Fields of expertise
MissionI am an environmental scientist and international development scholar with 19 years of experience in researching sustainable development challenges. I studied at the University of Geneva, the University of Aberdeen (UK) and at EPFL, conducted research in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mexico, Chile and Honduras and was based in Bangalore for four years as Executive Director of swissnex India. Currently, I am Executive Director of the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) and Research and Teaching Associate at EPFL. I teach Development Engineering and have launched a MOOC in disaster risk reduction. My publications include four (co-) edited books and a number of (co-) authored articles and book chapters. I am a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Development Engineering and of the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE). I am passionate about sustainable development, yoga and hiking in the wilderness.
Current work10/2019 International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)
06/2019 EPFL Sustainability
Research and Teaching Associate
BiographyShort ProfilePhD Environmental Science20 years of experience in global sustainability challenges
Professional Activities09/2012–05/2019 Cooperation & Development Center, EPFL
Deputy Director Acting Director of CODEV from February to September 2014.Leading research projects in disaster risk reduction.Lecturer in Development Engineering.Directing International Conference on Technologies for Development.
02/2008–08/2012 swissnex India
Executive Director Establishing research collaboration between India and Switzerland.Building networks and organising 58 events with research organisations.Developing projects in science and technology, education and innovation.Managing swissnex India team (6 people) in Bangalore, India.
05/2001–01/2007 EPFL, Switzerland
Researcher Research and publication of a PhD dissertation on land use changes and international migration.Developed research projects in Latin America and the Caribbean in collaboration with Swiss and Southern partner institutions.
05/2001–12/2001 NCCR North-South, University of Bern
Consultant Responsible for backstopping workshops in Ethiopia, Kenya, Cuba, Bolivia, Nepal and Vietnam.Ensured continuation of learning process and production of final report.
07/2001–12/2001 Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Researcher Co-organised conference: “Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Approaches and Experiences in Latin America” in Cartagena, Colombia.
04/2001–12/2001 IUCN – The World Conservation Union
Programme Assistant Developed project proposals with local organisations in China for IUCN Northeast Asia programme.
01/2000–03/2001 IUCN – The World Conservation Programme
Coordinator Cloud Forest Initiative Developed project proposals with IUCN Regional Offices in Latin America, Africa and Asia and presented projects to donor agencies.Established networks with international partners (World Conservation Monitoring Centre, WWF, UNESCO) to prepare joint activities for cloud forest conservation.
09/1996–01/1997 State Secretariat for Education and Research Co-organised “Research and Technology Day” in Stockholm, Sweden
Research and Working Experience AbroadIndia | Executive Director, swissnex India | (2008-2012)
Mexico | Fieldwork for PhD research | (9 months, 2002-2004)
Burkina Faso | Fieldwork for CAS research | (6 months, 1998-1999)
Ghana | Fieldwork for BSc research | (3 months, 1996)
London | Internship at Greenpeace | (6 months, 1994)
Colombia | Exchange programme at college level in Bogota | (1987)
Management SkillsPlanning and leading the creation of short- and long-term visions
Strategic programme planning
Professional AffiliationsMember of the Editorial Board, Journal of Development Engineering (2015-Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE) (2013-Conseil Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS) (2017-2019)Professional Women’s Group Bangalore (2009-2012)
Effective Teaching in Higher Education
University of Aberdeen
Comment se modifient les logiques de mobilité sur un campus universitaire?2020-10-05
Preface: Special Section on Energy and Food Security in a Humanitarian ContextSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. 2017-08-01. DOI : 10.1016/j.seta.2017.08.001.
Sustainable Access to Energy in the Global SouthCham: Springer International Publishing.
Holistic Approach to Sufficient, Reliable and Efficient Electricity Supply in Hospitals of Developing Countries: Cameroon Case StudySustainable Acces to Energy in the Global South; Spring, 2015. p. 59-77.
Low-cost wireless sensor networks for dryland irrigation agriculture in Burkina FasoTechnologies for Development. What is Essential?; Cham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London: Springer International Publishing, 2015.
Technologies for Development. What is Essential?Cham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London: Springer.
Participatory Processes in Urban Planning Projects in China: The Example of Caoyang Village, ShanghaiTechnologies for Sustainable Development; Springer, 2014. p. 209-223.
Toward a New Approach for Hydrological Modeling: A Tool for Sustainable Development in a Savanna Agro-SystemTechnologies for Sustainable Development; Springer International Publishing, 2013. p. 85-98.
