Fostering integrative risk management and new research talent

Zurich, 26 August 2013. Swiss Re and ETH Zurich are renewing their long-standing partnership for another five years. By donating CHF 5M to ETH Zurich Foundation, Swiss Re Foundation supports activities coordinated under ETH Zurich’s strategic initiative Integrative Risk Management. Specific beneficiaries are talents and experts enrolled in research and education at the ETH Risk Center as well as selective research collaborations. The donation is part of Swiss Re’s 150 year anniversary endeavours.

The partnership is the continuation of an earlier engagement between Swiss Re and ETH Zurich commenced in 2008 when ETH Zurich launched the Integrative Risk Management initiative to become the leading centre for research in the management of risks. As one of the largest global re-insurer Swiss Re is particularly interested in supporting the build-up of new talent and research programmes in this field. Therefore, Swiss Re agreed to kick-start the creation of a new professorship in Integrative Risk Management in the Department of Management, Technology and Economics that led eventually to the 2011 launched competence centre on risk issues, the ETH Risk Center.

Today the ETH Risk Center counts 14 professors of which two new chairs are held by the internationally well-recognized Professors Bommier (Integrative Risk Management) and Mimra (Risk and Insurance Economics); in addition, Prof. Sansavini (Risk and Reliability) is to be elected as member of the Risk Center by the end of this year. These chairs have been made possible by the bestowment of partners and donors such as Swiss Re. A growing portfolio of interdisciplinary research and education programmes attracts risk experts and scholars from across the world.

"Five years ago the Swiss Re engagement created a lot of momentum in the field of risk research and the achievements since then are absolutely astonishing. The risk landscape is becoming even more complex and challenging. This is why we renew our partnership: to create in Zurich a world leading knowledge base on risk by investing in the next generation of expert scientists," says Michel Liès, Group CEO Swiss Re and Vice Chairman Swiss Re Foundation. "Next generation talents and innovation" is the motto for Swiss Re's activities launched this year to celebrate the company's 150-year anniversary.

Swiss Re Foundation's donation will support excellent scholars from Masters to Post-doc level and beyond, and will allow visiting scientists from academia and corporations to get enrolled in the research and education activities at the ETH Risk Center. In addition, a new array of innovative research projects will be rolled out focusing on the Center's research fields including Economic and Financial Crisis, Social Risks and Conflicts, Robustness of Infrastructure Systems and Services, and Integrative Risk Management and System Design.

"We are very grateful for Swiss Re Foundation's engagement. The donation enables ETH Zurich to attract the most renowned scientists specialised in risk research, develop novel courses on systemic risks and nurture the next generation of risk experts – and by doing so help societies to better manage risk portfolios and to design novel solutions and collaborative risk reduction schemes" says Ralph Eichler, President of ETH Zurich and Vice President of the Board of Trustees of ETH Zurich Foundation.

Partners of the ETH Integrative Risk initiative are Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, AXA Research Fund, swisselectric, and KPMG. They meet twice a year at the Partnership Council to discuss risks emerging from socio-technical systems, population growth, shifting demographics, new technologies, the increasing density of assets, the growing frequency and consequences of hazardous events, and the vulnerability of an aging or increasingly stressed infrastructure.


Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "A1" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN.

Swiss Re Foundation is a non-profit organisation committed to care and concern for society and the environment.  Launched in 2012 by global re/insurer Swiss Re, the Foundation aims to make people more resilient towards natural hazards, climate change, population growth, water scarcity and pandemics, along with other challenges to society's security, health and prosperity. It also supports community projects and employee volunteering in locations where Swiss Re has offices.

ETH Zurich has come to symbolise excellent education, groundbreaking basic research and applied results that are beneficial for society as a whole. Founded in 1855, ETH Zurich has more than 17,000 students from approximately 80 countries, 3,700 of whom are doctoral candidates. Today, it offers researchers an inspiring environment and students a comprehensive education as one of the world’s leading universities for technology and the natural sciences. 21 Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, underscoring the excellent reputation of the institute.

The ETH Zurich Foundation unites companies, private individuals, foundations with ETH Zurich. As the leading technology and science foundation, it supports the university in achieving its most important strategic objectives in education and research. Funding partners benefit from access to bold, high-quality partnerships with one of the best universities anywhere in the world, and the opportunity to work together to push boundaries.