The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) addresses the use, shaping and protection of natural and urban habitats, acting as a bridge between science and the application of research results. It occupies a leading global position in these research fields and provides the basis for a sustainable environmental policy in Switzerland. Together with its partners from the scientific community, society and industry, it develops strategies for resolving problems that are important to society.

WSL employs a staff of around 530 in Birmensdorf, Davos, Lausanne, Bellinzona and Sion. About half work as scientific staff and another 60 are doctoral students. About 150 technical and 50 administrative staff, 15 trainees and a number of interns complete the workforce. Around a quarter of all staff work at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos.

The politically agreed energy turnaround poses a major challenge for society and science. The effects of this turnaround – the “energy change impact” – are a new focus area for WSL’s research activities. In this, it can draw on many years of experience in researching the impact of climate change, its proven competence in linking questions from the natural and social sciences and its knowledge of renewable resources such as wood and water. Research into, and the management of, dangerous plant pathogens remain important areas of research, with the Plant Protection Laboratory due to open in autumn 2014.