Foundation committee

David N. Bresch

Professor of Weather and Climate Risks at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich since summer 2016.

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Verena Briner

Is Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Basel and Visiting Professor at the University of Lucerne. President of the Board of Trustees since April 2017.

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Daniel Brunner

Head of the Branding/Marketing Division for the Swiss market of Helvetia Insurance Company since 2006

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Vera Eichenauer

Studied International Relations and Sociology and will be working as researcher at ETH Zurich

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Franz Enderli

Government Councilor of the Canton of Obwalden and Head of the Education and Culture Department since 2009

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Gerd Folkers

Professor at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, Science Studies with special emphasis on the history of chemistry and pharmacy at ETH Zurich

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Servan Grüninger

Currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Biostatistics at the University of Zurich as well as the Master's program in Computational Science at the EPFL Lausanne

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Heinz Gutscher

President ProClim Forum for Climate and Global Change, Member of the Science Committee Future Earth and Consultant to various international research projects

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Alex Höchli

Since 2011 town council and since 1st of July 2016 Talammann in Engelberg. Owner af a bookshop in Engelberg.

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Bernhard Kobler

Following a long professional career in the banking sector, today he works as an independent Board of Directors’ and Board of Trustees’ member.

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Claudine Leysinger

Managing Director of the Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich

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Heini Murer

Serves in numerous organizations in the fields of physiology and nephrology

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Felicitas Pauss

Professor of Experimental Particle Physics at the Institute for Particle Physics (IPP) of ETH Zurich

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Paul Richli

Former President of the University of Lucerne and Vice-President of the Foundation since April 2017

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Norbert Thom

Member of the Forum for University and Society of the University of Bern

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Thomas Eichenberger

Is a historian and long-time staff member of ETH Zurich and, starting in July 2017, General Secretary of the Foundation.

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David N. Bresch



He studied and obtained his doctorate in physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, and subsequently worked in the field of Science and Policy of Climate Change at MIT in Cambridge, U.S.A. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2008 and is a member of the Science Committee.

David N. Bresch has been appointed Professor for Weather and Climate Risks at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich and MeteoSwiss in 2016. This joint appointment with MeteoSwiss will significantly strengthen the strategically important alliance between the two institutions in the field of weather and climate risks, climate adaptation and climate mitigation.

Previously, he worked at Swiss Re 200-2016, his roles included Head Business Development Global Partnerships (www.swissre.com/global_partnerships), Global Head Sustainability, Head of University and Risk Research Relations, Head Atmospheric Perils Group and Chief modeler for natural catastrophe risk assessment. He has been member of the deal teams for many innovative risk transfer transactions, like cat bonds and weather index solutions. David Bresch has been a member of the official Swiss delegation to the UNFCCC climate negotiations 2009-2012 and will again COP21 in Paris (2015).

He served as member of the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) of the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF, 2014-2016), is active as steering committee member of ProClim, and member of OcCC, the Federal administration’s Advisory Body on Climate, Switzerland. At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH, he lectures since 2010 on economics of climate adaptation (www.iac.ethz.ch/edu/courses/master/modules/climate_risk). Further, he acts as board member of WWF Switzerland, Academia Engelberg and sanu future learning AG.

David Bresch holds a PhD in physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH).

Verena Briner



After completing her medical school, she held various management positions inter alia at the Universities of Lucerne, Basel and Bern. She has been actively involved in the Scientific Committee of the Foundation since 2016. Since April 2017 she is President of the Board of Trustees.

Verena Briner is Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Basel and Visiting Professor at the University of Lucerne. She was Chief Physician and head of the Department of Medicine, CMO, and a member of the hospital’s management team and since 2016 consultant at the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital.

She is a member of various medical commissions including the Senate of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and the professional organization ’Intercantonal Convention on Highly Specialized Medicine’ (IVHSM). Additionally, she is a member and former president of the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine.

Verena Briner completed her medical studies at the University of Basel with a doctorate in 1978 and is a specialist for Internal Medicine and Nephrology (as certified by the Swiss Medical Association FMH). She is the recipient of academic scholarships and awards including the ‘President’s Grant’ of the Swiss Society for General Internal Medicine.

