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University of Basel

Appointment and promotion of four female professors

The University of Basel has appointed two women – Dr. Andrea Hofmann and Dr. Sabine Rumpf – as assistant professors with tenure track. Dr. Stefanie Knopp has been awarded a temporary assistant professorship under the SNSF “PRIMA” funding program. Professor Dominique Brancher is being promoted to full professor.

24 August 2021

Prof. Dr. Andrea Hofmann
Prof. Dr. Andrea Hofmann

The university has appointed Andrea Hofmann as assistant professor (with tenure track). She will take up the professorship in experimental quantum computing with semiconductors in the Department of Physics with effect from 1 October 2021. Her appointment is part of the National Center of Competence in Research SPIN project, which has led to the creation of two new assistant professorships. The second professorship – in quantum computing and quantum condensed matter theory – will be filled at a later date.

Hofmann earned her doctorate in 2017 with her work “Thermodynamics and spin-orbit interaction at the level of single electrons,” for which she was awarded the ETH medal for an outstanding doctoral dissertation. She had previously completed a bachelor’s and master’s in physics at ETH Zurich. After earning her doctorate, Hofmann was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to carry out postdoctoral research at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. The 32-year-old has a high-caliber research record. Her focus is on semiconductor nanostructures for the study of physics at the level of single electrons and quantum dot spin qubits. She is also researching hybrid superconductor-semiconductor devices to study Andreev spin qubits and topological superconductivity.

Ecology: climate change to the fore

Prof. Dr. Sabine Rumpf
Prof. Dr. Sabine Rumpf

With effect from 1 February 2022, the University of Basel is also appointing Sabine Rumpf as assistant professor (with tenure track) of ecology. Her research focuses on vegetation ecology in relation to environmental change, biodiversity, and conservation biology in Arctic and alpine habitats.

For her work, she uses historical data, which she compares with recent field surveys on spatial gradients, as well as statistical modeling and field experiments. In the future, she hopes to clarify which factors influence plant distributions and distribution changes, and the interactions between them. This will later enable more accurate predictions about the effects of global change on plant life.

Having completed a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in ecology at the University of Vienna, Rumpf earned a doctorate at the same university in 2018 with her work “Climate-driven range dynamics and current disequilibrium in Alpine vegetation.” The 35-year-old has been working as a postdoc at the University of Lausanne since 2019 and was previously employed as a postdoc at the University of Otago (New Zealand).

Assistant professorship for “PRIMA” fellow

The President’s Board has appointed Stefanie Knopp as assistant professor (without tenure track) in the Faculty of Science. The appointment takes retroactive effect from 1 August 2021. She has been a “PRIMA” fellow at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) since September 2019 and is researching the epidemiology and control of parasitic worm infections. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) funding instrument “PRIMA” supports the career development of women who show high potential for obtaining a professorship.

Promotion of Professor Dominique Brancher

Professor Dominique Brancher has been promoted to full professor by the University Council. Brancher became an assistant professor of French literature in 2009 and was appointed associate professor at the University of Basel in 2015. Since then, she has published two monographs and a series of other articles. The promotion takes retroactive effect from 1 August 2021.

In 2018, she was offered a full professorship at Yale University but turned it down. She has since received regular invitations to visit New Haven as a guest professor. She has also been appointed “Chaire Montaigne” at Bordeaux Montaigne University. Brancher does not take a purely “philological” approach to literary study. Her research focus is on the relationship between literature and life sciences. She specializes in culturally significant resonances between the development of ideas in medicine and science – from biology to the history of timekeeping devices – and literature.

Approval of two professorships

The University Council has approved two new professorships – in cybersecurity and physical chemistry. The professorship in cybersecurity is the result of a reclassification of the existing professorship in applied computer science. The current incumbent, Professor Thomas Vetter, is set to take early retirement at the end of the fall semester 2021.

Following the departure of Professor Anatole von Lilienfeld, there is a pressing need to appoint a successor to the professorship in physical chemistry. The professorship represents a core competence of the Department of Chemistry.

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