Reappointment of the Directors of PSI and WSL
On application of the ETH Board, the Federal Council reappointed the Director of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, Joël Mesot, and the Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Konrad Steffen, for another four years on 20 January 2016. Joël Mesot’s third term of office will start on 1 August 2016, Konrad Steffen’s second term of office on 1 July 2016.
Under Joël Mesot’s leadership, the Paul Scherrer Institute consolidated its role as Switzerland’s leading research centre for natural and engineering sciences. In particular, Joël Mesot multiplied the joint professorships with the two Federal Institutes of Technology and other Swiss universities, thus intensifying the linkage between top-level research and excellent teaching. Under his aegis, the construction of the X-ray free-electron laser SwissFEL was realised, which will continue to secure a top position in international research for Switzerland in the coming years.
Joël Mesot studied physics and obtained his doctor’s degree from ETH Zurich in 1992. After stays in the USA and France, he joined PSI in 1999. In 2007, the Federal Council appointed him Director of PSI; since 2008, he has also been a full professor at EPFL and ETH Zurich. He is a member of the Senate of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, a member of the Board of the European Association of National Research Facilities (ERF) and a member of various non-European expert bodies. He is also Second Vice-President of the Marcel Benoist Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Technopark Aargau Foundation and of the Swiss Innovation Park, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of PARK innovAARE AG. Furthermore, Joël Mesot is a member of the ETH Board, where he represents the four research institutes of the ETH Domain.
Under Konrad Steffen’s leadership, WSL consolidated its worldwide top position in various fields of terrestrial environment research. New joint professorships in landscape ecology and glaciology reinforce the institute’s ties with ETH Zurich. To explore the state and the development of landscape, forests, biodiversity, natural hazards, as well as snow and ice, and to solve relevant problems of society, Konrad Steffen promotes the evaluation of long-term measurements, in particular. Konrad Steffen studied natural sciences and obtained his doctor’s degree from ETH Zurich in 1984. In 1990, he was appointed Professor of Climatology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA, where he later also headed the research institute CIRES. In 2011, the Federal Council appointed him Director of WSL, and since 2012 he has also been Professor of Climate and Cryosphere at ETH Zurich and EPFL. Konrad Steffen is a member of renowned international bodies and makes important contributions to science. Thus he was an author of the Cryosphere Chapter of the IPCC’s Fifth World Climate Report.
Text: Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI develops, builds and operates large, complex research facilities and makes them available to the national and international research community. The institute's own key research priorities are in the fields of matter and materials, energy and environment and human health. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether PSI employs 1900 people, thus being the largest research institute in Switzerland. The annual budget amounts to approximately CHF 380 million.
(Last updated in April 2015)