New Vernacular Architecture as Appropriate Strategy for Housing the Poor2012. 2012 Tech4Dev International Conference Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?, Lausanne, Switzerland, May 29-31, 2012. p. 21-32. DOI : 10.1007/978-3-319-00639-0_3.
JACS Central America and the Caribbean. Key Challenges of Sustainable development and research priorities: Social Practices as driving forces for changeResearch for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Changes; Bern: NCCR North-South / CDE - University of Bern, 2004. p. 293-327.
JACS Central America and the Caribbean. Key Challenges of Sustainable Development and Research Priorities: Social Practices as Driving Forces of ChangesResearch for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change, a transdisciplinary appraisal of selected regions of the world to prepare development-oriented research partnerships; 2003.
|Hostettler S., Colombo E., Talesnick M. & Zolezzi G.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. (in review)
|Sustainable Development Goals: new skills for engineering students tackling global sustainability challenges.|
|Hostettler S., Johr A., Montes C. and A. D'Acunzi
Landslides. 2019. 16 (9) 1779-1791
|Community-based landslide risk reduction: A review of a Red Cross soil bioengineering program for resilience in Honduras.|
|Hostettler S. & Zolezzi G.
Journal of Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments [Special Issue] 22:91-227, 2017.
|Energy and Food Security in a Humanitarian Context|
In S. Hostettler, E. Hazboun, & J-C Bolay (Eds.) Technologies for Development: What is Essential? Paris, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London: Springer. 2015
|Technologies for Development: What Really Matters?|
Suedwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften. ISBN-13978-3-8381-0443-0. 2009.
|Mexican Migration: Reflections of Remittances in the Landscape.|
In: Geist H. (ed). Our Earth's Changing Land: An Encyclopedia of Land-Use and Land-Cover Change. Greenwood Press. USA. pp 503-506. 2006
In: Geist H. (ed). Our Earth's Changing Land: An Encyclopedia of Land-Use and Land-Cover Change. Greenwood Press. USA. p 452. 2006
|Bichsel C., Hostettler S., Strasser B.
NCCR North-South dialogue, NCCR North-South, Berne. 2005.
|"Should I buy a cow or a TV?" Reflections on the conceptual framework of the NCCR North-South based on a comparative study of international labour migration in Mexico, India and Kyrgyzstan.|
|Bolay J-C., Gerritsen P., Hostettler S. and Ortiz C.
ETFRN News 45/46, European Tropical Forestry Research Network, Netherlands, 2005.
|Global Change, Urbanization and Natural Resource Management in Western Mexico|
Bois et forêts des tropiques, CIRAD, No 274 (4):19-31, 2002.
|Tropical montane cloud forests: a challenge for conservation|
|Bergkamp G., Pirot J.-Y., Hostettler S. (Eds.).
Proceedings of a Workshop held at the 2nd International Conference on Wetlands and Development (November, 1998, Dakar, Senegal). IUCN, Wetlands International, WWF, France, 2000.
|Integrated Wetlands and Water Resources Management.|
|Aldrich M., Bubb Ph., Hostettler S.
Arborvitae 72. WWF International, IUCN, Gland and Cambridge, Switzerland and UK, 2000.
|Tropical Montane Cloud Forests. Time for Action|
Research Projects and PresentationsResearch Projects
- “Analysis of Disaster Risk Mitigation Measures in Rural Communities in Chile" in collaboration with Universidad de Concepción (Chile) and the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). Project duration: 2017-2019. Funded by research program Bilateral research collaboration with Brazil and the Latin American Region. (PI)
- “Increasing community resilience through community-based disaster risk management" in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross in Switzerland and Honduras. Project duration: 2017-2019. Funded by the Swiss agency for development and cooperation. (PI)
- “Reducing the seismic risk of Nepal through improved design of reinforced concrete structures and women training on low-weight retrofitting techniques" co-led with Dr. João Almeida of the EPFL Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics Laboratory (EESD). Project duration: 2018-2022. Decision pending by SNSF r4d program. (not granted)
Jury member / Reviewer / Expert
- Member of the expert evaluation panel. UNDP Social Good Summit. Geneva, 9 October 2019.
- Member of international panel. UK Research and Innovation (GBP 1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund – Global Research Translation Awards). London, 14-15 August 2019
- Reviewer for the Journal Geoenvironmental Disasters | SpringerOpen, March 2019.
- Reviewer. Bilateral Research Program with Latin America (SERI), January 2019.
