We perform fundamental research to explore our planet’s surface and interior and its evolution through space and time. We integrate fundamental research across all major domains within the Earth Sciences, and we investigate all spatial scales through time (full 4-D approach). We apply innovative methods in fieldwork-oriented, quantitative, experimental and computational Earth Sciences to generate an integrated understanding of the fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes that shape our planet. Our research and research-driven teaching programs address the pressing societal needs for solutions of a challenging future in terms of natural hazards, radioactive waste management, infrastructure in mountain regions, environmental and groundwater protection, CO2 storage, natural resources and alternative energies, such as hydropower and geothermal energy. A formidable challenge of mankind is the ever-increasing demand on water, mineral and energy supplies. Meeting this challenge is the missionl of our research and teaching programs.