within the Swiss Polar research landscape, outline a way forward to grow them, and propose the development of new activities for the near future up to 2025 and beyond. It will be a crucial element of SPI’s future strategy and activities.The Science Plan is being prepared by the SPI Science and Technology Advisory Board together with the Swiss Polar science community on the basis of inputs from the discussions at the Swiss Polar Day 2018 and a preparatory community consultation (Call for Ideas).

Science Plan: The consultation

As an active member of the Swiss Polar community we encourage you to participate in the consultation by downloading and reading the following documents:

The provided feedback form should be sent to the secretariat.spi@epfl.ch at the latest by 3 March 2019. We thank you in advance for your participation and engagement and are looking forward to your inputs and comments.

Key characteristics of the submitted ideas

In response to the Call for Ideas organised by SPI in order to gather suggestions to be considered during the elaboration of the future science plan of the institute, 45 proposals have been submitted. Those ideas vary considerably in terms of covered topics, financial requirements, time frame and geographic focus.

From a disciplinary point of view, the ideas range from geoscience to life sciences and to a lesser extend also to social sciences/humanities (3 submitted ideas). Unsurprisingly, glaciology, ecology, climatology and atmospheric sciences are among the most represented fields of research. Finally, some ideas rather refer to technological aspects such as sensor systems. Interdisciplinarity, at different degrees, is a very common feature among the proposed ideas.

Almost three-quarters or 73.3% of the projects cover the Arctic, 42.2% cover the Antarctic and 35.3% have also or only another geographic focus – mainly the Third Pole.

A majority of the submitters are PhD holders (26), while 18 Professors have submitted their ideas. One student has also participated to the call. Only 14 out of the 45 participants (or less than a third) are female.

Budget-wise, the requirements differ significantly, ranging from tens of thousands (CHF 20’000.- onwards) to millions of Swiss Francs per idea (with a maximum of CHF 5 million for a single idea). More or less half of the submitted ideas have estimated costs ranging from CHF 100 000.- to CHF 1 million.

A look at the distribution of the submitted ideas (see chart below) among the different Swiss research Institutions shows that the call was not met everywhere with the same interest, even though scientists from as much as 11 different institutions have participated to the call.

Scientists from the region of Zurich for instance (UZH and ETHZ together) are strongly represented. In total, they submitted 21 ideas, which is almost half of the submissions, while most of the other research institutions are only represented by a few ideas. Four ideas are joint ventures undertaken together by two research actors.