Charlotte Grossiord wins a Sandoz Family Foundation fellowship

© Alain Herzog

© Alain Herzog

Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Terrestrial Ecology and Director of the PERL Laboratory at EPFL, Charlotte Grossiord was just awarded a fellowship from the Sandoz Family Foundation-Monique de Meuron programme fostering up-and-coming academics.

Charlotte Grossiord, director of EPFL’s Plant Ecology Research Laboratory (PERL), is the laureate of the 2020 competition of the Sandoz Family Foundation-Monique de Meuron programme fostering up-and-coming academics. This fellowship, awarded once a year to an assistant professor designated by each of the universities in French-speaking Switzerland, rewards the best candidate in Natural Sciences following an examination by an ad hoc committee. A second prize is awarded to a candidate in the Humanities. "I didn't necessarily expect to be the laureate, because the competition is tough. We are very happy in the laboratory," the scientist says. The prize offers the equivalent of the professor's salary and that of a graduate assistant for two years, renewable twice for one year, and provides a one-time start-up credit.

A specialist in tree physiology, Charlotte Grossiord has been working at EPFL since March 2020, focusing on the survival potential and acclimatization of forest ecosystems in the face of extreme events associated with climate change, such as droughts and heat waves. She has achieved international recognition for her work on the contribution of biodiversity to the ability of forests to withstand climate change. Working in natural environments in several regions of the world as well as in the laboratory, Charlotte Grossiord uses amongst other methods growth chambers that control temperature and humidity to investigate under real conditions the effects of drought on trees.

The grant from the Sandoz Family Foundation will initially allow her to hire a new post-doctoral assistant and increase the staff of her laboratory. "We are also going to buy a drone equipped with thermal cameras, to be used on different sites to observe the impact of global warming on the thermoregulation of trees," she explains. 

Charlotte Grossiord works closely with the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, which is co-funding her professorship at EPFL.