I am a transdisciplinary scientist in the fields of complex adaptive (social-ecological) systems, with graduate trainings in forest and environmental sciences, wood technology, wood engineering and passive house design, ecological economics and industrial ecology, in communication and didactics on sustainability. I have a PhD in resilience of mountain systems at the interlink of economics, ecology and sports sciences. I am interested in place-based human-environment relations and the transition of societies beyond sustainability – across disciplines, economic sectors, cultures and in various geographies.

My current research focuses on four interrelated themes:
1. resilience and governance of complex social-ecological systems (SES) to global environmental change, i.e. alpine-urban and Arctic community environments;
2. societal transitions and systemic innovation towards regenerative cultures, from sustainability to regeneration, enabling technical and social innovation in the real-world;
3. regenerative systems design, i.e. bio-inspired, nature-based design and engineering solutions across multiple scales of SES, spanning from raw materials to products and buildings to land use and bio-regional economies;
4. real-world laboratory experimentation through research by design, co-creation and experience-nudged behavioral change for sustainability and further towards regenerative bio-regional cultures.

Being trained in the natural and social sciences, and in engineering, I am used to combine, mix and integrate rigorous quantitative (network analysis, footprint accounting, life cycle assessment, choice experiments) and qualitative methods (co-creation, interviews, consultations, focus groups), as well as engineering design, prototyping, design thinking and doing, and research by design to address complex real-world challenges with “organic” methods combination that tackle emergent system properties.

Current research projects

  • Hemp composite building materials to de-carbonize the Swiss building sector within a circular economy. Innosuisse funded ETH Zurich project via ETH Systemic Design Labs
  • Mountain Resilience. I am co-leading a working group on mountain resilience hosted by the Mountain Research Initiative MRI at the University of Bern, CH.
  • Systemic Regenerative Design in the real world – transformation of an abandoned mountain hamlet to a real-world mountain laboratory for sustainability transitions and regenerative design, the MonViso Institute
  • Development of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) entitled “Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems” with ETH Systemic Design Labs
  • Circular regenerative engineering design across scales – based on products in the outdoor sports sector with Grown – Design-with-Nature lab and experience collective
  • Design and long term evaluation (15 years +) of (experiential) didactics on education for sustainable development (University of Freiburg Centre for Key Qualifications)

Former research projects

  • Mountain Pathways (ETH Zurich, University of Grenoble) – visions and innovative capacity for resilient mountain livelihoods and economies in Switzerland and France
  • Energyscape (ETH Zurich) – public acceptance and policy advice for a Swiss renewable energy landscape
  • Future (circular) cities and nature-based solutions – Swiss management committee member of a COST Action Circular-City 
  • Resilience and social network governance of Arctic and Alpine Social-Ecological Systems (ArcAlpNet).
  • Sustainable Mountain Tourism – Assessment, Communication, Implementation SMTA.

Areas and key words of my main research

  • Sustainability Transitions
  • Resilience of social-ecological systems (SES)
  • Impacts of and resilience to Global Environmental Change
  • Ecological Economics
  • Circular economy
  • Systemic Design: cradle-to-cradle, whole systems, integrative design of products, services, buildings, governance, communication
  • Industrial ecology: biomimicry, nature-based solutions
  • Environmental engineering
  • Integrative architecture, passive house design
  • Forest sciences, wood science and engineering
  • Sustainable tourism development
  • Future of Snow Sports
  • Assessment and quantification of sustainability: life cycle assessment, footprint accounting, labels and certificates
  • Consumer behavior and sustainable consumption
  • Sustainability communication and didactics for teaching about sustainability
  • Epistemology and conceptual frameworks of sustainability
  • Transdisciplinarity