In 1912, the Swiss geophysicist and Arctic explorer Alfred de Quervain recognized after his return from Greenland that the Jungfraujoch, with the already existing railway and the Hotel is ideally suited for a high altitude research station. Thanks to him, the Swiss Association of Natural Sciences founded in 1922 a Jungfrau-Commission and the research at high altitude could begin. Researchers from Switzerland and abroad conducted first scientific investigations, between 1922-1927 astronomical observations from the Hotel Berghaus terrace and measurements of the cosmic radiation on the Mönchsjoch. The medical doctor and Nobel laureate Walter Rudolf Hess took over after De Quervain the presidency and gave the project a broad basis. Not only fields like astronomy, radiation research, meteorology, glaciology were considered, but all scientific branches for which experiments at high altitudes were important, such as medicine and physiology.
According to Hess the Research Institute should be operated with the guest principle, and be open not only Swiss, but also foreign scientists. Therefore it was decided that the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch should be an international endeavor. The Foundation members come from all over Europe, among others also the Royal Society in London was represented. On July 4, 1931, the newly constructed Research Institute was opened. It included laboratories, library, kitchen, bedrooms and a dining room and a lounge. The Sphinx Observatory unique in its kind, was built with the help of numerous sponsors on the Sphinx rock and used by meteorologists, astronomers and radiation researchers. The astronomic cupola was built in 1950, funded with UNESCO contributions and 1960 equipped with a telescope. This cupola was replaced in 1966-67 and a new powerful telescope installed. The old cupola and the old telescope were transferred on the Gornergrat, where an astronomic observatory was set up as well on the hotel. This station was supplemented in 1975/76 with a second cupola and integrated in the Foundation "High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat" The Research Station Jungfraujoch has become over time also a station for studies regarding altitude sickness, and one of the most prestigious European Centers for Environmental Research. In this center aerosol and climate research were established, including data collection from the climate archives "Glacier". Furthermore weather observations are carried out in favor of MeteoSwiss.