Moreover, she is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in England and an Honorary Member of the American College of Physicians, the European Federation of Internal Medicine, the Polish Association of Internal Medicine, and the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine.

Daniel Brunner



As the owner and CEO of a company for organizational development, which is still active in the market, he acquired profound management experience in the SME sector. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2014 and is a member of the Communications Committee.

He has been managing Helvetia Insurance Company’s Branding/Marketing Division for the Swiss market since 2006.

Previously, he worked for staff development and training and as Executive Assistant of Helvetia Insurance Company for over ten years.

He is active as a director of the WDA Forum St. Gallen; cantonal inspector of schools of the Kirschgarten Grammar School in Basel; and as a director of OVERALL, an integration facility. He is politically active with the Swiss Liberal Party.

He is involved with the Lions Club – where he was a governor, among other things; CFO of the Jazz Festival Basel/Off Beat Foundation for several years; and was previously president of the Jazz School Basel Foundation.

Vera Eichenauer



She graduated with a Master’s degree in International Economic Relations from Sciences Po University in Paris and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Fribourg. She has been working with the Foundation’s Science Committee since 2014 and in the Board since 2016.

“In our everyday working life, many of us work in highly specialized subject areas, which can inad-vertently lead to ‘tunnel vision‘ of society and its challenges.

The interdisciplinary and open space for discussions that is provided by Academia Engelberg’s conferences allows me to expand my views and to gain multiple perspectives on important topics of the future.

With my involvement, I want to ensure that others can have a similar experience.“

Vera Eichenauer

She is currently writing her doctoral thesis at the Faculty of International Developmental and Economic Policy of the Alfred Weber Institute for Economics at the Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg

Starting January 2017, she will be working as researcher at ETH Zurich.

During her studies, she completed several courses at the Institute of Economics of the University of Mannheim and at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. In 2014, Vera Eichenauer did a research fellowship at the World Bank.

During her studies, she worked for responsAbility, a micro-finance investment company in Zurich and, after completing her Master’s degree, briefly at the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Franz Enderli



Following his studies in theology in Lucerne and Vienna, he worked as a pastor in a parish for several years. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2010.

From 1996 to 2009, he served as the head of the Canton of Obwalden’s Catechetical Work and Media Office and as a teacher of religion and high school chaplain at the St. Fidelis College, Nidwalden grammar school, in Stans. In parallel, he completed his post-graduate studies during this time.

He began his political career in 1986 as a member of the school board in Kerns. From 1989 to 1999, he was a member of the Canton of Obwalden’s Cantonal Council.

He has been a Government Councilor of the Canton of Obwalden since 2009 and heads the Education and Culture Department as well as the Security and Justice Department.

Gerd Folkers



He studied and obtained his PhD in Pharmacy at the University of Bonn. Stays at the Birbeck College in London and at Texas A&M in College Station followed. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2008 and is a member of the Science Committee.

He was appointed Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at ETH Zurich in 1991.

Since 2016 Gerd Folkers is Professor at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences at ETH Zurich.

Also since 2016 until 2019 he presides the Swiss Science and Innovation Council SSIC.

From 2004 till March 2016 he is Head of the Collegium Helveticum, jointly operated by the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.

 

Gerd Folkers is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

He has co-founded two start-up companies and is the (co-)author and publisher of numerous scientific articles and books on drug research and development.

Gerd Folkers‘ work has been awarded various prizes, including the European Prix Medida for the development and implementation of new e-learning concepts (together with Beat Ernst, Basel).

Servan Grüninger



He has already participated several times in the Foundation’s Conference by arrangement with the Swiss Study Foundation. He has been working with the Foundation’s Youth Committee since 2013 and is sind 2016 a member of the Foundation Committee.

“Societal needs affect the goals of science, while scientific findings change our society’s everyday life. This is generally very stimulating, but also leads to tension. Academia Engelberg Foundation has recognized this and offers scientific and social actors the appropriate platform for an open and unbiased exchange of views about the challenges of our time. A task that I want to personally support.“

Servan Grüninger

Servan Grüninger holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in Neuroinformatics, Political Science, and Law.

