You have received a "PRIMA Grant" from the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF. What does it mean to you to receive this Fellowship?
The PRIMA Grant gives me the opportunity to develop my own research area, to set up my own research group and, above all, to continue to conduct independent research. The grant also allows me to act as a role model for my children, but also for young researchers, where I can show that family and scientific careers are not mutually exclusive.
You have been selected from the SNF for your research project « Slope failures in sublacustrine deltas ». What is the project about?
In this project, I am studying underwater landslides in deltas. These underwater landslides can trigger tsunamis if they mobilize large volumes of sediment and move quickly. Even in lakes! A historical example in Switzerland is the 1687 Muota delta failure in Lake Lucerne, where a wave of up to four meters in height was documented. However, due to the high level of particle load of rivers, the traces of these events are quickly obliterated. That’s why we miss information to better understand these landslides and the resulting hazard. In this project, we will combine different methods to “observe” the underwater processes to constrain the missing elements.
What made you chose the University of Bern for your Project?
At the University of Bern, there is already a very active research group in lake research. Colleagues at the Institute of Geological Sciences here, as well as at my host institute at EAWAG, have been very supportive from the beginning. In addition, important infrastructure and equipment that I need to carry out my project is already existing in Bern. Furthermore, being based in Bern allows me to continue living with my family in Zurich, where my children go to school.
What is the social relevance of your project?
The findings from this project will help to better understand the potential hazard related to waves caused by underwater landslides in deltas.
Since lakes are smaller and more accessible than marine systems, but the process is similar, the knowledge gained in this project might be transferrable to oceans.