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ZHAW digital - People


Daniel Baumann

"My scientific career and educational biography has been marked by the unprecedented development that is digitization. I took a first deep-dive into its potential by exploring the opportunities and limitations of simulating natural phenomena while I was working on my PhD as an agronomic engineer. Ever since my focus became research and project management, I have been fascinated by the fact that education, research and innovation are social processes that are both ambitious and challenging. This fascination is the basis of my commitment to advance digital transformation at the ZHAW in the way I believe it to be most impactful: together, different, agile."

Daniel Baumann, Managing Director ZHAW digital

Thilo Stadelmann

"I started studying computer science to combine creativity with engineering. I am fascinated by teaching computers to do things that otherwise only humans could do. After finishing my PhD in machine learning, I started working in the automotive industry and gathered experience with development, consulting and leadership. I love to bring people together and through this to open new opportunities to them, which I have been able to do while building several research and innovation networks in the fields of data analysis and AI. I joined ZHAW digital to create encouraging conditions for the work of and at the ZHAW in the field of digital transformation."

Thilo Stadelmann, Scientific Director ZHAW digital

Core Team

The Core Team is made up of eleven experts, appointed on an individual basis, giving the group a holistic view of digital transformation through our different perspectives. The Team’s job is to set the course of ZHAW digital’s work on a conceptual and on a strategic level. Daniel and Thilo are also members of the Core Team.

Sarah Büchel

It was difficult for me to choose a study program, because I was interested in so many things. In the end, I studied education, special education, and Spanish literature. Later I worked in the quality management at the children and youth services at the Canton of Zurich, where I also developed skills in project management. I switched to the private sector and worked for a company that mainly advised the public sector and NGO/NPO. After training as a systemic organisational developer, I became self-employed. In the last years, my focus was on New Work, agility, digital transformation, and innovation management. In the ZHAW digital core team, I can unite my different interests very well.

Sarah Büchel, Staff Member Strategic Initiatives and Processes

Christian Gassner

"I studied information management and did my PhD in the field of IT system integration. Then I worked for insurance companies in Switzerland and Japan on the end user side in the fields of project, process, quality and facility management. The focus was on using the latest technology to create business value. At the ZHAW I switched to the IT side and many of my projects were related to the application of new technologies. However, my interest isn't in technology itself, but on its effects on and opportunities for our staff and business processes. That's what we now call "digital transformation". This is precisely what is appealing about ZHAW digital: the opportunity to contribute to the transformation of the ZHAW within a unique framework."

Christian Gassner, Head Information & Communication Technology

Andri Gerber

As a child of the 80s, I was interested in computers from an early age. Especially the videogames in the arcades in Northern Italy, where I grew up. I tried them all, from Atari to Playstation. That’s why, as a historian of architecture and urban planning, it feels natural to me to be interested in Serious Games in education and research. The disruptive approach to gaming is supposed to help us challenge the strongly normative impact of the new digital methods in architecture.

Andri Gerber, Professor for Design and Civil Engineering

Aleksandra Gnach

"When I was a child, I wanted to change the world: be a journalist, travel, and uncover injustices. That's why I chose media studies as a major. And linguistics on top. I quickly realized how profoundly language impacts our world: it draws pictures in peoples' minds and thereby determines our perception and behavior. After a detour in public broadcasting, I now research language use on social media platforms, where people are constructing a new cross-cultural reality. I joined ZHAW digital because I am convinced that the ZHAW can — and should — take a leading role in digital transformation.”

Aleksandra Gnach, Professor for Media Linguistics


Jos Hehli

"After studying business economics, I worked in corporate banking for a major Swiss bank, wrote a thesis on credit analysis and gained experience in corporate finance. Ten years of management consultancy for an international consulting firm in Switzerland and the USA followed. During this time, I supported various clients in business process optimization, cost reduction, e-business projects, and at the end, I headed an international project to build a new Internetbank - a true greenfield strategy. I am fascinated by building new things with motivated, interdisciplinary teams. Accordingly, I have had the pleasure to support various companies in their startup and growth phases. I am looking forward to supporting ZHAW digital with my experience in entrepreneurship, transformation and internationalization."

Jos Hehli, Head of Strategic Projects and International Relations

Christoph Heitz

"I entered the world of data analysis and process modeling as a theoretical physicist. For over 20 years I've been working on the question of how data can allow us to make better decisions in all areas of life - perhaps the most important driver of digitization. Eventually, I helped create some concrete systems and thereby became an actor in digital transformation myself. As part of ZHAW digital I want to help shape the way that we, the ZHAW, rise to the challenges digital transformation poses: to not just rebuild our world digitally but to make it a better place for us and our children first and foremost."

Christoph Heitz, Head of Research Area Engineering and Operations Management

Imke Knafla

"I studied psychology because I am interested in people and still find it a fascinating field. During my professional career and my further training as a consultant and psychotherapist I had, and still have, the chance to accompany development and change processes of individuals and groups. Today, as a lecturer and trainer, I accompany further education participants in their development in the context of systemic counselling. With digitization I see new and exciting didactic opportunities, enabling us to accompany participants of further education in smaller groups more closely and individually, and to shape the role of the lecturer as a coach and companion for learning processes even more. At ZHAW digital, the focus should be on the human being."

Imke Knafla, Co-Head of Centre for Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy

Markus Melloh

"The start of my first professional life as an orthopaedic and rheumatologist — aside from a quick detour into quantitative analysis in sports medicine — was fairly analogue and hands-on. But by the time I was a Postdoc and Registry Fellow in spine research, I found myself surrounded by stakeholders who wanted me - as an analogue physician - to explain to them the benefits of digital data entry. In my third professional life in university management, I see myself as a bridge builder between digital health worlds (e.g. ZHAW Digital Health Lab) with the focus on the already digital patient who questions our traditional medical knowledge more and more frequently and more and more successfully."

Markus Melloh, Professor for Public Health, Director Institute of Health Science, Strategist, Researcher, Inventor

Claude Müller Werder

"I've had the pleasure of supporting and coaching young people in their development from the time of my studies in geography and business management. Ever since the rise of the internet around the new millennium, the technological opportunities to support this activity have been fascinating to me. I applied this fascination in my dissertation in education where I explored their potential and limits in various projects. Nowadays, my colleagues and I not only experiment with e-Learning pilots, we develop our own tools and implement digital learning in entire degree programmes to enable new forms of study. I also explore the impact these new forms of study have with other universities. I joined ZHAW digital to contribute through my fascination for digital learning, which is based on the premise that it needs a didactic justification, should be empirically researched and reflected upon critically."

Claude Müller Werder, Head of Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Program Office

Strategic Council

The ZHAW digital Strategic Council is comprised of the executive board and the directors of ZHAW digital. It makes strategic landmark decisions and functions as the main sponsor and client.