During his studies, he worked at various research institutions at home and abroad.

He is currently attending the Master’s program in Biostatistics at the University of Zurich as well as the Master’s program in Computational Science at the EPFL Lausanne. He is a member of the Swiss Study Foundation and a Werner Siemens Fellow.

He has been the President of the Science Alumni of the University of Zurich and a Board Member of the alumni umbrella organization of the University of Zurich since 2017.

Moreover, he is the Co-Founder and President of ‚reatch‘ (research and technology in switzerland), a young grassroots think tank at the interface between science, society, and politics.

Heinz Gutscher



He studied psychology, sociology, and journalism in Zurich, with advanced training at the Universities of Colchester, Essex (U.K.) and Ann Arbor, Michigan (U.S.A.). He has been involved with the Foundation since 2010 and is a member of the Science Committee.

His habilitation and appointment to the professorship of social psychology at the University of Zurich followed in 1990.

Heinz Gutscher has experience in various fields of social research. He led interdisciplinary research projects on topics like substance abuse, self-endangerment, opportunities and risks of new means of telecommunications, as well as basic research on the mechanisms of confidence-building as well as social influence processes.

He also deals with the socio-psychological aspects of sustainability, risk perception, change management, application of socio-psychological knowledge in areas like energy, mobility, consumption, and acceptance of new technologies.

Currently he is working as a consultant to various international research projects.

Heinz Gutscher was from 2010 – 2016 President of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, SAGW. He is President of the ProClim Forum for Climate and Global Change, and a member of Future Earth’s Science Committee.

Alex Höchli



Studied journalism, pedagogy and political science at the University of Zurich. As a Talammann, he has been member of the Foudation Committee since the end of 2016.

Alex Höchli took over the parish bookstore “bücher büro edv hochli” in Engelberg in 1996.

Before he has worked for many years in journalism as a reporter for various newspapers (LNN, Lucerne Tagblatt, Hotel- und Touristik revue), five years as editor of the “Vaterland” in Lucerne and five years with the agency “Schweizerische Politischen Korrespondent SPK”.

He spent the first years of his life in Frankfurt am Main before he was enrolled in Engelberg, where he also attended the Gymnasium.

Alex Höchli spent 16 years as a lay judge at the Administrative Court in Obwalden (until 2016).

 

Bernhard Kobler



After obtaining his baccalaureate qualifying him for entering university, he held managerial positions at various banks and completed bank-specific continuing education. He graduated from the Swiss Banking School and the AMP at Insead in Fontainebleau. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2015 and is a member of the Strategy Committee.

Following a long professional career in the banking sector, today he works as an independent Board of Directors’ and Board of Trustees’ member. He is a graduate of the Swiss Banking School and of the AMP at Insead in Fontainebleau. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2015 and is a member of the Finance Committee.

Bernhard Kobler held various management positions at UBS, the Lucerne Cantonal Bank, and Bank Julius Bär during a period spanning 35 years.

From 2004 to 2014, he was the CEO of the Lucerne Cantonal Bank. During this time, he was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks and a member of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Bankers Association.

Since mid-2016, Bernhard Kobler has been focusing on his directorships. These include his position as Chairman of the Board of Braun Medical AG in Sempach, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for the Preservation and Creation of Affordable Housing, GSW, in Lucerne.

During 2014/15, he continued his education at the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance of the University of St. Gallen in the area of corporate governance for boards of directors.

Claudine Leysinger



She studied Latin American Studies and Political Science in Mexico and at Columbia University, where she also obtained her PhD in Latin American History. She has been involved with the Foundation since 2013 and is a member of the Youth Committee.

Claudine Leysinger is the Head of Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich since September 2015.

Graduate Campus offers services for PhD candidates and postdocs, such as qualifying courses, grants, information and networking events. Furthermore, Graduate Campus increases the visibility of junior researchers’ concerns and achievements to a broader public.

