Coordination Office

The MRI Coordination Office is based in Bern, Switzerland.

Executive Director
Mountain Research Initiative

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About

Carolina Adler, a dual national from Chile and Australia, is an Environmental Scientist and Geographer by background, with an international career spanning over 20 years in both research and practice in the public and private sectors. As the current Executive Director of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), she is tasked with overseeing the work of the MRI Coordination Office, as well as connecting, coordinating, and promoting global change research agendas and supporting regional and thematic networked collaborations in mountains worldwide.

Carolina Adler obtained her PhD at Monash University (Australia) in 2010, focusing on climate change adaptation and relevant policy processes for sustainable development in mountain regions, receiving the Harold D Lasswell Prize in 2010 for best thesis. Over the years, she has actively engaged with and contributed to numerous international networks and programs, such as the Society of Policy Scientists, the International Social Sciences Council and International Council for Science, now merged to form the International Science Council, as well as Future Earth through core projects such as the Earth Systems Governance Project. She is a current Lead Author for the High Mountains chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), due in September 2019, as well as Lead Author for the IPCC Working Group II on Impacts, Vulnerability, and Adaptation and Co-Lead for the Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). She is also Research Associate at the Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab), at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, conducting research on the transferability and uptake of knowledge stemming from inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations. Following a passion for mountaineering, she shares her environmental expertise as delegate to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (Union International des Associations d'Alpinisme - UIAA) Mountain Protection Commission, later in 2016 assuming the role of President. When not at her work desk, Carolina Adler is most likely to be found enjoying the great outdoors in the mountains.

Research Interests

Keywords: Social-Ecological Systems, Climate Change; Governance; Risk & Decision-Making; Evidence; Science-Policy Interface; Global Assessments; Monitoring & Evaluation; Transdisciplinary Research; Mountains.

Carolina Adler focuses on research activities related to the assessment and evaluation of inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations on questions related to sustainable development in mountains, as well as the use of scientific evidence in regional and global assessment efforts and uptake in policy and decision-making contexts.

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Scientific Officer 
Mountain Research Initiative

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Aino Kulonen is a geographer who holds a dual citizenship of Finland and Switzerland. In her position as a Scientific Project Officer at the MRI Coordination Office in Bern, Aino’s work includes promoting and supporting global change research in mountains through coordinating scientific projects, organising events, and managing the MRI Expert Database.

Aino started her academic path at the University of Helsinki (Finland), where she studied geography, finishing her Masters with expertise in artic vegetation change, spatial modelling tools, and a teaching diploma. In 2013, Aino moved to Davos (Switzerland) to work as a doctoral student in the 'Summit Flora' project at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. In her thesis, she studied the patterns and mechanisms of vegetation change on European mountain summits over the past 130 years. She obtained her PhD diploma in ecology at the University of Bergen (Norway) in 2017. After a short stop over at the Plant Ecology Group at the ETH Zürich (Switzerland), she started her current position at the MRI in April 2018. Over the years, Aino has actively engaged with international collaborations and synthesis projects, especially in alpine and arctic ecology.  In her free time, Aino keeps herself busy with jogging, singing, yoga, and supporting the activities of the Finnish School in Zürich.

Research Focus

Keywords: Alpine and Arctic Ecology, Community Ecology, Functional Ecology, Biodiversity, Mountains, Global Change, Long-term Monitoring, Synthesis Work.

Aino’s research spans thematically from arctic biogeography to mountain ecology. In particular, questions related to the fate of mountain biodiversity under global change and mechanisms affecting it have kept her busy in recent years. Methodologically, Aino’s work spans from small scale field observations and experiments to monitoring and conducting continental scale synthesis. At the MRI, Aino coordinates and contributes to scientific projects and collaborations from various fields with the common goal of ensuring sustainable development for mountain people and environments under global change.

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Communications Manager
Mountain Research Initiative

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Originally from the UK, Grace Goss-Durant moved to Switzerland in 2008 after graduating from the University of Kent, where she studied Environmental Social Science. Her thesis on environmental movements and the important role they play in shaping global politics received the highest mark ever awarded by both moderating professors, and she won a university prize for graduating top of the School of Social Policy and Sociology.

Grace has held a number of communications and editorial roles since arriving in Switzerland, starting out as an Editor and Research Assistant for the Group for Sustainability and Technology at ETH Zürich, where she contributed to the research, editing, and writing of a number of journal articles and books, predominantly focused on carbon management issues. Following on from this, she worked as a Project Officer at the UNEP Sustainable Energy Finance Alliance, and led the Corporate Communications Editorial Office at LafargeHolcim. Prior to joining the Mountain Research Initiative, Grace was employed as Art Basel’s Digital Content Editor, developing online content to publicize the art fair’s various shows, products, and initiatives.

Studying around professional commitments, Grace also obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from De Montfort University in 2011. She was awarded an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from the University of Southampton in 2016. When not at her desk, Grace can be found exploring Switzerland’s incredible mountains on foot.

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Research Assistant
Mountain Research Initiative

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Sophie Bigler is a geographer who will finish her MSc at the University of Bern in summer 2019.

Growing up in Bern, Sophie always had the mountains on her doorstep. She started her studies in Geography in 2011 at the University of Bern, obtaining a BSc in 2015. After that, she gathered important work experience during an internship at Bruno Manser Fonds in Basel, and took up her MSc studies the following autumn. Her MSc thesis took her to Khorogh, Tajikistan, where she investigated major debris flows, working closely with the Aga Khan Development Network and the University of Central Asia. During this prolonged field-stay, Sophie also contributed to and actively participated in the Summer University on Disaster Risk Management in 2017.

During her free time, Sophie is an enthusiastic mountaineer, engaging in all kinds of activities, including backcountry skiing, climbing and bouldering, ice climbing, hiking, and doing some yoga to stay flexible.

Research Interests

Natural hazards, Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Risk Management, Climate Change, Mass Movements, Sustainable Mountain Development.

Communications & Project Assistant
Mountain Research Initiative

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Silva Lanfranchi is a geographer who holds a dual citizenship of New Zealand and Switzerland.

Originally from the Alps in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, Silva grew up as a polyglot, with a deep-rooted understanding for life in the mountains. Her academic path took her to the University of Basel, where she enrolled in 2011 in Ethnology and Geography. By 2015 she had her BA in English and Geography. She eventually completed her MA in 2017 Majoring in English Literature and Geography, with a focus on Sustainability.

Her commitment to the human geographical aspects of mountains led her to participate at the 2014 IFOAM conference for Organic Agriculture in Mountain Regions, in Bhutan. Parallel to her studies, she gathered various work experience, the most relevant being an apprenticeship at the NGO Biovision, where she focused on sustainable consumption and environmental education. In her free time Silva likes to hike, camp, ski, and climb her way through the Swiss mountains.

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