International Space Science Institute (ISSI)Hallerstrasse 6
3012 Bern

Phone +41 31 684 48 96

Our scientific opportunities support the community through six distinct modes of operation. Links to proposal templates or on-line submission forms are provided for each individual tool.

Find explanations, forms of applications and an overview of current and past activities.


The International Space Science Institute (ISSI) is a nonprofit organisation set up in Bern, Switzerland, in 1995. ISSI is a foundation under Swiss law with an initial endowment by the leading Swiss space company Contraves Space AG, later Oerlikon Space AG and now a part of RUAG. The European Space Agency (ESA), the Swiss Confederation, and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) provide the financial resources for ISSI’s operation. The University of Bern contributes through a grant to a Director and in-kind facilities.

Short Movie about the Beginning of ISSI: The House Johannes Geiss Built

In the late 1980’s the idea of the International Space Science Institute was strongly supported by ESA in the wake of the successful cooperation between the four main world agencies of the USA (NASA), Japan (ISAS), Russia (IKI), and Europe (ESA) in the exploration of Halley’s Comet and thereafter in the study of solar terrestrial physics. Space research had by then reached a stage where coordinated efforts using many experiments on many spacecraft, as well as ground-based observations and theoretical modelling, are generally required for advancing science and our understanding of the Universe around us. The scientific aims of major modern space-research projects generally require a broad range of know-how and experience in science and engineering as well as sophisticated spacecraft and instrumentation, which is not readily available to a single space agency and its customers. Space research has thus progressed, through its many successes, to a point where international and even global cooperation and interdisciplinarity – a keyword of ISSI – has become mandatory. Under the initiative of Swiss scientists and Professor Johannes Geiss, the first ISSI Executive Director, the idea of the International Space Science Institute was born.

Space Agencies, Swiss political authorities, the Space Science community, industry and the Association Pro ISSI have actively promoted the creation of the International Space Science Institute, which was finally established 1995 in Bern, Switzerland.

ISSI provides the necessary cross-fertilisation between the various disciplines within the space field, as well as providing the means to draw as necessary on the methods and arguments of the appropriate branches of physics, astronomy, chemistry and Earth sciences. Such access currently hardly affordable to an individual experimenter’s group is often the key to the interpretation of data in the wider scientific context, reaching well beyond the points of view of the individual disciplines.

Though initially predominantly focused on Sun-Earth relations, space plasma physics and planetary research, ISSI, has also addressed Earth Science subjects. In 2007, ISSI entered into a contractual relation with the Earth Observation Programmes Directorate of ESA, and set up a programme funded by ESRIN (ESA center for Earth Observation) and managed within ISSI. Earth Sciences is now a constant part of the programme of the International Space Science Institute.

In 2013, ISSI established jointly with the National Space Science Centre of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSSC/CAS) the International Space Science Institute Beijing (ISSI-Beijing) in China. ISSI-BJ is a close partner of ISSI and is sharing the same Science Committee. ISSI releases together with ISSI-BJ annually a joint Call for Proposals for International Teams in Space and Earth Sciences.

A Spiral Amongst Thousands
Credits ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, A. Martel