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ALPOLE- Centre of research on alpine and extreme environments

Developed with the support of the Canton of Valais, ALPOLE is the second stage of the EPFL Valais Wallis Campus.

ALPOLE, which is an integral part of ENAC’s Institute of Environmental Engineering (IIE), will offer a center of excellence in alpine and extreme environments, with a critical mass, on a European scale. The creation of ALPOLE and its 8 chairs will bring the total number of chairs at the EPFL Valais Wallis campus to 17 and the number of researchers and employees to nearly 400.

The creation of ALPOLE demonstrates EPFL’s concern for climate change and Valais’ central position in observing the consequences of these changes, which will impact not only the environment but also the lives of residents, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure.

A major challenge is, and will be, understanding, predicting and adapting to climate-induced impacts on the environment.

ALPOLE will be composed of eight long-term chairs, including a core of 5 new chairs directly related to climate change.

  • Extreme environments focusing on alpine and polar glacier systems (ALP)
  • Computational Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CEE)
  • Catchment Science and Engineering (CaSE)
  • Environmental Adaption (EA)
  • Stream Biofilm and Ecosystem Research (SBER)

Several research groups in related scientific disciplines of the IIE will also be present on the Sion campus.


SPI-Swiss Polar Research Institute

To promote access and awareness of polar activities

The Swiss Polar Institute was created to provide services and promote synergies within the polar community in Switzerland. It will be installed jointly in Sion with ALPOLE.

The Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) was founded by:

  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), acting as a leading house.
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL),
  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich),
  • University of Bern (UniBe),
  • Editions Paulsen