a few words of introduction as our activities gain momentum again, with
the COMDI2018 Conference, the Review-and-retreat, the Distinguished
Lectures, and the new series of Junior Seminars, all detailed below.
Two important things are also happening - first, I want to very warmly
welcome Prof Berend Smit as our new Deputy Director, and Prof William
Curtin as a new member of an expanding Executive Committee,
complementing Prof Alfredo Pasquarello and Prof Thomas Schulthess.
Neither Berend nor Bill require an introduction for their scientific
accomplishments, so let me just add that they also bring very welcome
and precious vision, expertise, management skills and industrial liaisons
to the project. Berend was the director of CECAM before moving to
Berkeley, and there he coordinated the Energy Frontier Research Center
of the US Department of Energy on gas separation and clean energy; once
back at EPFL, he directed the Energy Center. At Brown University, Bill
was the Director of the Center for Advanced Materials Research, and the
Director of the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center,
before joining EPFL as the head of Mechanical Engineering.
Berend and Bill have extensive experience in
interacting with industry, with early stints at Shell and BP,
respectively, and later on with numerous collaborations - at Brown
Bill was the founding Director of the General Motors/Brown Collaborative
Research Laboratory on Computational Materials Science, and in MARVEL he
will have a special focus on Tech Transfer activities.
Many thanks to them, and to all in the executive, for the engagement in
all aspects of the MARVEL operations - I'm very grateful for the
intellectual support and vision, in addition to the sharing of
responsibilities, and to Alfredo and Thomas for having carried the
heavy weight of getting all of this started, in Phase I, and for
their sustained commitment in Phase II.
Second, I wanted to let you know that Dr Nathalie Jongen, our
Program Manager, will leave us at the end of September. This was
written in the stars - when Nathalie joined us, she brought
all her experience in managing CCMX and the materials and industrial
landscape in Switzerland, but also told us that she wanted more and
more to dedicate herself to her own, already established,
professional activity. Well, now is the time for her to make the
full jump, and we wish her all the very best for the future work,
and thank her for all the care and passion put in MARVEL in the last
years - ad astra!