Speaker Bio

Prof. Heinrich Hofmann

Heinrich Hofmann, studied Material Science and Engineering at the Technical University of Berlin. 1983 he got his PhD in Material Science with a thesis prepared at the Powder Metallurgy Laboratory at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart. Between 1983 and 1985, he was senior scientist at the same MPI working on hard metals and composites. In 1985 he joined the R&D center of Alusuisse-Lonza Services AG. He was involved in the development of new titania stabilized zirconia and silicon nitride powders. In 1993 he joined the EPFL as Professor and Director of the Powder Technology Laboratory. His research area includes the synthesis of nanostructured materials based on nanoparticles and the modification of surfaces with nanoparticles using colloidal methods. The applications of such materials are in the medical and biological field (drug delivery, hyperthermia, cell separation, biosensors), electronics and sensors as well as coating of medical devices, turbine blades and paper. He is member of the Swiss Federal working group “Nanoregulation”, and of the Competence Center of Materials Science of the ETH Board. He is a cofounder of ANTIA Therapeutics, a company developing nanocomposites for cancer treatments.

Title: Bridging research and industrial development in Materials Science: The Swiss Model


Switzerland as most of the European countries has a dual system for public promotion of research and development: The Swiss National Science Foundation and the Agency for Innovation and Technology. The first is oriented on promoting basic research whereas the second organisation is responsible for development of new products in common academic/industrial projects. For research in Material Science and Engineering (MS&E), these two institutions are able to cover only partially the needs of the researchers and of industries because modern materials development is often motivated for enabling the potential of new systems. Also the time horizon is different in MS&E compared to basic or industrial research. Switzerland, especially the ETH domain has established a new system to increase the efficacy of materials research: the Competence Centre of Materials, CCMX. Based on in depth discussions and assessments, the long term needs of industries was evaluated and compared with the existing competences at the ETH Domain. Based on the results, research topics for short and long term projects were determined and in a second phase seeding of strong research networks with academic and industrial partners and additional research chairs at the two ETH’s were initiated. This talk will present the impact of this new approach on the research landscape in Switzerland and tries to present some general conclusions for ME&E research.


Prof. Dr. Heinrich Hofmann, Prof Dr.-Ing Heinrich Hofmann, Powder Technology Laboratory, Institute of Materials, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL
Station 12, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland, Tel +41 21 693 3607, Mobile phone : +41 79 745 7975
e-mail: heinrich.hofmann@epfl.ch