Human Environment Systems
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Human-Environment Systems Group

ETH Zurich

Human-Environment Systems (HES)

Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED)
Universitaetstrasse 22
CHN J 76.1
CH-8092 Zurich

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Phone +41 44 632 55 85
Fax +41 44 632 10 29

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In the Human-Environment Systems (HES) group we conduct problem-driven environmental research. Currently we focus on creating a sustainable energy system, and reducing people's vulnerability to climate and other natural hazards. Our mission is to identify those scientific questions that policy makers need answered urgently, and then to answer them, communicating the results clearly and effectively. Our core competencies are in the collection and analysis of data on people's beliefs, attitudes, and decisions, and in the modeling of system behaviors that depend on the interaction of human, engineered, and environmental elements.

The HES chair is new at ETH, having been formed in mid-2013. The HES group will eventually replace the chair of Environmental Sciences – Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), formerly led by Prof. em. Roland Scholz and currently led by Drs. Pius Krütli and Michael Stauffacher until its end in July 2015.

The HES chair is part of the Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED). The aim of IED is to analyze individual and collective decisions in the context of natural resource utilization and environmental problems. Furthermore, IED's members aspire to support private and political decision makers who are striving for sustainable decisions while facing a tremendous number of risks and uncertainties.


The aim of the HES group is to conduct policy relevant research of the highest scientific quality, and to communicate those results clearly and effectively. The policy areas with which we are concerned are primarily in the area of climate vulnerability and adaptation, and the decarbonization of the energy system. The funding for these activities comes from several external grants, as well as internal ETH research funding. The largest of these is a European Research Council grant to study renewable energy cooperation between European and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries; around this grant we have created a special theme on energy, development and security, HES:EDS. Information on additional projects will be posted as these come on line in our young research group.

Many of the members of the HES group, including the group leader, have recently moved to ETH Zurich from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Laxenburg, Austria. We continue to maintain close institutional and personal ties with IIASA, in particular with IIASA's research program on Risk, Policy and Vulnerability.



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© 2014 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 26 September 2013