General description

With 18,000 students and 3,000 PhD students, UBERN is the third largest university in Switzerland and was ranked 110 in the 2019 Times World University Rankings. The university’s comprehensive offer includes 8 faculties with more than 150 institutes and 9 inter- and transdisciplinary centres of excellence.

The Institute of Geography (GIUB) is an interdisciplinary institute dealing with human-environmental interactions, with a special focus on environmental pollution. UBERN is very experienced in managing EU Grants and has been involved in projects since the third Framework Programme (FP3). For FP7 and Horizon 2020, this amounts to about 130 and 110 grants, respectively. UBERN has endorsed “The European Charter for Researchers” and “The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers”. European grants are managed by the Euresearch office, which is part of the Grants Office.


Role in the project

Abdallah Alaoui will coordinate WP2, and participate strongly in WP5, WP6 and WP7, they will perform the modelling transport of MNP and other stressors in the soil profile. Being also Bern CSS leader.Nicolas Beriot  will be involved in the Monitoring plan, the Coordination of the stakeholder platform, the Database management and CSS activities.

Moritz Bigalke will lead the analysis of plastics in environmental media by state of the art analytical methods. GIUB will coordinate task 3.3 on method harmonization for MP analysis and method development for NP analysis and its implementation in WP2 and contribute to task 3.4 on the determination of MP and NP loads at the CSS. We will analyse the effects of plastics on soil chemical properties in field experiments (task 5.3) and the transfer of NP into crops (task 5.4). GIUB will coordinate task 6.1 on the degradation and disintegration of MP and NP and contribute to task 6.3 about the transport of MP in soils along preferential flow path and its potential transfer to groundwater at the CSS.


Persons involved

                              02 Alaoui

PD Dr Abdallah Alaoui (M) is senior research scientist, with >30-year experience in soil sciences with a focus on the dual-permeability modelling of flow and transport in unsaturated soil; importance of soils for agriculture, forestry and ecosystem functions; modelling effects of land use and climate change on soil and water resources across scales. He coordinates several national projects supported by the Federal Office for Environment, He is currently coordinating several activities within three H2020 projects: iSQAPER, SoilCare, and SPRINT (H-index 12, cited 662 times).

01 Nicolas MSc Nicolas Beriot is  a research assistant at the University of Bern  and PhD candidate at Soil Physics and Land Management group. He studied the synergetic effects of plastic debris and pesticides residues on soil fertility in farms. His work ranges from adapting methods for microplastic extraction to analyzing soil microbiome. He was coordinating expert for the EIP-Agri focus group about plastic footprint in agriculture.
02 Natashavb

Dr. Natacha Van Groeningen is a Postdoctoral scientist in the Soil Science group at the University of Bern. She is an environmental chemist with expertise in pollutants dynamic in natural systems, risk assessment and ecotoxicology and holds a Ph.D. in environmental science from ETH Zurich. As part of the Biocide and Plant Protection Products group of the Federal Office for the Environment, she contributed to the environmental risk assessment for biocidal products within REACH. With her research and commitment, she aspire to contribute to the protection of the environment, a sustainable future and promote a socially just environment.

  Christine Bigler is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Bern. Christine is a geographer and holds a PhD in Sustainable Development. She has been working since 2014 in the field of gender and sustainability. From 2014 to 2016 she was based in Rwanda at the Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and was researching agricultural transformation from a gender perspective. Furthermore, she leads and coordinates different mandates for development cooperation organisations on gender-specific issues. In particular, she supports the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).