Working at SERI

Working at SERI: Raphaël von Roten

Gain insight into the work of SERI: Raphaël von Roten is Head of the International Space Affairs unit.

Author: Larissa Erdmann
Portrait of a man in a suit and a tie against a green backdrop.
Raphaël von Roten is the Head of the International Space Affairs unit.

What do you do exactly?

I’m Head of the Swiss Delegation to the European Space Agency (ESA) and head of the International Space Affairs Unit at SERI. My job is to promote Switzerland's interests and ensure that our scientific and industrial players enjoy favourable framework conditions. This enables them to work towards pushing back the boundaries of science and technology and strengthen their competitiveness, mainly within ESA, at European level, and also through targeted international cooperation with NASA, for example. I coordinate Switzerland’s positions at ESA, which involves having a thorough overview of what’s going on and maintaining regular contact with all Swiss stakeholders, ESA and our partners in other states.

What do you like about your work in particular?

I have the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of the Swiss and European space sector. It's really interesting because European cooperation in space affairs has been running successfully for more than 50 years, and Switzerland plays a full part in that, mainly through ESA programmes. Every project that launches with Swiss components onboard is a success in itself, like every Ariane and Vega rocket, or even under Swiss leadership, like the ESA Cheops mission. I enjoy the variety of tasks at Swiss, European and international level and am glad to be able to put my training as a physicist and as a lawyer to good use. And it's a pleasure and a privilege to work with brilliant and passionate people.

What challenges do you expect in the near future?

The State Secretary Martina Hirayama will be attending the Space Council in Brussels on 23 May, which we are preparing within ESA. At this meeting, the thirty member states of ESA and the EU will jointly adopt orientations on European space policy. We are also beginning preparations for the next ESA Council at ministerial level, scheduled for the end of 2025. There the member states will take decisions on initiating and continuing programmes in all areas, from Earth observation to exploration, including space science, navigation, space surveillance and the future of launchers, as well as on the research and development that make all that possible. The dynamism of the sector in Switzerland, cooperation with NASA on returning to the Moon and then Mars, and the end of training for Swiss ESA astronaut Marco Sieber are all opportunities that need to be seized.

Raphaël von Roten, SERI Head of Unit International Space Affairs +41 58 467 69 57
Larissa Erdmann