Successful research does not happen in a vacuum – it needs a lot of money and resources. In addition to governmental funding, generous donors are of central importance for the Swiss research ecosystem. One of the most remarkable philanthropists is certainly Hansjörg Wyss. Host and partner institutions of the two Wyss Centers and the Wyss Academy in Switzerland cannot underline strongly enough how important the donations from Hansjörg Wyss are for Switzerland as a major player for research. Altogether, his donations already exceed CHF 500 million in less than 10 years, which makes him the most generous private donor for the Swiss research and innovation landscape. Last year alone, Hansjörg Wyss committed to donations in the order of CHF 100M each to the Wyss Centers in Geneva and Zurich as well as the Wyss Academy in Bern.
Each of the Wyss Centers or Academy works in close collaboration with prominent Swiss institutions: EPFL, University of Geneva, ETH Zurich, University of Zurich and University of Bern. As of 2022, they sum up to more than 250 high-profile research, implementation and administrative positions that amplify the strength of Swiss science and innovation. Twenty-five companies have already spun out from or with support of these centers, active in fields ranging from robotics to medicine.
“The ongoing commitment of Hansjörg Wyss and his Foundation to support groundbreaking research in Switzerland and elsewhere is more than a gift: it is a strong symbol of confidence in science and in the scientists that make it live on a daily basis,” says Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, in charge of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
Today, Hansjörg Wyss received the Gallatin Award from the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce for his great commitments to the science landscape in Switzerland. The Gallatin Award celebrates personalities who have performed extraordinary things to bring Switzerland and the USA closer together. The award is named after Albert Gallatin, born in Geneva in 1761, who was the longest-serving US Secretary of Treasury, founder of New York University and the Bank of New York.
Several Wyss-supported projects have been put on display today in Campus Biotech during the official award ceremony. This gave their entrepreneurial scientists a unique opportunity to showcase some of the work supported by funding made available by Hansjörg Wyss to a panel of selected guests, among them Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin – and to Hansjörg Wyss himself.