Switzerland funds the Mountain Research Initiative for three more years
On 22 September 2016 the Swiss administration renewed funding for the Mountain Research Initiative. The administration responded to a proposal by Prof. Rolf Weingartner for the MRI Coordination Office, based on two years’ work by leading researchers on a strategic plan to promote and coordinate global change research in mountain regions around the world. The grant provides 900’000 Swiss francs over a three year period from October 2016 to September 2019.

The grant further specifies that overall responsibility for funding the MRI will shift from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) to the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) on 1 January 2017. The Geography Institute of the University of Bern will continue to host the MRI Coordination Office during the duration of the grant, and the overall governance of the MRI will continue as currently constituted. Thus Rolf Weingartner will continue to chair the group of five Swiss researchers (Jörg Balsiger, Martin Grosjean, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey and Christian Huggel) who collaborated on the submission of the proposal, and MRI’s existing Science Leadership Council (SLC) will continue to inform the overall scientific direction of the Initiative.
slc porto
 
The Science Leadership Council met in Porto, Portugal on 8-9 October 2016 to refine MRI direction in the light of this new grant. The SLC focused on two key themes contained within the proposal that the MRI Coordination Office will pursue over the next three years:
  • mountain observatories, which focuses on the compilation of data related to mountain regions, and
  • social-ecological systems, which focuses on a framework that both promotes synthesis by translating data into meaningful and actionable information about mountain regions, and examines innovation and transformation within these regions.

The core themes are complemented by a continuing effort to keep the global change in mountain region research community informed via the MRI’s website, blogs, newsletters and other media.
 
Finally, the SLC reviewed and approved a call for applications for the position of Executive Director of MRI. The current Director, Dr. Greg Greenwood, will retire at the end of 2016. This call will be published shortly, with an application due date of 15 November 2016 and a starting date of 1 April 2017.