Matthias Egger is the new president of the National Research Council of the SNSF

Matthias Egger, internationally renowned epidemiologist and public health expert, will be the new president of the National Research Council of the SNSF as of 2017.

On 23 September 2016 he was elected as president of the Research Council by the Executive Committee of the Foundation Council of the SNSF for the 2017-2020 term of office. He will succeed Martin Vetterli, who will become president of EPF Lausanne next year. Matthias Egger (59) has been director of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern for the last fourteen years.

Seasoned expert in science policy

Matthias Egger is a seasoned expert in higher education and research policy. His interdisciplinary and international research career and longstanding interest in the political aspects of scientific research "prepare him well for the challenges that lie ahead for the SNSF," says Gabriele Gendotti, president of the Foundation Council of the SNSF.

Since 2002, Matthias Egger has been professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Bern. For most of his academic career, from 1985 to 2002, he worked as a researcher and teacher at universities in the UK (London and Bristol). Matthias Egger is familiar with the SNSF as a former recipient of SNSF funding at ISPM between 1994 and 1997 and a member of the National Research Council since 2010.

Renowned researcher

Matthias Egger is also a member of several faculties and international scientific committees and has received numerous scientific honours in Switzerland and abroad. His publications are highly regarded and he is one of the world's most cited researchers in epidemiology.

In Switzerland, Matthias Egger was one of the pioneering researchers who combined epidemiology and public health to fight the HIV epidemic; his predictive models on the development of AIDS are used as a reference in many industrialised and developing countries. His work also covers Ebola and tuberculosis.

Importance of basic research

"I am very happy to increase my support for the SNSF in pursuing its important mission," says Egger. "More than ever before, we have to highlight the importance - short and long term - of basic research in Switzerland. It plays a key role in the education system, contributing to our innovation potential, to the strength of our economy and to the wellbeing of everyone living in Switzerland," he adds. He will keep a foot in research but step down as director of ISPM.

The National Research Council has about a hundred members, most of whom work as researchers at higher education institutions in Switzerland. They evaluate thousands of funding applications that are submitted to the SNSF each year and make the funding decisions. The Research Council is subdivided into four divisions: (1) Humanities and Social Sciences, (2) Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences, (3) Biology and Medicine as well as (4) Programmes.

Established as an independent foundation under private law, the SNSF funds basic research in all academic disciplines on behalf of the Swiss government. It supports more than 3,200 projects and 14,800 researchers each year, making it Switzerland’s leading research funding organisation.

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