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Support and Special Projects

The Support and Special Projects Section plays an important role in supporting the Swiss Seismological Service's workforce of more than 60 staff, who cover a wide range of duties and services. The section is led by Dr Florian Haslinger, who is also Deputy Director of the Swiss Seismological Service (SED).

Ensuring that the SED's work is supported and managed by a dedicated Administration is crucial for the smooth, successful operation of the Swiss Seismological Service. The administrative team takes care of HR and financial matters and liaises with the corresponding ETH Zurich bodies on behalf of the SED and helps staff effect purchases and process expenses claims. Furthermore, it is responsible for administering the SED's third-party-funded research projects. The SED Secretariat is also the Service's first point of contact for queries received by telephone, and it provides support for the planning and practical organisation of seminars, workshops and other events, often working alongside the Communication Department. This group is also in charge of logistics and procurement, ranging from office equipment like telephones to vehicles and even handling shipments, imports and exports.

The IT Support Group, headed by Philipp Kästli, is responsible for equipping SED employees' workstations and ensuring IT security. It also provides support for scientific software development and maintains the SED's general IT infrastructure (servers/clusters, databases, data acquisition and processing systems and web sites). The IT Support Group is the first port of call for SED employees with a broad range of IT-related questions and liaises with the IT services of the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). In addition, Philipp Kästli and his team are actively involved in a number of national and international projects and initiatives, devising and developing IT strategies, data models and service structures.

The main task of the SED Electronics Lab (ELAB), headed by Lukas Heiniger, is to attend to the SED's seismic stations, from the planning to the implementation stage and including maintenance and repairs. His team looks after the 100 or so sites belonging to the permanent national network of seismic sensors, with its two components: the Swiss Digital Seismic Network (SDSNet) comprising highly sensitive broadband stations und the Swiss Strong Motion Network (SSMNet) consisting of accelerograph station arrays). It also oversees the pool of mobile measuring stations used by researchers from the SED and the General Seismology Group as well as other research groups (e.g. the ETH Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) and the University of Lausanne) to take temporary measurements both at home and abroad. Additional technical duties discharged by ELAB staff include providing technical support for SED exhibitions or events and overseeing experiments and equipment used for teaching or research purposes.

The Communication Department, headed by Michèle Marti, is responsible for the SED's public relations work. This includes designing websites, producing their content, drawing up and producing information material, helping to disseminate information in the event of an incident, designing and staging exhibitions and events and liaising with the media. The department's staff also field questions asked by the public. In addition, Michèle Marti represents the SED on federal bodies involved in communicating natural hazards, like the Natural Hazards Portal Steering Group and the Group of Communication Experts linked to the Steering Committee Intervention in Natural Hazards (LAINAT). The Communication Department is also responsible for the public relations work of a number of national and international research projects in which the SED is involved.