The Institute of Earth Sciences (IST) is active in disciplines aimed to protect the environment and resources of the territory.

It is composed of specialists in the management of surface- and groundwater, in modeling related to natural hazards, the study of regional geology, in environmental databases and geographic information systems (GIS).

The Institute collaborates with national and international universities, public administrations and private companies on the realization of applied research projects related to the territory, financed by national funds from the public and private sector and sometimes from the European Union. The partnership with the cantonal administration regards several issues: the maintenance of the monitoring network of water resources, flood forecasts, the development of web services and the design and management of environment databases.

The main tasks consist in conducting applied research and development, providing services and contributing to teach in basic and post formation. The IST carries out its activities in disciplines, such as geology and geotechnics, hydrology, hydrogeology and geomatics, all intended to manage and protect the environment and its resources. Among the topics covered are therefore the management of surface water and groundwater, monitoring, modeling related to hazards, environmental databases and geographic information systems (GIS).