The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is an interdisciplinary research and service centre located in Davos Dorf. It forms part of the WSL – the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research – and thus belongs to the domain of the ETH (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Its scientists conduct research on snow, the atmosphere, natural hazards, permafrost and mountain ecological systems, and develop innovative products that translate their knowledge into practical applications. The SLF seeks to engage in top-level research while contributing to the resolution of urgent societal issues, for example in the fields of natural hazard warning systems and the analysis of climate and environmental change.
The Swiss Alps constitute the natural laboratory of the SLF's around 130 employees. Test sites with modern equipment in the various regions enable the scientists to analyse natural phenomena in real conditions. They also have access to diverse cold and climatic chambers and technical laboratories at headquarters in Davos. The instruments and field equipment required for taking measurements and conducting experiments are developed in the machine workshop and electronics laboratories.
The diversity and complexity of the subject matter calls for an interdisciplinary research effort. Close cooperation therefore takes place with other WSL research divisions in Birmensdorf, Lausanne and Bellinzona, and with other scientific institutions in Switzerland and abroad.
The SLF thus maintains close contact with practitioners, the users of its products, partners in industry and the general public. This policy safeguards the quality of our research and products in the long term, and enables us to recognise pressing social issues as they arise.