Advisory board

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board provides guidance and recommendations to the management committee on policy, business and scientific issues related to risk governance and public policy of technology.

James Larus
[email protected]/École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)



Professor and Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Larus was previously a researcher, Manager, and Director at Microsoft Research for over 16 years and an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.
Larus has been an active contributor to the programming languages, compiler, software engineering, and computer architecture communities. He has published over 100 papers (with nine best and most influential paper awards), received 30 US patents, and served on numerous program committees and NSF, NRC, and DARPA panels. Larus joined Microsoft Research in 1998 to start and lead the Software Productivity Tools (SPT) group, which developed and applied a variety of innovative program analysis techniques to build tools to find software defects. This group’s groundbreaking research in program analysis and software defect detection is widely recognised by the research community, as well as being shipped in Microsoft products. Larus became an MSR Research Area Manager for programming languages and tools and started the Singularity research project, which demonstrated that modern programming languages and software engineering techniques can fundamentally improve software architectures. Subsequently, he helped start XCG, an effort in MSR to develop hardware and software support for cloud computing. In XCG, Larus led groups developing the Orleans framework for cloud programming and computer hardware projects. Larus received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator award in1993 and became an ACM Fellow in 2006.


David Bresch
Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) Zurich

David Bresch has been Professor for Weather and Climate Risks at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich/MeteoSwiss since 2016. From 2000 to 2016, his roles at Swiss Re have included Head of Business Development, Global Head of Sustainability, Head of Atmospheric Perils Group and Chief modeller for natural catastrophe risk assessment. From 1998 to 1999, he was Research Associate at MIT. Bresch was a member of the Swiss delegation to the UNFCCC in 2009-2012 and 2015, and a member of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF), 2014-2016. Bresch holds a PhD in physics from ETH Zurich. His research focuses on the impacts of weather and climate on socioeconomic systems. Combining numerical modelling of weather and climate risks with the engagement of decision makers and end-users, his research aims to explore ways to strengthen resilience based on a shared understanding of their weather and climate susceptibility. Such an integrated view along the chain of impacts also opens up new perspectives to the treatment of uncertainty in decision-making.


Benno Bühlmann
Former Director
Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP)


Benno Bühlmann is former Director of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP), which supports the cantons and municipalities as well as partner organisations in their civil protection activities. Prior to that, he was Head of the Environmental Protection Authority of the Canton of Uri, Head of the Civil Protection Service of the Canton of Uri, Deputy Chief of Staff in the cantonal command support of Uri, anti chem squad commander and independent Consultant Manager of Bühlmann Project Management AG in Altdorf. Mr Bühlmann’s other activities include Mayor, Fire Brigade Commander, President of the Federal NBC Protection Commission, VRP Innet Monitoring AG, and lecturer at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. Benno Bühlmann graduated from the ETH Zurich, with diplomas in chemical engineering and natural sciences.


Julia Marton-Lefèvre
Former director general
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)


Until 2015 Julia was Director General of IUCN, the world’s largest international conservation membership organisation. Prior positions have included Rector of the UN-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) and Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
At present, she is focusing on using her broad experience to advise organisations on how to achieve their goals. She chairs the Executive Committee of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Donor Council of the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, the Board of Trustees of Bioversity International, and the independent Advisory Board to the Sustainable Biomass Program. Her links with academic institutions are with Yale University, Oxford University’s James Martin School (Advisory Boards) and Arizona State University (Global Institute of Sustainability). She recently completed a 10-year term as a founding member of the Board of the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and remains a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute’s Center for Environmental Studies.
Julia’s other board memberships include the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and the Global Footprint Network. Private sector links include membership of the Critical Friends advisory group to the CEO of Veolia Environment S.A. and the Ethics Committee of BNP Paribas.
Julia received the AAAS Award for International Cooperation in Science and was granted the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in France. She is an elected member of the World Academy of Art and Science, the World Future Council and the Royal Geographical Society. She was born in Hungary, educated in the United States and France and, having lived on several continents, considers herself a global citizen.


Kenneth Oye
Professor and Director of the Program on Emerging Technologies (PoET)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Kenneth Oye is Director of the MIT Program on Emerging Technologies (PoET) with a joint appointment as Professor of Political Science and Data Systems and Society. His research seeks to accentuate benefits and mitigate risks of advanced biotechnologies, with publications on synthetic biology in Science and Nature and on pharmaceuticals policy in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
He is a faculty affiliate of the Synthetic Biology Center, the Center for Biomedical Innovation and the Internet Policy Research Initiative, chairs the biosafety committees for iGEM and the Broad Institute Foundry, and has served as an invited expert to the UN BWC, WHO, PCAST and NRC.
Before joining the MIT faculty, he taught at Harvard University, the University of California, Princeton University and Swarthmore College. He holds a BA in Economics and Political Science with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College and a PhD in Political Science with the Chase Dissertation Prize from Harvard University. Kenneth Oye has been associated with the IRGC Foundation since 2006, with which he collaborates on matters related to risk governance in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and information technology, as well as technology policy and adaptive regulation. He took a sabbatical at EPFL in academic year 2018-2019.


