First spin-off at the SLF

The RAMMS software for modeling avalanches, debris flows and rockfalls is being incorporated into a specially founded AG.
SLF Director Jürg Schweizer (right) and the new CEO of RAMMS AG Marc Christen sign the contracts for the new spin-off. (Photo: Jochen Bettzieche / SLF)

One signature, one more signature, and then SLF Director Jürg Schweizer and Marc Christen had signed the contracts. On July 1, 2024, RAMMS, the software developed at the SLF for modeling natural hazards, is transferred to the newly founded RAMMS AG. It is the first spin-off of the SLF. "This is the logical continuation of a success story, because RAMMS is now so mature that its operational business should no longer be based at a research institute," says Schweizer, pleased about this transfer of knowledge and technology. Christen, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of RAMMS AG, adds: "The founding of RAMMS AG is the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream. RAMMS is a matter close to my heart."

Christen is the main developer of the software, which he has designed and developed from scratch together with Perry Bartelt and other SLF employees since its beginnings in 2006. RAMMS stands for Rapid Mass Movement Simulation. the first module for avalanches was completed in 2010, followed by one for debris flows in 2011 and one for rockfall in 2015. Numerous findings from research at the SLF were incorporated into the product. This also includes the results from the unique test sites in the Vallée de la Sionne, the Illgraben and the rockfall experiments in Chant Sura. After almost 27 years, Christen is now leaving the institute to take off with his company in Davos Wiesen: "This is the perfect new challenge for me."

The rights to the software remain with WSL. The SLF can continue to use the software free of charge and conduct research with it. RAMMS AG generates income by issuing licenses to engineering firms in the field of natural hazard management worldwide and trains users in the correct use of the software. Universities also use RAMMS in their teaching. SLF Director Schweizer wishes the spin-off and its boss: "A good start to independence as a company!"