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| 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)

The environment and Earth Surface Processes are the main concern of the IDYST with the following poles of research:

  • Geomorphology, cryosphere and mountains : this pole focuses on understanding the mountain formation through time scales and various spaces (from days to millions of years). It addresses fluvial, glacial, and periglacial environments. The approach is quantitative (numerical modeling, use of ground based sensing, remote sensing, etc.);
  • Geomatics and spatial modeling : this pole concentrates on the application of advanced geomatics to the interpretation of complex spatial data. The research employs data mining, geostatistics, GIS as well as machine learning methods.
  • Natural and anthropized ecosystems : the goal is to understand the fundamental processes shaping natural and anthropized ecosystems, as well as their relation to climate change and human impacts. Firmely multidisciplinary, the pole uses concepts emanating from industrial ecology, ecotoxicology, and modeling of planetary systems.
  • Water cycles and elements : this pole examines material flows and cycles associated with water and elements such as carbon, nitrogen, calcium, trace elements, metalloids, or natural organic substances or xenobiotics, whether in the laboratory or in the natural environment (soil, lakes, rivers). The research involves cutting-edge laboratories specialized in isotope geochemistry, soil biogeochemistry and synchrotron spectroscopy.

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



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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