The “FOREL” platform honors François-Alphonse Forel, the pioneer of lake studies and founding father of limnology. This science has been developing since the 20th century. It involves the study and comparison of lakes. In addition to this thematic link, this tribute is also a geographical one, as François-Alphonse Forel is originally from Switzerland (Romandy), where he spent most of his life.
Publication « François Alphonse Forel and the oceanography of lakes »

The “FOREL” is devoted to coastal oceanographic research in the polar and sub-polar regions. Indeed, the size of this motorized sailing vessel enables access to areas close to the coast, inaccessible to larger research vessels. This allows a complementary approach.

As training the next generation is a key objective of the Forel Heritage Association, the “FOREL” platform also aims to train young sailors and scientists in the challenges of the polar and sub-polar regions.

In December 2015, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) established the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) as an interdisciplinary center dedicated to research on the poles and other extreme environments. The SPI, now a foundation, federates various laboratories emanating from Swiss universities and the two Federal Institutes of Technology. Its ambition is to strengthen its contribution to polar research. The SPI is financially supported by the Swiss Confederation and Swiss-based philanthropists.

The Swiss Polar Foundation was created in March 2018 to support Swiss polar research by funding research programs or supporting polar infrastructures. Its mission is to promote the advancement of education, science, research, understanding and knowledge of extreme environments such as those encountered in the polar regions, with a focus on projects and activities emanating from the Swiss scientific community. The SPF also supports international research projects.

In 2022, the Swiss Polar Foundation acquired Paratii-2, a 28-meters motorized sailing vessel with an aluminum hull. Subsequently, in 2024, the foundation transferred ownership of the ship to the Forel Heritage Association.This vessel has been modernized and refitted in Lorient (France) as an oceanographic platform including a CTD, a rosette and a Ferrybox for physico-chemical measurements and water sampling. The platform is equipped with a winch and cable, allowing various samples to be collected at depths of up to 1,000 meters. Lab benches, fume hoods, Milli-Q water production, freezers, chemical cabinets, etc. have been installed to accommodate additional equipments that scientists will be able to bring on board as part of their projects. In terms of future developments, there are plans to equip the winch with an electro-mounted cable.