FRANCE: Fuchs is new national research head

Chemical engineer Professor Alain Fuchs has been appointed as the new President of France's flagship research institution, the National Science Research Centre. Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris, Chimie ParisTech, Fuchs replaces both current President Catherine Bréchignac and Director Arnold Migus whose terms of office are coming to an end.

The dual mandate Fuchs takes over is part of a controversial reform of the CNRS that was approved in November and which he will oversee. This will involve reorganising the centre into 10 internal institutes whose directors he will be responsible for appointing.

Fuchs, 56, has a distinguished scientific and academic record. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, he graduated in chemical engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in 1975, and completed his doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Paris-Sud-Orsay in 1983.

He moved to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for a postdoctoral fellowship, returned to France where he became a research fellow at the CNRS in 1986 then a research director in 1991. Four years later, he became professor of physical chemistry at Paris-Sud and in 2000 a visiting scientist at the Materials Research Laboratory of the University of California in Santa Barbara. He became Director of Chimie Paris Tech, which is attached to the University of Paris-6 Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, in January 2006.

Among a number of leading scientific posts within the CNRS and outside, Fuchs has been an elected member of the permanent commission of the Conference of Directors of French Engineering Schools since 2007. He is a Fellow of the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry.