| Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD) | Institute of Earth's Surface Dynamics (IDYST) | Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE)

Research at the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment is conducted in three institutes:


Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD)

Research at the IGD revolves around the following themes:

  • Culture and the nature of tourism : theoretical and empirical studies of tourist phenomena, imaginary tourism, ecotourism, tourism resources, tourism transformation processes, tourist governance, tourist mobility;
  • Development, societies, environments : policies and natural resource management; multi-level governance; urban and rural transformation; 
  • Urban studies : these studies are the research field of the largest number of members of the IGD. They cover the processes from metropolization to territorial policies as well as urban systems and networks in globalization;
  • Geoheritage and water : water resources management, geoheritage and landscape studies, mountain geomorphological analysis and mapping systems;
  • Environmental humanities : political institutions (ecological democracy, political ecology), environmental ethics (the precautionary principle), lifestyles and economic dimensions (dematerialization, circular economy and functional economies, parallel currencies, economic anthropology, epistemology of ecological economics) history of environmental awareness;
  • Science of geographic information, mapping and visualization; modeling and simulation, in particular regarding self-organizing complex systems.

Institute of Geography and Sustainability (IGD) website


Institute of Earth's Surface Dynamics (IDYST)

It is an unprecedented time in Earth’s history. Changes in climate, biodiversity, and the degradation of soil and water ecosystems are major environmental issues facing society. The Institute of Earth Surface dynamics (IDYST) investigates the fundamental processes that underlie these major challenges. Our research is guided by two key questions :

  1. What is the impact of climate on landscape evolution, the cryosphere, and soil and water ecosystems ?
  2. How do humans impact the natural environment through resource use, land use, and pollutant mobilization ?

The strengths of IDYST are in its ability to study processes using a multi-disciplinary approach, with a strong focus on gaining a mechanistic understanding of environmental processes through fundamental physical, chemical, ecological investigations and methodological innovation.

Keywords :  Elemental cycles, climate (past, present, and future), minerals, ecosystems, soils, ice, vegetation, land-use, mechanistic processes, reactivity, isotopes, geochemistry, geocomputing, geostatistics, remote sensing, geochronology.

The institute currently includes 11 professors, five lecturers and senior lecturers and 15 research collaborators and research associates. The principle research topics are spearheaded by a number of research groups with distinct acronyms (LAKES, ALPWISE, ICE, ISOLAB, LGE, GAIA, BIOGEOSCIENCES, SPATIAL ECOLOGY, SE) but the research groups rely on strong collaborative interactions amongst all groups.

Institute of Earth's Surface Dynamics (IDYST) website


Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE)

The research at ISTE covers a large spectrum of the Earth Sciences, including Geophysics. The principal themes are:

  • environmental geophysics and stochastic modeling;
  • landslides, mechanics and analysis of rocks and risk modeling;
  • sedimentology, micropaleontology and land disasters;
  • structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics modeling;
  • igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochemistry and thermodynamics;
  • alpine geology (at the crossroads of all of the above-mentioned approaches).

The ISTE also comprises laboratories involved in research at national and international level, the cutting edge research in the geosciences: updating and developing these laboratories are one of ISTE’s main priorities. Members of ISTE support the CASA platform uniting research in the FGSE with EPFL laboratories.

Institute of Earth Sciences (ISTE) website


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For further information

Information platform for UNIL researchers

FSGE Research Policies (in french)
A word from the Vice Dean for Research

PhD Code of Ethics
Code of practice for the Doctoral studies at UNIL

Doctoral Schools
List of Doctoral Schools the GSE Faculty is part of/linked to

Doctoral Theses (in french)
Synopses of defended doctoral theses in the Geoblog

Interdisciplinary ethics policies

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