Coordination Office

The MRI Coordination Office provides fundamental support to the mountain research community. Through its activities, the MRI Coordination Office aims to: 1) strengthen the mountain research network; 2) bolster research activity; 3) enable capacity-building; 4) support thematic advocacy for mountains; 5) provide resource opportunities; 6) facilitate science-policy-society interactions; and 7) communicate effectively.

The MRI Coordination Office is hosted by the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern in 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 Project 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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Scientific Project Officer (GEO-GNOME)
Mountain Research Initiative

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James has a broad background across the environmental sciences, and recently received his PhD in hydrogeology from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

In James’ previous role at JBA Risk Management Limited, he led the development of several natural catastrophe models – tools which are used extensively in the (re)insurance industry, and increasingly elsewhere, to quantify the risks associated with extreme natural events such as floods and tropical cyclones.

James Thornton joined the MRI coordination office in May 2020 as Scientific Project Officer to the GEO-GNOME project, which seeks to improve the availability and accessibility of environmental data in mountainous regions to the benefit of human societies globally. 

Research Focus

Keywords: Alpine Hydrology, Climate Change, Numerical Modelling, 3D Geological Modelling, Snow Hydrology, Numerical Modelling, Inverse Methods

In 2016 he completed an MSc (by Research) degree at the University of Durham, UK, on the subject of fluvial flood hazard quantification, and holds a BSc (with First Class Honours) in Physical Geography from the University of Bristol (2012).

With the aim of improving the reliability of hydrological climate change impact assessments in complex Alpine headwater catchments, his doctoral research focussed upon the integrated, physically-based, and spatially distributed simulation of hydrological processes – including those pertaining to snow, surface water flow, groundwater flow, and evapotranspiration, under both present and plausible future climate, land cover, and permafrost conditions. To this end, he employed advanced inverse approaches to combine sophisticated numerical models with both in situ and remotely sensed observations.

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Communications Manager
(On Maternity Leave)
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 and 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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Communications Manager
Mountain Research Initiative

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Upon receiving her BA in Spanish from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, Liz moved to Madrid, Spain where she would later receive her MA in Spanish Philology from the Saint Louis University, Madrid campus. During her studies, she worked as an English Trainer both freelance and at an academy, while also carrying out the role of Administrative Support Scholarship Coordinator at SLU-Madrid. 

Upon moving to Basel, she took an interest in digital communications and, while studying Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding) and Search Engine Optimization (both via coursera.org), she volunteered at the Professional Women's Group in Basel supporting the Digital Presence team and joined the Women in Digital Basel organization team. She has worked as a Digital Content Editor at Art Basel and a Project Assistant at Audience Inc before joining the MRI team as Interim Communications Manager in January 2020. 

At any given moment she is wishing she were either eating tapas in Madrid or swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. 

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Student Research Assistant
Mountain Research Initiative

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Victoria is a dual citizen from Spain and England, but was born and grew up in Bern. Already in secondary school she enjoyed geography classes and therefore opted to take it on as a supplementary subject at the high school from which she graduated in 2014 with the bilingual matura in English. She kept following her interest in geography and is studying it in her 6th semester at the University of Berne. As she is still a bachelor student, she has not yet had to specialise herself. However, her interests range from meteorology all the way through to cultural geography. She is especially interested in topics where physical geography is linked to human geography, such as learning about the impact on digitalisation in mountain regions. When she is not studying, she enjoys several outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, playing tennis, and riding.

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