Janos Pasztor
Senior Fellow and Executive Director
Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2)


Janos Pasztor is Carnegie Council Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the C2G2. He has over four decades of work experience in the areas of energy, environment, climate change, and sustainable development. Before taking up his current assignment, he was UN Assistant Secretary-General for climate change in New York under Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Earlier, he was acting Executive Director for Conservation (2014) and Policy and Science Director (2012-2014) at WWF International. He directed the UNSG’s Climate Change Support Team (2008-2010) and later was Executive Secretary of the UNSG’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (2010-2012). In 2007, Janos Pasztor directed the Geneva-based UN Environment Management Group (EMG). From 1993-2006 he worked and over time held many responsibilities at the Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), initially in Geneva and later in Bonn.
Janos Pasztor held previous roles in: the Secretariat of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit ’92); Stockholm Environment Institute; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Secretariat of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission); the Beijer Institute; and the World Council of Churches. He has BSc and MSc degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Stephan Schreckenberg
Head of Strategy & Development
Swiss Re Institute, Swiss Re


Stephan Schreckenberg heads the Strategy & Development team of the Swiss Re Institute. He is responsible for the development of Swiss Re’s overall research strategy and its operationalisation for the Institute, including related external partnerships. Prior to this, he led the Risk Research unit at the Swiss Re Center for Global Dialogue where he was strongly engaged in outreach activities and applied research with external partners. He spent more than ten years in Swiss Re’s Corporate Risk Management Department. As Head of the Internal Risk Modeling team, he contributed to building Swiss Re’s Enterprise Risk Capital Management System.
As member of the Solvency II Steering Group at the European Association of Insurance Associations, he represented for many years the Swiss insurance industry’s view in developing the new regulatory solvency regime in Europe. He is now involved in several boards of academic research institutes and is a member of the EconomieSuisse commission “Education & Research”.


Gisou van der Goot
Professor and Dean, School of Life Sciences
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)


Gisou van der Goot is Head of the Laboratory of Cell and Membrane Biology, and founding member of the Global Health Institute (GHI), School of Life Sciences, at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She is currently also Dean of the School of Life Sciences.
Before joining EPFL, she was Group Leader at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and subsequently Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the same university.
She studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale de Paris and then did a PhD in Molecular Biophysics at the Nuclear Energy Research Center, Saclay, France, followed by a postdoc at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. She obtained an EMBO Young Investigator award in 2001, a Howard Hughes International Scholar award in 2005 and the Swiss Prix Marcel Benoist in 2009, the same year she was elected EMBO member (European Molecular Biology Organisation). She is a leader in the fields of molecular and cellular understanding of rare diseases, the organization of mammalian membranes and organelles biology. Professor van der Goot is a member of various scientific boards such as Fondation Bettencourt Schuller, INSERM or Fondation Louis-Jeantet where she is also a member of the Foundation Board.


In Memoriam


Konrad Steffen (2 January 1952 – 8 August 2020) 
Director, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)
Professor, Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) Zurich and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Lausanne


Konrad Steffen was the Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), a Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich (Institute of Atmosphere & Climate) and a Professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering). He was also the Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado from 2005-2012 and Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder, USA from 1997-2012.
He was a member of several committees and advisory boards: Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research, GCOS Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC), World Climate Research Program, Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), ESA Climate Change Advisory Board, Agroscope, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat.
Professor Steffen dedicated his career to studying processes related to climate and cryosphere interaction in polar and alpine regions based on in-situ and satellite measurements, using climate system modelling to study their sensitivity. In particular, he studied and evaluated sea level changes and conducted sensitivity studies of large ice sheets using in situ and modelling results. Every year he travelled to his research station in Western Greenland, which he called Swiss Camp, where his team has been collecting data on snow cover, ice and the atmosphere with various instruments since 1990. Professor Steffen was outspoken about the need to address climate change and his research was vital for a better understanding of sea level rise.
Professor Steffen died in an accident at Swiss Camp in Greenland on 8 August 2020, when he fell into a crevasse in the ice. Crevasses such as the one where Professor Steffen fell are relatively recent occurrences caused by warming temperatures. In this way, his untimely death can be seen as casualty of climate change.