Xiao-Shan Yap

EPFL eSpace
PPH 335 (Bâtiment PPH)
Station 13
1015 Lausanne

Web site:  Web site:  https://espace.epfl.ch/

Administrative data

Fields of expertise

Dr. Xiao-Shan Yap is Lead Senior Researcher at EPFL Space Center, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne in Switzerland and affiliated as a guest Assistant Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Yap is pioneering a scientific research agenda on 'earth-space sustainability' to specify opportunities and challenges for a sustainable planetary future as anthropogenic activities expand into outer space. While space-based technologies quickly become next-generation infrastructures that accelerate sustainable development on Earth, an exponential rise in space activities has quickly led to new anthropogenic challenges such as increasing space debris in Earth’s orbit. Mismanagement of an increasingly congested orbit will in turn severely disrupt daily operations on Earth when space-based infrastructures like navigation, telecommunication, and observation no longer function well.

In 2020, Yap founded the corresponding Earth-Space Sustainability research initiative aiming at ensuring a sustainable and functional earth-space future. Yap is also a senior Steering Group member of the international Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN), Co-Lead of the Working Group on Earth-Space Governance at the global research alliance Earth System Governance Project, and Co-Chair of Commons in Space under the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)

Yap was trained as a development economist during her Ph.D. and in recent years as an environmental social scientist. She is an innovation and sustainability expert in sectors such as semiconductors, water recycling, solar photovoltaics, and in recent years in the field of space-based infrastructures. Yap was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow from 2017 - 2019 at Utrecht University, during which she worked on 'Global Transitions and Innovation Systems' (GLOTRAINS) - a project funded by the European Commission to analyze how developing countries may tackle the simultaneous challenge of sectoral development and environmental sustainability. Yap had extensive fieldwork experience including in Malaysia, Taiwan, China, India, South Africa, and Europe.  


Selected publications