From 2008 till 2015 she was the Deputy Director of the Swiss Study Foundation, a private non-profit foundation that promotes exceptional students.

She wrote her dissertation on a German expeditionary photographer in 19th-century Mexico. The focus points of her research included the history of photography, archaeology, anthropology, and travel literature, as well as the relationships between German, American and Mexican research communities.

From 2001 to 2003, she taught writing seminars at Columbia University; later, she served as a consultant in the Writing Center and supported professors in the History Department as an assistant.

Photograph: David Ausserhofer (Image rights MPC GmbH)

Heini Murer



He studied biology at the University of Fribourg. As research associate, he worked at ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt and completed his habilitation at the University of Frankfurt. He has been involved with the Foundation since 2011 and is a member of the Science Committee.

He is a member and acted as President of numerous organizations in the fields of physiology and nephrology. From 1993 to 2004, he was also a research councilor for the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Following an assistant professorship at the Biochemical Institute of the University of Fribourg, he was an Associate Professor from 1981 and a full Professor from 1996 at the Physiological Institute of the University of Zurich.

From 1997 to 2006, Heini Murer served as Director of the Physiological Institute of the University of Zurich.

From 2006 to 2010, he was Vice Dean for Research at the University of Zurich. Since 2010, he has been a Founding Director of the Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich.

Felicitas Pauss



She studied theoretical physics and mathematics at the University of Graz. From 1978 to 1983, she conducted her research at the Max Planch Institute (MPI) in Munich, Cornell University in the U.S., and CERN in Geneva. She has been involved in the Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2008 and is a member of the Youth Committee.

She has been a Professor of Experimental Particle Physics at ETH Zurich since 1993 and for ten years was head of the Institute for Particle Physics.

In addition to teaching at ETH Zurich, her research activities focused on two priorities: particle physics at highest energies on particle accelerators and astro-particle physics.

Felicitas Pauss has been a member of CMS Experiments at CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) since the early 1990s and took on important management duties in this major international cooperation. She was deeply involved in the design and construction of the CMS Detector and held a leading role in the construction of the Crystal Calorimeter. The successful discovery of the Higgs Particle in 2012 provided the experimental basis for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Felicitas Pauss has held various management positions at CERN and at ETH Zurich and is a member of numerous national and international science committees and advisory boards.

She has received several awards, among which the ‘Cross of Honor for Science and Art 1st Class‘ of the Republic of Austria; the Erna Hamburger Prize of the EPFL-WISH Foundation; and an Honorary Doctor from the Technical University of Vienna. She is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Paul Richli



He received his doctoral and post-doctoral degrees in legal studies from the University of Bern and subsequently worked in various positions at Swiss universities. He has been involved in the Foundation as Vice-President since 2017.

Paul Richli was born in Hallau in 1946. After a business apprenticeship he made his Matura (university-track secondary school certificate) in 1967. From 1968 till 1974 he made his studies in Law, Economics, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology at the universities of Berne and Geneva. He finished his studies with a law degree in Berne 1972 and completed his law studies with a Doctorate in Law at the University of Berne.

From 1974 to 1990 he was working at the Federal Office of Justice and the Secretariat of the Swiss Cartels Commission. 1984 he received his habilitation at the University of Berne.

From 1990 to 1993 he was full Professor of Public Law at the University of St. Gallen. From 1993 to 2001 he was full Professor of Public Law at the University of Basel. And from 1998 to 2001 he was Vice President of the University of Basel.

From 2000 to 2005 Prof. Dr. Paul Richli was Founding Dean of the University of Lucerne’s Faculty of Law. And from 2001 to 2006 he was Vice President and Strategic Officer of the University of Lucerne.

From October 2001 to February 2011, he was full professor of Public Law, Agricultural Law, and Theory of Legislation at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lucerne. From 2010 to 2016, Paul Richli was President of the University of Lucerne.

Norbert Thom



He studied at the University of Cologne (Graduate Businessman, Dr. rer. pol., habilitation in Business Administration), with doctoral seminars in Brussels (The European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, EIASM). He has been involved with the Foundation since 2013 and is a member of the Finance Committee.

