Dieter Imboden hands over the presidency to Martin Vetterli


A strong personality at the Swiss National Science Foundation steps down: Dieter Imboden, longstanding President of the Research Council and champion of scientific research in Switzerland and beyond, will be succeeded by Martin Vetterli from EPF Lausanne at the end of the year.

In 2005, Dieter Imboden became the first physicist and ETH researcher to be elected as President of the National Research Council of the SNSF. Alongside necessary internal reforms, his focus lay on the promotion of young researchers and on equal opportunities for women and men. In addition, his stated aim was to increase the SNSF's influence both nationally and at European level (see "Dieter Imboden - A retrospective view").

After completing his second four-year term of office, he will hand over the presidency of the National Research Council to the engineering scientist Martin Vetterli from EPF Lausanne at the end of 2012. "I leave feeling slightly wistful as I had the opportunity to meet so many inspiring people here – at the same time, it is most reassuring to know that the presidency will be in safe hands with my successor," said Dieter Imboden.

Martin Vetterli at the helm as of 2013

In March of this year, the Executive Committee of the Foundation Council of the SNSF elected Martin Vetterli as President of the National Research Council for the 2013-2016 period of office. He is a full professor for communication systems and dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at EPF Lausanne.

As a former member of the Swiss Council on Science and Technology and founding Director of a National Centre of Competence in Research, he is well-acquainted with Swiss research and higher education policies and with the SNSF. "The funding of outstanding research by the SNSF is Switzerland's investment in its own future. I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead such an important and respected institution," Martin Vetterli stressed. He has won a number of national and international awards for his research in electrical engineering, computer sciences and applied mathematics (see press release of 2 March 2012).

Dieter Imboden - A retrospective view

Dieter Imboden was President of the National Research Council from 2005 to 2012. As one of his major challenges, he mentions the reforms introduced at the beginning of his tenure, which made the SNSF fit for the future. "In view of the increasingly dynamic national and international research scene, reform has become a permanent task for the SNSF," stresses the environmental physicist. He also felt very strongly about the promotion of young researchers and equal opportunities for women and men in research. His commitment towards young scientists was always in evidence, for instance at the 60th anniversary celebration of the SNSF in January 2012. On this occasion, he was the driving force in discussions between young researchers and decision-makers from politics, higher education institutions and the administrative realm on the question of whether Switzerland is doing enough for its young scientists. As President of the Equal Opportunities Commission, he convincingly promoted equal opportunities at the SNSF and in the public arena.

Founding President of Science Europe

Finally, he unswervingly pursued his stated aim of making the SNSF heard in science policy discussions at European level. In 2011, he became the founding President of Science Europe, the new umbrella organisation of national research organisations in Europe. Looking beyond Europe, he was committed to the idea of a Global Research Council, which became a reality in 2012 after a strong effort on his part. "The pioneering role of the smaller countries is no coincidence here: a country like Switzerland feels the necessity to cooperate internationally earlier and more strongly than a big country," he said.


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Martina Stofer
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