SNSF: change of management in Mathematics, Natural & Engineering Sciences division


A change of management has taken place in the Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division of the SNSF as of October 2014: Tristan Maillard succeeded Paul Burkhard, who worked at the SNSF for over three decades.


Paul Burkhard und Tristan Maillard (on the right) © SNSF

Paul Burkhard leaves the SNSF after 33 years. After obtaining his PhD in physics at the University of Bern and a short stint as a postdoc, he joined the SNSF as a scientific officer in 1981. In 2001, he was appointed head of the Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division.

This period in the SNSF's history was marked by various challenges, such as the implementation of internal reform projects, positioning the SNSF vis-à-vis the European flagship projects and formulating a funding policy for research infrastructures. Paul Burkhard played a key role in shaping the FLARE (Funding LArge international REsearch projects) funding scheme aimed at supporting big science projects in astrophysics, particle physics and astroparticle physics. Furthermore, he and his team represented the interests of the SNSF during the conduct of the nano-tera programme.

With the launch of the pilot programme precoR (pre-competitive Research) of the Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division, Paul Burkhard also strongly influenced the SNSF's initiative to support pre-competitive research. This success and the experience gained through the nano-tera programme today provide the starting point for the planned collaboration between the SNSF and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) during the coming funding period 2017-2020.

Physicist succeeds physicist

Tristan Maillard succeeded Paul Burkhard on 1 October 2014. The new head of the Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division did his PhD in theoretical physics at the ETH Zurich and CERN. After winning a Marie-Curie fellowship, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

Tristan Maillard started working for the SNSF in 2010. Until recently, he has been head of the unit responsible for interdisciplinary research and the Sinergia and Agora programmes within the "Interdivisional Coordination and Cooperative Research" division. Since February 2014, he has also coordinated the operational implementation of the SNSF's Temporary Backup Schemes in connection with Switzerland's temporary exclusion from the funding schemes of the European Research Council (ERC).

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