Swiss-British round table on the “Top of Europe”

· by Jacqueline Bannwart · in Research, What's new

International research collaboration is essential, in particular with regards to climate change and the related alterations in the cryosphere. On March 25, 2022, the British Embassy Berne brought together researchers and influencers from leading Swiss and British institutes and universities on Jungfraujoch, the «Top of Europe».

Both countries are very active in cryospheric research in the polar regions or on alpine glaciers, but research collaboration is challenging due to a lack of co-funding schemes between Switzerland and the UK as neither is a members of EU. This roundtable event concentrated on specific topics of potential collaborations, climate change related impacts on glaciers and ice sheets and challenges in related observational and modelling studies. 

Both countries are not EU members – and thus excluded from some funding pots – and are very active in cryospheric research, be it in the polar regions or on alpine glaciers. Focusing on climate impacts and nature, this roundtable event concentrated on climate risk assessment, glacier observational studies and atmospheric modelling.

Intense discussions and networking

Andreas Vieli and I joined the event to represent the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich. Already on our train journey from Berne to the Jungfraujoch, we had the chance to start some discussions: Existent work-related connections got stimulated, but also new connections were established. During the day, panel discussions, group sessions and personal conversations led to engaging discussions and exchanges about potential future collaborations.

Besides this scientific exchange and the stunning view of the Great Aletsch Glacier, we also had the chance to get a tour of the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch. And we could enjoy the beauty of the Jungfrau Region: The sky was cloudless and due to the Sahara dust in the atmosphere, the usually white winter landscape was covered by a slight yellowish layer.

This event was a good opportunity to make new connections, exchange about research topics and ideas, as well as to discuss how collaboration and funding among Swiss and British cryosphere researchers can be fostered. The British Embassy plans further steps to bring together combined experience in cryospheric research. And this event was just the first step…

Jane Owen, British Ambassador to Switzerland, about the event.

Jacqueline Bannwart, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, World Glacier Monitoring Service

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