Coordination Office

The MRI Coordination Office works with the mountain research community to identify research priorities and possibilities for common action, and supports this common action by providing targeted funding, coordination, and administrative assistance. It also strives to keep the research community informed, and works with research organizations and funding agencies to ensure that mountain global change topics are recognized and addressed. The MRI Executive Director oversees the work of the MRI Coordination Office and contributes to the strategic and operational discussions and decisions made within the MRI Governing Body. 

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, 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 with an international career spanning over 25 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 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. She is a Lead Author for the High Mountains chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), published in September 2019, as well as Lead Author for the IPCC Working Group II contribution on Impacts, Vulnerability, and Adaptation and Co-Lead for the Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Following a passion for mountaineering, she shares her environmental expertise as a 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 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 Knowledge Systems; 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 relevant for sustainable development in mountains, as well as the use of scientific evidence in regional and global assessments and their uptake in policy and decision-making contexts.

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Scientific Project Officer (GEO Mountains)
Mountain Research Initiative

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James joined the Mountain Research Initiative in 2020 upon completion of his PhD in hydrogeology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His doctoral research focussed on the interdisciplinary, physics-based numerical modelling of hydrological processes in complex Alpine terrain, and involved a wide range of datasets and computational tools.

Prior to that, James worked in the reinsurance sector, where he was responsible for leading the development of natural catastrophe models in order to quantify the risks associated with extreme events such as floods and tropical cyclones.

He is currently responsible for the coordination and implementation of GEO Mountains; a GEO Initiative seeking to increase the availability and accessibility of a wide range of data pertaining to mountainous regions to benefit human societies and ecosystems globally.  

Research Focus

Keywords: Alpine hydrology; climate change; numerical modelling; 3D geological modelling; snow hydrology; inverse methods

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Communications Manager
Mountain Research Initiative

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Heather Turnbach is a mission-driven storyteller with an international marketing communications career spanning over 10 years. In 2022 she joined MRI’s Coordination Office as its Communications Manager where she is responsible for implementing and enhancing the network’s communication strategy.

Heather began her career as a management consulting analyst in Philadelphia. Since moving to Switzerland, she has held several marketing communications roles, primarily within the international education field. She’s enjoyed rebranding two organizations, creating compelling communications campaigns, and sharing stories with impact. Most recently Heather stretched her entrepreneurial muscle by founding the OutFit Women's Movement, a project that aims to help women realize their own self-powered possibilities in the outdoors.

Heather holds an Executive Master’s in Food and Health from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy) and Bachelor of Arts in both Media and Communications Studies and Business and Economics from Ursinus College (USA). In her free time, Heather can be found pursing her passion as an all-seasons endurance athlete either trail running or skiing in the mountains.

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Scientific Project Officer
Mountain Research Initiative

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Michèle Egger, a Swiss national, joined the MRI Coordination Office in 2022 as a Scientific Project Officer. In this position she organizes scientific projects and events, and manages the MRI Expert Database. 

Michèle has an interdisciplinary background in social sciences, holding a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva and a Master’s degree with honors in International Development from Sciences Po Paris. During her academic studies she focused on environmental governance, economics, and China. Following on from this, Michèle gained first professional experience as an intern at the Embassy of Switzerland in Peru and at the University of Bern's Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), where her research contributions particularly explored multi-stakeholder engagement in the context of transdisciplinary research. Overall, she takes a special interest in the science-policy interface and the economy of sustainable development in mountain regions. 

Following a passion for mountains and the outdoors, Michèle loves to spend her free time climbing, skiing, hiking, or highlining somewhere in the Alps. 

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