Inter alia, he served at the following institutes:

Substitute Professor for the Full Professorship (C4) for ‘Organization and Human Resource Management‘ of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen (1984/85)

Founder and Director of the Department of Management and Organization of the University of Friboug/Switzerland (1985-91) (professorship)

Founder and Director of the Institute for Organization and Human Resource Management (IOP) of the University of Bern (1991-2012, professorship)

Member of the Finance Commission of the University of Bern and Chief Financial Officer of its Faculty of Law and Economics (1992-95)

Vice Rector of the University of Bern for the 1995-1997 term with a preparation and follow-up year each with the responsibility for finance and planning

Member of the Standing Committee for the Competence Center for Public Management of the University of Bern (since 2002; 2008-2012, Chairman of this Committee)

Member of the Steering Committee of SPAN (Swiss Public Administration Network), the supreme control organ in the network of Swiss universities in the field of public administration sciences (2010-2012)

Member of the Science Committee for doctoral studies (ProDoc) in public administration sciences (2008-2012) within the SPAN network

From 1997 to 2000, member of the Swiss Science Council

Until 2002, member of the Academic Commission and of the Forum for University and Society of the University of Bern since.

For his scientific achievements, Norbert Thom has received three honorary doctorates and an honorary professorhip.

Thomas Eichenberger



He studied history and English and German literature at the University of Zurich. After his doctorate, he changed to a staff position at ETH. He is involved with the Foundation as the General Secretary as of July 2017.

Thomas Eichenberger, born 1959, received his university degree in history and English and German literature in 1986 from the University of Zurich. Subsequently, he was a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant at the University of Zurich’s Department of History and graduated in 1988 with a thesis in medieval history.

In 1989, he joined the President’s Office at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), which centrally organizes, structures and monitors the hiring procedures at ETH Zurich. The Office’s duties were continuously expanded over the following years, which led to a renaming of the group to Office for Faculty Affairs. He was head of the Office for Faculty Affairs from 2006 to 2016. Thomas Eichenberger was involved in the hiring of more than 300 faculty members at ETH Zurich.

During this period, he gained broad expertise in hiring and retaining faculty, dual career aspects, mobility of researchers, pension and social security issues, the career development of young scientists as well as aspects of gender and structural change – a field in which he was repeatedly invited as an expert by the European Commission.

He has been a staff member of the Director’s Office of the ETH library since 2017 where he is active in areas like Open Access and the library’s international relations.

Partner

Following a long period of fruitful cooperation, a close partnership was agreed on in June 2007. The Collegium Helveticum is an institution jointly borne by the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (‘ETH’), Zurich.

The ETH Board is responsible for the strategic leadership of the ETH domain and assumes the supervision of its institutions. Its close relationship with the ETH Council has contributed to the successful continuation of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2000.

The Foundation promotes research into the connecting human fundamentals of science. Academia Engelberg Foundation and the Foundation for Basic Research in Human Sciences have entered into a cooperation agreement for the period 2011 to 2015.

Helvetia is a quality-oriented comprehensive insurance company with over 150 years of experience. Academia Engelberg Foundation is convinced it will be able to use important synergies from the partnership starting in 2015.

With Singularity 2030 has been a partnership since 2016. The aim is to create synergies in the knowledge transfer of scientific research on singularity (artificial intelligence / biological intelligence) to the general public and entrepreneurial circles.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations. It has been supporting Academia Engelberg Foundation’s activities since 2013 and thus significantly contributes to the continued existence of the summer school.

A partnership with the University of Lucerne has existed since summer 2013. Since 2016 we have also a parthership with the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Lucerne. Through these partnerships, synergies are used and joint projects are tested and realized. The University of Lucerne currently consists of three faculties: the faculties for Theology, Culture and Social Sciences, and Law.

In 2014, Academia Engelberg Foundation formed a partnership with the University of Lund in Sweden. The University was founded in 1666 but general studies, predecessor of today’s University, already existed in 1425.

The focus of the Foundation is the promotion of organizations in the areas of culture and arts, architecture, design, music, sports, education, and science. It has been a partner of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2014.