The open CEO position was publicly announced in spring 2023 according to Austrian law (Stellenbesetzungsgesetz). Christina Hirschl, who holds a doctorate in physics, prevailed over numerous other applicants in the hearings for the open executive management position.
Hirschl, 44, has many years of experience in managing research and development as well as in building, growing and leading big teams in industry-oriented applied science. By her own admission, it is part of her passion to “enable innovations and connect different branches of the industry from different steps within the value chain”.
After finishing her doctorate on computer simulations of “chaotic properties of fluids” at the University of Vienna, Hirschl switched to the industry. She spent several years researching for the space company Beyond Gravity, before starting as project manager in the field of renewable energies at CTR Carinthian Tech Research AG. There, she advanced to head of the Smart Systems department in 2014.
After the foundation of Silicon Austria Labs GmbH (SAL) in 2019, Christina Hirschl became head of the Sensor Systems Research Division. SAL is a non-university research and development center for electronic based systems in Austria. As a link between science and industry, SAL uses the latest research results from the fields of sensors, RF and power electronics to make products, technologies and processes simpler, safer and more effective.
“Microelectronics is an important factor in promoting the green and digital transformation. With the different research foci, SAL contributes to boosting Austria as a business location and to solving key issues of the future. I am all the happier that we were able to recruit a highly qualified woman with many years of experience in both the technical department and in management for this position”, shares Leonore Gewessler, Federal Minister for Climate Action.
“We have gained a renowned expert for research and development in Christina Hirschl as the new CEO for SAL, Austria’s top research center for electronic based systems. I’m looking forward to the ongoing collaboration with Ms. Hirschl in her new position, in terms of working on sustainable solutions for environmental protection, health, energy, mobility and safety”, states Marion Mitsch, CEO of FEEI.
“As head of the Sensor Systems Research Division, Christina Hirschl has been responsible for the successful development and expansion of the SAL site in Villach, which stands out with the largest cleanroom facility in Austria as its unique selling point within the national research landscape. I am very pleased that we were able to win a researcher with such an excellent network for the management of Silicon Austria Labs”, explains Gaby Schaunig, Provincial Minister for Technology (Carinthia).
“Silicon Austria Labs with its headquarters in Graz is the centerpiece of microelectronics research in Austria. The research center plays a fundamental role for the further development of this promising and growing branch. I am very happy that a very competent woman with a lot of international experience such as Christina Hirschl will lead SAL into its promising future. I wish her all the best for this new task,” says Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Provincial Minister for Economics, Science and Research (Styria).
“We are looking forward to continuing our journey with Silicon Austria Labs under the leadership of Christina Hirschl, a highly experienced leader and expert in her field, to establish the innovation location Upper Austria as a center for 6G research. With the lighthouse at the site in Linz, SAL is developing key technologies for a wirelessly connected factory of the future, which are a decisive competitive factor in the digital transformation. At this point, we also want to thank the previous CEO for his work in laying the fundaments for SAL”, states Markus Achleitner, Provincial Minister for Economics and Research (Upper Austria).