On 4 July, the Federal Council appointed Martina Hirayama as the new State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation at the request of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER. On 1 January 2019 she will succeed Mauro Dell’Ambrogio, who reaches official retirement age in November 2018.
Since 2011, Martina Hirayama has been dean of the ZHAW School of Engineering, with 13 institutes and centres, nine degree programmes and 620 staff, and is a member of the ZHAW’s Executive Board. Since 2014 she has also been Head of International Affairs. She has also been vice president of the board of Innosuisse, Switzerland’s Innovation Promotion Agency (up to the end of 2017 the Commission for Technology and Innovation) since 2011 and a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Foundation Council since 2016.
Following her doctorate in chemistry Martina Hirayama was group leader at the Institute of Polymers at the ETH Zurich, from 1995. During this time, Ms Hirayama co-founded a start-up in new coating technologies, and was CEO of the company until 2008. In 2003 she began lecturing in industrial chemistry at Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur ZHW, where she developed and headed the field of polymer materials and obtained her professorship. From 2007 to 2010 she developed the Institute of Materials and Process Engineering. Ms Hirayama is a citizen of both Switzerland and Germany.
With such wide-ranging experience in research, teaching, entrepreneurship, management and administration, Ms Hirayama is very well equipped to head the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI. She has impressive expertise at the interface between science and business. The Federal Council has chosen a person with huge initiative and creativity, with a broad network in the field of education, research and innovation as well as politics, public administration and the private sector.