Davos as a research location looks back at a tradition of more than 100 years. Internationally renowned research institutions have established in Davos, spreading their knowledge to specialists allover the world. All together, there are six scientific institutions in Davos, their fields range from allergies and asthma to osteosynthesis, gastroenterological surgery, snow and avalanche research, radiation and climate research or risk management.
Considering the topics covered by our research institutes, it becomes evident that research is closely related to the natural conditions and Davos as a health and tourism destination. Davos has succesfully attracted organizations which exploit the local circumstances in order to foster their research.
AO Research Institute Davos
In its work to further the AO Foundation's mission, AO Research Institute Davos's purpose is to advance orthopedic patient care through innovative research and development. (Orthopedics concerns musculoskeletal, spine and cranio-maxillo-facial trauma, degenerative musculoskeletal diseases, infections, and congenital disorders).
The AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) was founded as a foundation in its own right by the Association for the Study of Internal Fixation–Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (now AO Foundation) on June 18, 1959, then known as the Laboratory for Experimental Surgery Davos (Scroll to history to find out more).
Contemporary research conducted by ARI aims to solve practical surgical problems dealing with fractures and degenerative conditions. ARI carries out fundamental and practical research work in the fields of bone bio-mechanics, biology for the areas of bone, intervertebral disc and cartilage (including tissue engineering and musculoskeletal infection research) and biomaterial science (degradable polymers and polymer gel delivery vehicles). The Institute also works in the areas of digitalisation with smart surgery, including smart implants, smart navigation within the body and smart aids for the operation team and surgeons. All projects work closely with clinicians globally for clinical guidance and often have clinicians involved in the projects as fellows spending time from 6 months to 1 year at the institute. These projects build the basis for new implant technologies and procedures and spread the spirit of Davos globally.
Davos Physical Meteorological Observatory (PMOD) /
World Radiation Centre (WRC)
Since the Davos Physical Meteorological Observatory (PMOD) was established in 1907 it has conducted research on the influence of solar radiation on Earth's climate.
It has been part of the "Swiss Research Institute for High Altitude Climate and Medicine" since 1926.
In 1970, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Swiss Federal Council appointed the PMOD to establish and run the World Radiation Centre (WRC). The WRC maintains the primary standard for solar irradiation intensity which is measured with a group of absolute radiometers that serve as a world-wide reference for similar instruments. The WRC field of research was successively broadened to include calibration tasks in the infra-red, atmospheric spectral turbidity and the ultra-violet upon request of the WMO.
The PMOD/WRC develops and manufactures various types of radiometers which are among the most precise of their type in the world, and are used for ground-based and space measurements. These instruments are also available for purchase, and are operated by many international meteorological institutes.
In recent years, PMOD/WRC have been involved with imaging and spectroscopic measurements for space – the first instruments of this type are onboard the ESA Solar Orbiter mission launched in 2020. We are involved in a number of future missions, both for imaging instruments and spectral irradiance measurements, with space agencies around the world.
Ground-based and space measurements are used in research projects to study climate change and solar science. The director has a joint appointment with ETH-Zürich in the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics. Through this link, we collaborate in teaching, supervising students and also technical aspects.
Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF)
The Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF) arose as a department of the foundation Swiss Research Institutes for High Altitude Climate and Medicine
Davos (SFI) in 1988. SIAF is an affiliated institute of the University of Zurich since 1996 and member of the Life Science Zurich Graduate School since 2007, a joint post graduate education
program of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Zurich. SIAF members play leading roles in national and international organizations and in editorial boards and
editorships of top Journals in the field of allergy, asthma and clinical immunology. At the same time, SIAF fulfills teaching obligations in the University of Zurich and the University of
Salzburg. SIAF organizes the international World Immune Regulation Meeting (WIRM) every year in Davos, which is one of the most important meetings in its area in the world.
The research activities at SIAF are focused on basic research in the field of allergies and asthma to develop approaches for new preventive and curative treatments for patients. Human research has been pursued at the highest level with a main emphasis given on patient-relevant research. SIAF has a large impact in the field of allergies and asthma with more than than 40’000 citations to its over 800 publications.
Bild: Daniel Martinek
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF belongs to the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape (WSL). WSL is part of the ETH Domain.
The SLF is located in Davos and employs 140 highly qualified researchers and technical staff from around the world. It engages in research, scientific services, teaching and public relations. The research focuses on snow, its interaction with the atmosphere, the formation, movement and impact of snow avalanches and other mass movements, avalanche mitigation in view of integrated risk management, permafrost and mountain ecosystems. In close connection with its research activities, the SLF also offers a range of services. These include consulting on avalanche accidents and avalanche protection measures, and the development of warning systems for natural hazards in the Alps. The best-known service is the avalanche bulletin for the Swiss Alps, which is published twice daily in wintertime. SLF employees also teach at ETH Zurich and EPFL, and various universities in Switzerland and abroad, and provide basic and further training for safety personnel. The SLF is also eager to share its knowledge with the general public. Its outreach activities focus on raising the public awareness of avalanches, but also include publishing articles, offering guided tours of the institute, and explaining research findings on radio and television.