Martin Reich: “I see multiple opportunities to further enhance the joint work between DGL and CEGA”.

Thursday, 11 de August
  • The researcher, a member of the founding team of CEGA, assumed the direction of the Department of Geology of the Universidad de Chile (DGL) until 2024.
  • Reich emphasized the importance of CEGA for the DGL and remarked that his administration will search to enhance the strengths of the entire community of researchers, staff and students of the DGL.

PhD in Geology from the University of Michigan, Full Professor of the Department of Geology (DGL) of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (FCFM) of the Universidad de Chile since 2015 and principal investigator of the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA) -Fondap ANID of the Universidad de Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Católica- since its inception. Martin Reich assumed director of the DGL at the beginning of July, a position he will hold until 2024 with the short-term challenge of “continuing to resume the presentiality of our university work“.

A month after assuming his new position, he emphasized that the pandemic and global changes have put the focus on “rethinking and strengthening many aspects of our day-to-day work at the university, both at the level of teaching, research and links with the environment“. These accelerated processes of change are also related to the “urgent national challenges in water, climate and access to mineral and energy resources for decarbonization“.

How does the work done at CEGA during the last decade converge with your work at the head of the Geology Department?

This year I celebrated 21 years in the DGL, so I have seen its evolution over two decades. Undoubtedly, CEGA and many other projects or initiatives have contributed to profound and far-reaching changes in the Department over the last ten years.

On the other hand, the policies of renewal of academic staff promoted by the FCFM and the development of new lines of research have allowed us to position ourselves as a leading and high impact unit in Earth Sciences, not only in Chile and Latin America, also worldwide. All these advances are a source of great pride for the DGL and allow us to continue strengthening synergies internally.

How do you envision Geology and CEGA working together in the future?

CEGA is a key player at the national level, not only in geothermal research and training, also in the articulation and development of projects with the private sector and regional governments. An example of the latter are the research and development (R&D) projects for air conditioning of schools, colleges and greenhouses in various regions of the country, promoting the impact on local communities.

In this context, and considering the base built in these ten years, I see multiple opportunities to continue strengthening joint work at the basic research, advanced human capital formation and R&D levels. In particular, I highlight the synergies at the departmental level that arise from the multidisciplinary nature of geothermal energy and related research lines. These aspects constitute strengths that have a positive impact on both units and should be enhanced in the future.

His stamp on DGL

Recognized for his work in teaching and research as an exceptional academic with a great connection to his students, Martin Reich will seek to embody these characteristics in his tenure as head of the Department of Geology.

The academic indicated that “in recent years, the DGL has seen an important renewal of its academic staff, with the hiring of young professors in areas of great impact, such as climate change, geochemistry, volcanology, geodesy, tectonics, marine geology, among others“.

My priority will be to support these young talents so that they find in the DGL the right place to develop and maximize their interests and capabilities, in a welcoming, inclusive and diverse environment“, he said.