Dr. Martine Rahier

A passion for plants

How do animals and plants co-operate? What biochemical strategies do plants develop to protect themselves from pests? And what impact will the rapid propagation of an individual species of plant have on the ecosystem? The research findings of Martine Rahier and her colleagues offer answers to these questions and give insight into the complexity of ecological systems.

Martine Rahier studied agronomic engineering, gained her doctorate from the University of Basel, and has been lecturing in entomology and animal ecology at the University of Neuch√Ętel since 1994. She directs the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Plant Survival since 2001, and heads the Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities (OAQ) since September 2005, and was the first female dean of a Swiss university.

During the 20 years of her active research, the renowned scientist Martine Rahier has published a series of widely acclaimed articles. In 2000, she presented her Plant Survival project to the National Foundation. The SNF Plant Survival emerged this project, thanks to which the University of Neuch√Ętel has made itself a name as an international competence centre for people studying the stress resistance of plants in semi-natural and agricultural ecosystems.

Under the leadership of Martine Rahier, the SNF follows an interdisciplinary approach: the research teams consist of specialists from the fields of botany, zoology, ecology, chemistry and statistics. Moreover, Martine Rahier has always been concerned with making the results of her research available to a wider public. Thus her team takes part in events at which scientific facts are presented to a non-scientific audience with appropriate focus and is involved in projects aimed at promoting the transfer of technology between university and small and medium enterprises.