Our why and how

Team and Organization

The Wyss Academy team is more than a wide range of specialists. It is built by strong person­alities driven by a common mission: to contribute profes­sionally and with personal commit­ment to viable long-term improvements.



Prof. Dr. Christian Leumann

President of the Board and Rector of the University of Bern


André Nietlisbach

Vice-President of the Board and Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and the Environment of the Canton of Bern


Dr. h.c. Hansjörg Wyss

Board member, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Wyss Foundation


Johann Schneider-Ammann

Board member, Entrepreneur and Politician, Former Federal Councillor


Dr. Molly McUsic

Board member and President of the Wyss Foundation


Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli

Board member and Director, Professor of Sustainable Development



Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli


Peter Messerli is a geographer and land system scientist working on sustainable development of humanenvironment systems in a globalized world facing existential environmental challenges. He is a professor of sustainable development at the University of Bern, co-chairman of Future Earth’s Global Land Programme and co-publisher of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019. As director of the Wyss Academy for Nature, he is committed to combining science, politics and practice to develop tangible innovations for nature and people.


Tatjana von Steiger

Head of Global Policy Outreach

Working at the interface between norms and their implementation in global sustainability policies: Tatjana von Steiger. As an experienced development diplomat, she has always been able to integrate very different points of view into solution-finding processes, including in her role as the Vice Head of Global Collaboration at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA), and when representing Switzerland in the negotiations surrounding the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Matthias Schmid-Huberty

Chief Operating Officer

A business economist and expert consultant in the fields of management, governance and anti-corruption in the non-profit sector, Matthias Schmid-Huberty has previously spent many years working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Asia and Africa. As the former administrative director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), he worked at the interface between applied research and human wellbeing. In his role at the Wyss Academy, he combines effectiveness and efficiency with systemic approaches and his knowledge of international business law.


Prof. Dr. Edouard Davin

Professor of Climate Scenarios for Sustainable Development

Edouard Davin studies the role of the terrestrial biosphere in the climate system. His work has shown, among other things, that agriculture and forest management can play a very important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Edouard Davin has led the development of a coupled biosphere-atmosphere regional climate model that has subsequently been used in a variety of scientific studies to better understand and predict the interactions between climate, land use, and the carbon cycle. His associate professorship at the Wyss Academy and the University of Bern is affiliated with the Climate and Environmental Physics division at the Physics Institute, and the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research.


Dr. Olivier Jacquat

Head of Bern Hub

Since gaining his doctorate in environmental science, Olivier Jacquat has enjoyed working at the interface between applied research, administration and practice. He has a wealth of experience in the implementation of innovations in the environmental sector. Optimistic, creative, future-minded, bilingual, persistent, humorous, open, someone who thinks outside the box and has a can-do attitude, Olivier Jacquat enjoys taking participative, innovative and results-oriented approaches in his role as the Head of the Bern Hub. He works hand-in-hand with our planet, the Wyss Academy, and its communities in the Canton of Bern and beyond.


Dr. Eva Ludi

Co-Head of Regional Hubs

Her objectives for the Wyss Academy? Eva Ludi, a Geographer by training, combines her deep knowledge, insights and extensive networks to achieve just relationships between people and nature. She draws on her experiences working for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London, UK. While there, she worked, among others, on climate change, water (in)security, and resilient livelihoods. Eva Ludi has extensive experience in policy and practice-relevant research. Working closely with decision makers in both the public and private sectors from academia, civil society, government and businesses, she strives to find solutions to complex systemic problems.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinimann

Co-Head of Regional Hubs

As an internationally renowned land system scientist, Andreas Heinimann moves with ease between the academic and the policy and development practice world. He is driven not by science and its narrow evaluation schemes, but by the concrete transformative power and actions of knowledge for more just and sustainable development. As a former director of a sustainability center of the University of Bern, he has lived and worked for many years in countries of the Global South and deeply understands the importance of highly contextualized knowledge diplomacy approaches towards effective and concrete societal impact of knowledge.

Advisory Comittee

Valérie Courtois

Vice-chair of the Advisory Committee. Specializes in indigenous issues, forest ecology and ecosystem-based management and planning

Brian O’Donnell

Leading land and wildlife conservationist

Dr. Adrian Forsyth

Founder and former Executive Director of the Andes Amazon Fund

Dr. Maja Göpel

Political economist and advocate of sustainable transformation

Dr. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey

Environmental scientist and landscape planner

Dr. Sofia Heinonen

Vice-chair of the Advisory Committee. Activist for nature and Executive Director of Rewilding Argentina

Dr. Nathalie de Noblet

Research Director at CEA (France) and Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land

Prof. Dr. Roland Siegwart

Chair of the Advisory Committee. Professor of Autonomous Systems at ETH Zurich and Founding Co-Director of Wyss Zurich

Prof. Dr. Youba Sokona

Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Specializes in issues of energy, the environment and sustainable development

Organizational chart


Partners and Donors in 2021


Partners and Friends