Robert Giezendanner-Thoben on bluefactory Board of Directors

Dr. Robert Giezendanner-Thoben was elected to the Board at the 2023 Annual General Meeting of BFF AG, the company that manages the bluefactory district. His appointment follows the departures of Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Schalcher and Dr. Etienne Marclay.

Board of Directors


Dr. Robert Giezendanner-Thoben holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from EPFL and a PhD from the Institute of Aerospace Thermodynamics at the University of Stuttgart. After years of research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), he joined Robert Bosch GmbH in Stuttgart, holding various positions from 2005 to 2018. Since 2018, he has brought his expertise to EPFL, where he has been appointed Director of Industrial Affairs and Deputy Vice-President for Innovation. His central role is to encourage and develop dynamic partnerships between academia and industry, to promote technology transfer to society.

“I am delighted that Dr Giezendanner-Thoben has taken up this position,” said Jacques Boschung, Chairman of BFF SA. “His remarkable career combines academic and industrial experience, with a strong focus on innovation in different environments. His expertise will be an additional asset for the success of the Canton and City of Fribourg’s magnificent project that is bluefactory.”

Jacques Boschung thanked Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Schalcher and Prof. Etienne Marclay for their valuable commitment; their proven skills greatly contributed to the evolution of the neighbourhood. Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Schalcher taught at the ETHZ in the Department of Construction, Environment and Geomatics, in parallel with running his engineering practice. He joined the BFF SA’s Board of Directors at the company’s founding in 2014, participating in all the stages that transformed a brewery site into a laboratory district, where models in innovation, circular economy and sustainable development are tested for replication in other districts or cities. Dr. Etienne Marclay comes from Lausanne’s polytechnic school. A physicist, he first joined EPFL as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Technology (STI). After holding various positions, he was appointed Vice-President for Human Resources and Operations.

The Board of Directors of BFF SA is now composed of seven members: Jacques Boschung (Chairman), Olivier Curty (Vice-President, State Councillor, representative of the Canton of Fribourg), Mirjam Ballmer (Municipal Councillor, representative of the City of Fribourg), Robert Giezendanner-Thoben (Member), Géraldine Pflieger (Member), Nadir Solenghi (Member) and Susanne Zenker (Member).

About BFF SA

Founded in 2014, BFF SA’s mission is to develop, build, operate, promote and animate the bluefactory low-carbon innovation district. The district now has more than 400 people active in about sixty entities (SMEs, start-ups, innovation promoters and university research) and upholds the principles of sustainable development as well as those of the circular economy.

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