- Jury member. T4I Research Seed Grant. EPFL, Lausanne, November 2018
- Member of international panel for UK Research and Innovation (GBP 1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund). London, 5-6 September and 3-4 October 2018.
- Reviewer for Journal of International Humanitarian Action | SpringerOpen, April 2018.
- Reviewer for a textbook proposal | SpringerNature, August 2017.
- Reviewer for Development Engineering| Elsevier, December 2016.
- Head of Jury. The Good Festival. Olympic Museum, 26-29 October 2016, Lausanne.
- Reviewer for the 2016 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC). 13-16 October 2016, Seattle.
- Member of the International Programme Committee for the 2015 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS 2015). Culture, Ethics and the Knowledge Society. 11–12 November 2015, Dublin.
- Reviewer for Energies | MDPI, December 2015 and January 2019.
- Jury Member of the thesis by Viviana Carolina Munoz Tellez de Kieffer: Institutions, Innovation and Public Health (No. 6566). Thesis Director: Prof. Dominique Foray. 19 January 2015, Lausanne
- Member of Selection Committee for Academia–Industry Training Camps in India and Brazil funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. 8 October 2014, Lausanne.
- Invited Expert for three Master projects in the Framework of the Minor in Area and Cultural Studies. 15 October 2014, Lausanne.
- Jury Member of the thesis by Chantal Basurto Dávila: On Daylight Optimization Strategies Based on Computer Simulations for Buildings Located at Low Altitudes (No. 6425) Thesis Director: Prof. Scartezzini and Dr. Kempf. 12 September 2014, Lausanne.
- Reviewer for Jàmbá:Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | AOSiS OpenJournals, August 2014.
- Reviewer for AJAR:African Journal of Agricultural Research | academicJournals, June 2014.
- Member of the Selection Committee for projects submitted to the Brazilian-Swiss Joint Research Programme funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. 26 February 2014, Lausanne.
- Member of the KFPE Evaluation Committee for projects submitted to the call Learning Events funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 24 June 2013, 3 April 2014, 1 July 2015 and 17 May 2016, Bern.
- Member of the Selection Committee of the EPFL Seed Money Program, an annual call for researchers from all scientific disciplines of EPFL, to submit research projects in partnership with academic institutions in the global South. January 2013, January 2014, January 2015, January 2016, January 2017 and November 2018, Lausanne.
- Jury Member for final year Master projects, Universität der Künste Berlin. 11 July 2011, Berlin.
- Presentation “Sustainable Development Goals: new skills for engineering students tackling global sustainability challenges”. Accelerating the implementation of sustainable development in the Curriculum. KTH Stockholm. 10-11 September 2019, Stockholm.
- Moderator “Setting the stage - the new roles and tasks for science and research partnerships.“ Leveraging Research Partnerships for Global Challenges. KFPE. 22 November 2018, Bern.
- Presentation “Increasing community resilience through community-based disaster risk management in Honduras”. 8th International Conference on building resilience. 14 November 2018, Lisbon.
- Session Leader “Development Engineering: Training Global Engineers“. UNESCO International Technologies for Development Conference. 29 June 2018, Lausanne
- Presentation “Impact Evaluation: Increasing Community Resilience through Community-Based Disaster Risk Management in Honduras“. UNESCO International Technologies for Development Conference. 28 June 2018, Lausanne.
- Panelist “Funding and organizing transnational research: Pitfalls in European-African research collaboration and how to best cope with them". WZB Berlin Social Science Center". 17 November 2017, Berlin.
- Moderator “UNDP 2017 Social Good Summit: Connecting Today. Creating Tomorrow". 13 October 2017, Geneva.
- Moderator “She started it". Lausanne Innovation Forum. 28 September 2017, Lausanne.
- Presentation “More technology – less disasters?”. Event series Everyone a Humanitarian. swissnex San Francisco. 28 January 2017, San Francisco.
- Presentation“Innovative technologies for poverty reduction and sustainable development in the global South”. Gadgil Lab for Energy and Water Research. UC Berkeley. 26 January 2017, Berkeley.
- Presentation “Development Engineering: The emergence of a new scientific field”. Universidad del Valle. 30 November 2016 Cali, Colombia.
- Presentation “Empowering Students to Shape the Future” at Shaping the Future – The Role of Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Geneva Impact Hub. 30 June 2016, Geneva.
- Talk on aidpreneur (TOR 112) on the UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development http://aidpreneur.com/tor112-unesco-chair-in-technologies-for-development-with-dr-silvia-hostettler/ 9 June 2016.
