The Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) envisions a world in which research to identify and understand drivers and processes of global change in mountains is promoted and linked across disciplines and mountain regions worldwide. 

The MRI serves as a coordination network for research collaboration, bringing the global mountain research community together. Since its origins in the 1990s, and with the founding of the MRI Coordination Office in 2001, the MRI has striven to promote basic and applied research to understand how drivers and processes of global change present challenges and opportunities in mountain social-ecological systems. 

Through the convening role of the MRI Coordination Office, the MRI has initiated numerous collaborations and networks of researchers, implementing actions that enhance the profile and value of global change research in mountains, whilst also integrating and synthesizing the results of this research and thereby informing stakeholders about the implications of these results for policy and practice.

Our Objectives

The MRI’s objectives for the period 2019-2023 build on the founding vision of the MRI, and reflect three long-term and interconnected knowledge needs to which the MRI network can respond:

  1. To identify and understand mountain social-ecological SYSTEMS (components, elements, interactions, and trends) via long-term empirical observations and modelling.

  2. To identify visions and substantiate TARGETS that reflect and sustain vibrant mountain social-ecological systems, where sustainability outcomes are aspired to and their trade-offs are defined in context.

  3. To enable pathways and TRANSFORMATIONS to sustainability by identifying, assessing, and supporting decisions, policies, and actions, as well as their fitness-for-purpose in closing the problem–solution gap, specific to diverse mountain contexts, from the observed changes (systems knowledge) to the desired outcomes (target knowledge).

Seven Functions of the MRI Coordination Office

To meet the objectives outlined above and respond to the corresponding knowledge needs, the MRI Coordination Office supports and enables the MRI network to generate, integrate, and synthesize knowledge in order to not only advance scholarship but also support decisions, actions, and transformations to sustainable development in mountain regions.

The MRI Coordination Office supports the network through seven key functions
(Adler et al., 2020): 

  1. Strengthen the Network
  2. Bolster Research Activity
  3. Enable Capacity Building
  4. Support Thematic Advocacy
  5. Provide Resource Opportunities
  6. Facilitate Science–Policy–Society Interaction
  7. Communicate Effectively

Figure 1
Source: Adler et al., 2020


Funding and Endorsement

The MRI is a partner of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum, and a participating organization of the Group on Earth Observations. It is also a member of the Mountain Partnership and the International Mountain Society (IMS). 

The MRI is hosted by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern, and funded by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT).

For their contributions to MRI Flagship and Community-Led Activities, we thank the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC), the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein, and Future Earth.

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