SCNAT and its network are committed to a sustainable science and society. They support policy-making, administration and business with expert knowledge and actively participate in public discourse. They strengthen the exchange across scientific disciplines and promote early career academics.

Image: Sebastian,

SCNAT creates the largest knowledge network on the landscape

Sprawl, loss of landscape diversity and biodiversity, mountain landscapes marked by climate change: Starting in 2019, the Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT) is merging various of its activities in the new Landscape, Alps, Parks Forum. The goal is to better protect Switzerland's landscapes in collaboration with politics and society and to utilise and manage them more sustainably. This fusion will create the largest knowledge network in Switzerland on natural and cultural landscapes. Designated president is Felix Kienast of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). Furthermore, new presidents are also being appointed in other SCNAT units.

Aerial view of the Frick Valley in the canton of Aargau
Image: Patrik Walde, Flickr

Switzerland's diverse landscapes in urban and natural environments are essential for quality of life, biodiversity and people's identification with their environment. Research and a dialogue between science, practice, politics and society are crucial if landscapes are to be utilized and managed sustainably in the future. "Switzerland is predestined for this dialogue as it plays a leading role in mountain and landscape research," says Felix Kienast. The new inter-academic forum provides an opportunity to promote knowledge about landscapes and landscape-changing processes, and to enhance their value in dialogue with politics and society. The head of the office is Ursula Schüpbach. Further information can be found at

New President of the Biodiversity Forum

Florian Altermatt of the University of Zurich and Eawag is assuming responsibility for the Biodiversity Forum at a crucial moment: In 2019, the World Biodiversity Council IPBES publishes its first global analysis, a milestone in the dialogue on biodiversity. Altermatt’s predecessor, Markus Fischer of the University of Bern, has chaired the Forum since 2011 and led the preparation of the IPBES report on Europe and Central Asia.

New Presidents of the Platforms

The ecologist Christoph Scheidegger from WSL is the new head of the Biology platform. The platform is formed by 17 professional associations of biological research in Switzerland, ranging from systematics to the life sciences. The physicist Ernst Meyer of the University of Basel was elected President of the Platform for Mathematics, Astronomy and Physics with its ten specialist societies and four commissions. Pascal Mäser of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute is the new president of the Natural Sciences and Region platform. Its 29 cantonal and regional societies are strongly committed to dialogue with society.

  • Felix Kienast
  • Florian Altermatt
  • Christoph Scheidegger
  • Ernst Meyer (Uni Basel)
  • Pascal Mäser
  • Felix KienastImage: Reinhard Lässig, WSL1/5
  • Florian AltermattImage: Raoul Schaffner, Eawag2/5
  • Christoph ScheideggerImage: WSL3/5
  • Ernst Meyer (Uni Basel)Image: UHV Force Microscopy Lab4/5
  • Pascal MäserImage: Swiss TPH5/5