Manfred Hirt is known on the international scene for his expertise in the field of fatigue and fracture mechanics of steel structures, loads and action on structures, structural safety and serviceability and steel-concrete composite construction.
Hirt earned his Ph.D. in structural engineering from Lehigh after receiving his undergraduate degree from the Swiss Federal Institution of Technology, Zurich in the same field. Prior to coming to Lehigh, Hirt worked as a design engineer with firms in both Zurich as well as in New York City. Immediately following his Lehigh graduation Hirt joined the faculty at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland as a Part time consultant and forensic engineer for the university's Steel Structures Lab (ICOM). In 1992 Hirt was appointed director of ICOM, a position he still holds today. Along with his position as director of ICOM, Hirt is also a professor emeritus in the structural engineering institute at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.
In 2003 Hirt was elected president of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). He assumed office in November 2004 and is currently serving his three year term. Hirt has been a member of IABSE since 1972 and has served as technical secretary, member of the Publications and most recently as Vice-President of the Association from 2001 until October 31, 2004. Hirt received the 2006 Charles Massonnet Award. The European Convention for Constructional steelwork presents the award every year to "recognize a prominent scientist who highly contributed to the advancement of scientific and technical support to constructional steelwork, and who had worked or is working in a Technical Committee of ECCS."