ALPOLE – Alpine and Polar Environment Research Center


EPFL, with support of the Canton of Valais, is creating the new ALPOLE research centre as part of an expansion of the EPFL Sion campus. ALPOLE is part of the Institute of Environmental Engineering (IIE), and will substantially expand the Institute’s research and teaching programmes.

The establishment of ALPOLE recognizes the global relevance of changes taking place in high-altitude and high-latitude environments, which are sentinels of climate change. The cascading effects go beyond natural to the built environments, e.g., agriculture, tourism, infrastructure planning and landscape management. A major challenge is, and will be, the understanding and prediction of climate-induced impacts on the environment, as well as adaptions to these impacts.

ALPOLE, which will be located in a dedicated building at Sion (completed in 2022), is built around 5 new professorships:

  • Extreme Environments Research Laboratory, Prof. Julia Schmale.
  • Computational Environmental Science and Engineering (open search underway)
  • Catchment Science and Engineering (search to be opened in 2020-2021)
  • Environmental Adaption (search to be opened in 2020-2021)
  • Stream Biofilms and Ecosystems (Prof. T. Battin, https://sber.epfl.ch/)

Several research groups from cognate scientific disciplines within IIE will be co-located with ALPOLE at Sion, creating a large (around 200 people) and synergistic research effort on climate-driven environmental changes and adaptions.
More infos https://valais.epfl.ch/page-134277-en-html/alpole/