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Anna Fontcuberta i Morral appointed as EPFL president

Congratulations to Prof. Anna Fontcuberta i Morral for her appointment as EPFL president, starting on January 1, 2025. She has been at EPFL since 2008, when she began as Assistant Professor Tenure Track and became Full Professor in 2019.

© 2024 EPFL / Nicolas Righetti – Lundi13

Anna Fontcuberta i Morral is the first woman to head one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. She has already made an impact as a leader for many years as an award winning teacher, as the head of the WISH Foundation, and as a board member on the SNSF. She has served as an Associate Vice-President for Centers and Platforms at EPFL for the past 4 years. Her plans for shaping the EPFL during her term will be revealed at a later point. 

Read more on the EPFL website.

Karen Scrivener selected by UN Secretary-General to be Representative in 10-Member Group for Sustainable Development Goals

Congratulations to Prof. Karen Scrivener for being selected by the United Nations Secretary-General for the Group of Ten High-level Representatives of Civil Society, Private Sector and Scientific Community to Promote Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (10-Member Group).

As an internationally recognized engineering expert in developing environmentally friendly building materials from decades of research into cement and concrete, she now works closely together with the UN Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation while contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more on the EPFL website.

Karen Scrivener

Lecture series at ETHZ in the spring semester 2024

In the coming spring semester, the ETH Zurich is hosting a series of Inaugural, Farewell and Introductory Lectures that are open to the public. Some of our members are among the professors giving a lecture.

Spanning all ETH departments, the lectures will take place from February 21, 2024 to May 30, 2024, mostly in the same hall.

Explore the list of lectures and topics here.

A live stream of the events will take place here.

The introductory and the farewell lectures will be live streamed here.

New professors appointed at ETHZ and EPFL

On December 7, the ETH Board announced the appointment 14 new professors at the ETHZ and the EPFL.

Of these 14 professors, 4 of them are women; 3 at the ETHZ and 1 at the EPFL, who coincidentally is the only professor that the EPFL appointed this term.

Their fields of research are in the Departments of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences; Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering; Architecture; and the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and Life Sciences.

Read about the appointed professors on ETH Board.

ETH Diversity Award

As an official office of the ETHZ, the ETH Diversity is dedicated to making the experience of studying, researching and working at the ETH more diverse and inclusive. Every year they celebrate 3 individual people and 3 groups or organizations for their efforts to promote equal opportunities for all at the ETH.

This year they presented the awards on November 29, 2023. The winners of the award in the organization category have organized multiple events to discuss issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community and provided a networking opportunity for queer people. The winner of the award in the individual category has advocated for women and minorities, by working in multiple initiatives and engaging with groups and committees.

We salute the winners and nominated parties of the award and the ETH Diversity team and hope they continue the good work.

Read more about the award and this year’s recipients on ETH Diversity.

SNSF grants for WPF members

The Swiss National Science Foundation has awarded 6 of our members a grant for their projects in the coming years. We congratulate Professors Manuela Brunner, He Niao, Anna Soter, Tatjana Kleele, Xu Wenchao and Ana Klimovic on their grants.

Sexism in Academia

“Sexism in academia is bad for science and a waste of public funding“: an article which can receive no better introduction than its own title. This one in the Nature Reviews Materials online journal and another similar article in The Conversation are two articles co-authored by two of our members, Ursula Keller and Janet Hering. In collaboration with other women scientists they highlight how great of an obstacle sexism is to science and its consequences in academics and real life: (potentially life-saving) progress is stifled and resources in the shape of public funding and valuable contributors to science are lost. Ursula Keller also contributed her own article on the subject on ellexx.

Read the full articles here:

“Sexism in academia is bad for science and a waste of public funding“ Nature Reviews Materials

„How your money is helping subsidize sexism in academia – and what you can do about it“ The Conversation

„Sexismus in der Wissenschaft: Wie Fortschritt gebremst und Steuergelder verschwendet werden“ ellexx

Lesya Shchutska wins Latsis Prize 2023

Congratulations to Prof. Lesya Shchutska for winning the Swiss Science Latsis Prize 2023. Shchutska is the second member of the WPF to receive the prize in a row, following Prof. Carmela Troncoso. The prize is awarded to four young scientists a year for their exceptional contributions to science at a Swiss university.

Read more on EPFL.

Rizlan Bernier-Latmani and Tamar Kohn become members of the Academia Europaea 2023

Congratulations to Prof. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani and Prof. Tamar Kohn for being elected as members of the Academia Europaea class of 2023. The Academia Europaea is a non-governmental association that promotes scientific research and education. New members are nominated by existing members and invited by the Council of Academia after group evaluation.

Rizlan Bernier-Latmani on Academia Europaea

Tamar Kohn on Academia Europaea

Nicola Spaldin receives the Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award

Congratulations to the laureate of the 2023 Lise Meitner Award: Prof. Nicola Spaldin, who has been awarded for “Fundamental theoretical contributions and discoveries in the field of multiferroics”.

Nicola Spaldin
Nicola Spaldin. (Photograph: Daniel Rihs / 13 Photo / ETH Zürich)

The Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award is awarded by the Gothenburg Physics Centre to a scientist who has made a breakthrough discovery in physics.

“Nicola Spaldin’s ground-​breaking theoretical contributions to fundamental physical understanding and practical materials design, combined with her vision and scientific leadership, are responsible for establishing one of the most important classes of emerging materials today – multiferroics – and positioning them to enable technological transformation.

Multiferroics – materials that are simultaneously magnetic and ferroelectric – are poised to make major societal contributions through novel device paradigms, and at the same time provide a rich forum for basic scientific discoveries in fields as diverse as condensed matter and high-​energy physics, nanoelectronics and astroparticle physics, all thanks to Spaldin’s pioneering developments.”

For more details, visit Chalmers website.

SNSF Consolidator Grants 2022 for Rachel Grange and Julia Schmale

Congratulations to Prof. Rachel Grange and Prof. Julia Schmale for receiving the SNSF Consolidator, where women researchers lead 14 of the 30 awarded projects.

Due to Switzerland’s current status as a non-associated third country in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, the SNSF launched the transitional measure “SNSF Consolidator Grants 2022” on behalf of the Swiss government. The measure is aimed at researchers who want to carry out their research work in Switzerland and to consolidate their scientific independence.

After a two-stage evaluation process, the SNSF decided to fund 30 projects out of the 182 applications it received for SNSF Consolidator Grants 2022. The approved projects will be allocated a budget of approximately 54 million francs for an average period of 5 years.

Read more here, on SNSF and ETH.

“Swiss Nobel Prize” for Ursula Keller

The Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist goes to Prof. Ursula Keller for her groundbreaking work in short-time laser physics and quantum mechanics.

Prof. Ursula Keller has received the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist for her pioneering work in ultrafast lasers. (Image: Heidi Hostettler)

The professor of experimental physics at the Institute for Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich has repeatedly pushed the boundaries of ultrafast laser physics with both theoretical models and experimental results.

Read more on the Marcel Benoist Website.