Birgit Ottmer, Head of Communications at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, will become a member of the WSL Directorate effective January 2022. The appointment was made at the last meeting of the ETH Board at the request of WSL Director Beate Jessel.
Birgit Ottmer has worked at WSL since 2001, first as project manager for the International Year of Mountains 2002, then as head of the former "Public Relations" group at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos. Since 2009, she has headed the WSL's communications department. As such, she is responsible for tasks and projects such as media relations, websites, the DIAGONAL magazine and other publication series, visitor services, internal communications and support for researchers in the communications environment.
Following the tragic death of WSL Director Konrad Steffen in August 2020, Birgit Ottmer was interim head of the "Planning and Logistics" department, which brings together all WSL's non-scientific organisational units, for around a year.
Birgit Ottmer studied environmental sciences at ETH Zurich and then worked at the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach and at the private association Institut für Baubiologie. While working at WSL, she completed an Executive Master in Corporate Communication Management at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland.
Birgit Ottmer is keen to combine the fields of research and communication. "What WSL investigates is relevant to society - and also extremely fascinating. My team and I help to ensure that WSL findings reach users in practice. And that taxpayers know what they are accomplishing with their money".
With the election of Birgit Ottmer, the WSL Directorate, which will have seven members from 1 January 2022, is composed of three women and four men. This is a further step towards increasing the proportion of women in management positions.