Martina Hirayama is since 1 January 2019 Head of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) at Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
Martina Hirayama studied Chemistry at the ETH Zurich, the University of Fribourg and Imperial College London, graduating from ETH Zurich with a doctorate in technical sciences (Dr. sc. Techn). She went on to do postgraduate studies in Business Economics at the ETH Zurich, and completed her thesis in 1997. She then worked in the ETH Zurich’s Department of Materials, becoming head of the Polymer Chemistry Group in 2001. During this time, Ms Hirayama co-founded a start-up in new coating technologies, and was CEO of the company until 2008.
In 2003 she began lecturing in Industrial Chemistry at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur ZHW (now ZHAW), where she developed and headed the field of polymer materials and obtained her professorship. From 2007 to 2010 she developed the ZHAW’s Institute of Materials and Process Engineering. From 2011 to 2018 she was Director of the ZHAW School of Engineering, a member of the university’s executive board and from 2014 head of International Affairs.
From 2012 to 2018 Martina Hirayama was president of the board of the Federal Institute of Metrology METAS, from 2011 to 2018 vice president of the Innovation Promotion Agency Innosuisse board (until 2017 the Commission for Technology and Innovation) and from 2016 to 2018 a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation board. She was also on the boards and executive committees of several other organisations, namely the Swiss Study Foundation, the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, and the Kuratorium of the Freiburger Materialforschungszentrum at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg (Germany). Moreover, she acted as an expert for the National Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR) and the European Commission.