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Oliver Heer to Present at University of Lausanne

Updated: Feb 21

Vendée Globe 2024 – Ocean Sailing and Data Collection, a Race for Change

Swiss professional sailor Oliver Heer will present his project at a conference to the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) on 21 December. While racing in the Vendée Globe 2024 and navigating around Antarctica, he will be collecting forefront environmental data. The project is part of a collaboration with the Swiss Polar Institute, which has brought together a group of experts from three universities - UNIL, UNIBE and ETH Zurich for data analysis. This new data collection could lead to unprecedented information on the Southern Ocean and aims towards a better understanding of climate change, its impact on oceans and on the global scale.

By absorbing and storing vast quantities of CO2, oceans, and particularly the Southern Ocean, play a central role in climate regulation. However, very little data are available for this specific region, due to the logistical and financial challenges arising from such a harsh and remote environment.

In this respect, ocean racing represents an unexpected opportunity for scientists. Following contact between the Swiss skipper Oliver Heer and the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI), an innovative three-year collaboration was born: a project to collect data via a lightweight sensor during the training and racing phases of the Vendée Globe challenge, between 2023 and 2025.

CO2, salinity and temperature

The sensor located on the monohull sailing yacht will regularly collect measurements of parameters such as temperature, salinity and quantities of dissolved CO2. Professor Samuel Jaccard, a geochemist specialising in Earth Sciences at the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, UNIL, will be working on this last parameter. This data will enable to better quantify CO2 exchanges between the ocean and the atmosphere.

Join us for the event in Switzerland to discover more about this inspiring project. The event will also feature a presentation by Prof. Samuel Jaccard.

Free admission

Due to logistical reasons, please register here. [registration link: ]

Sidebar: The Vendée Globe is a solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world sailing race aboard monohull ships. It takes place every four years and is widely regarded as the toughest race among sailors.

Oliver Heer is an athlete and sailor from Zurich. After graduating a degree in international management, he realised his dream of becoming a professional sailor. Over the past decade, he has established himself at the highest level of ocean racing, taking part in some of the most prestigious sailing events around the world. Further Information :


Links :


Biographie du SPI (Français)

Swiss Polar Institute

Au service de la communauté scientifique polaire et de haute altitude en Suisse Le Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) offre un soutien personnalisé aux scientifiques basé·e·s en Suisse dont les recherches sont axées sur les régions polaires et de haute altitude. Des programmes de financement spécifiques pour la recherche scientifique, des événements d‘information, des ateliers et conférences scientifiques, des cours de premiers secours et des formations sur le terrain, des expéditions, des programmes de sensibilisation et de médiation scientifique, ainsi que des collaborations et accords internationaux font partie de la mission et du portefeuille d’activités du Swiss Polar Institute.

Fondation de droit suisse, le Swiss Polar Institute est reconnu comme une institution de recherche d’importance nationale par la Confédération suisse. site internet

X (anc. Twitter) @SwissPolar

programme éducatif


SPI biography (English)

The Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) acts as a focal point for Swiss research in polar and remote high-altitude regions, enhancing opportunities, promoting collaborations and providing key services by:

· Developing initiatives and programmes to strengthen cutting-edge Swiss polar research that addresses global challenges

· Facilitating access to international research infrastructure and strategic polar science initiatives

· Federating the Swiss polar science community with a particular emphasis on the emergence of a new generation of scientists

· Enhancing the visibility and relevance of polar science with the Swiss public

· Supporting activities to better understand the links between the local and polar dimensions of climate change

In all its activities, SPI fosters diversity and interdisciplinary collaboration and pays particular attention to the environmental impact of fieldwork. The SPI is a foundation under Swiss law and is recognised by the Swiss Confederation as a research institution of national importance.


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