- Presentation “Technologies for Development” at the Conference Technology for Sustainable Development organized by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and Amrita University. United Nations. 8 July 2015, New York.
- Moderator of the Conference Why Does Intellectual Property Matter? Technologies for Development in Emerging Economies by WIPO Global Challenges Division. 29 April 2015, Lausanne.
- Participation in the Symposium From Growth to Sustainable and Inclusive Development: A Shift in Paradigm. CDE, University of Bern and SNIS. 13 November 2014, Bern.
- Co-Moderator of the Conference Seed Money: Experiences, Achievements and Impact. 30 October 2014, Lausanne.
- Moderator of the Thematic General Assembly of the Swiss Commission for UNESCO. 29 November 2013, Lausanne.
- Presentation of the paper “UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development – Achievements and Challenges” at the South East Europe Regional Forum of UNESCO Chairs. 12–13 June 2013, Istanbul.
- Panel Moderator at the Conference on Engaging the Private Sector for Development – Risks and Opportunities. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 5 June 2013, Bern.
- Presentation “Introduction to CODEV/EPFL and Collaboration with Colombian Universities” at the Symposium on Swiss-Colombian Bilateral Relations about Scientific Exchange. ACIS. 2 November 2012, Lausanne.
- Welcome Address at the Conference on Highly Skilled Mobility and the Development of the Research and Innovation Sector of the Republic of Moldova. 12 October 2012, Chisinau, Moldova.
- Invited Lecturer presenting “Mexican Migration: Reflections in the Landscape” at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ASHOKA). 25 April 2012, Bangalore, India.
- Co-organizer of the Symposium Energy and Development: Energy in India in collaboration with The Graduate Institute and the Indian Institute of Management. 28 November 2011, Bangalore, India.
- Co-organizer and Moderator of the Scientific Symposium for Cooperation@EPFL Research in a Development Context: Putting Knowledge into Practice in collaboration with the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP). 14 December 2010, Bangalore, India.
- Co-organizer and Presenter at the oikos swissnex Practitioner Day From Models to Markets for Inclusive Development at the UNDP Young Scholars Development Academy 2011. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. 26 August 2011, Bangalore, India.
- Invited Lecturer on Science and Technology in India for the EPFL Minor in Asian and Cultural Studies. 25 August 2011, Bangalore, India.
- Opening Speech of the IN:CH Exhibition presenting Master Class projects by the University of Applied Science Bern. 2 June 2011, Bangalore, India.
- Organizer and Opening Speech of the SCIENCEsuisse Exhibition. 24 November 2010, Ahmedabad, India.
- Welcome Address at the Conference Challenges of Urban Planning in collaboration with ETHZ. 7 September 2010, Bangalore, India.
- Moderator for swissnex at the EPFL MoT Event Becoming a Global Entrepreneur. 6 May 2010, Bangalore, India.
- Welcome Address at the Conference Ticinese Architecture by Mario Botta. 8 February 2010, Ahmedabad, India.
- Welcome Address at the Nestlé Innovation Partnership Event with former Federal Counselor Moritz Leuenberger. 2 February 2009, Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi, India.
- Presentation “The swissnex Network and Swiss Education and Research Landscape” to the Rotary Club. 28 January 2009, Bangalore, India.
- Interview on Swiss TV channel TSR on the Launch of the first Swiss satellite - SwissCube, launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center. 23 September 2009, India.
- Moderator of the Panel Student Exchange and Research Collaboration with former Federal Counselor Ruth Dreifuss. The Jaipur Forum. 20 November 2008, Jaipur, India.
- Presentation of the paper “Migration and Other Driving Forces of Land Use/Cover Change in a Rural Context in Western Mexico” at the 6th Open Meeting of the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Research Community. 9–13 October 2005, Bonn, Germany.
- Best Poster Award of EPFL (ENAC) PhD Poster Exhibition 2004. EPFL, Lausanne.
- Poster presentation Land Use Change and Urban-Rural Interactions in the Ayuquila Watershed to the expert panel of the NCCR North-South. 10 September 2003, Yssik Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
- Poster Presentation Sustainable Watershed Development: Land Use Changes and Urbanization in the Ayuquila Watershed in Western Mexico at the Conference: Rio 11: Towards a New Paradigm in Agricultural Research – The Challenge of Sustainable Development. ETHZ. 6 June 2003, Zürich.
Teaching & PhD
Humanities and Social Sciences Program
Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Doctoral Program in Architecture and Sciences of the City