American Swiss Foundation

Leader Spotlight

MuellerRalphRalph Müller (Young Leader 2004)

Professor and Director, Institute for Biomechanics, ETH Zürich

What can Americans learn from the Swiss?
As a true Swiss I cannot advise my Americans friends on what they can learn from our country. Having said that, this probably means that a certain understatement and modesty are still strong values in Switzerland.

What can the Swiss learn from the Americans?
Thinking big and the beauty of an economy of scale. This is what I miss the most from my time in the US.

What defines your leadership style? 
 In academia it is not clear what leadership style you should exhibit, as you have to lead the students who will be our future leaders; the researchers in your laboratory who need to generate the knowledge of tomorrow; and your colleagues within the faculty, who are all leaders in their own rights. Therefore, you have to adapt your leadership style depending on the situation and the people. Nevertheless, the ability to motivate others to follow a common vision is a prerequisite for an academic leader. For this, you need to have a true passion for what you are doing and a sincere interest in the lives of the people you are working with.

What qualities do you most admire in a person?
Innovation and perseverance.

What is your greatest strengths?
My ability to motivate people to follow a common vision, even if it seems that the goals can never be reached.

What is your greatest weakness? 
I never give up.

Where do you live?
Herrliberg, a small town on Lake Zürich.

Where are you from? 
Schaffhausen on the Rhine.

What is your favorite leisure activity?  
Cooking for my wife and my two teenage boys.

What is your goal in life?  
To become rich and famous.

 


 

About Dr. Ralph Müller

Ralph Müller is a Professor of Biomechanics and the Director of the Institute for Biomechanics at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, where he serves as the Deputy Department Head. The Institute for Biomechanics employs some 80 researchers and graduate students investigating the mechanics and material properties of the musculoskeletal system, as well as human movement, a macroscopic to microscopic scale. Ralph is the author of over 1,000 refereed publications and abstracts. In 2013, he was added to the list of ISI Highly Cited Researchers in Biology and Biochemistry. He and his team received a number of honors and awards, most recently the Clinical Biomechanics Award of the European Society of Biomechanics. 

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