Fostering integrative risk management and new research talent


This partnership between the Swiss Re Foundation and the ETH Zurich Foundation extends a collaboration between Swiss Re and ETH Zurich Foundation that began in 2008 when ETH Zurich launched the Integrative Risk Management initiative, making it the leading center for research in this area.

As one of the world’s largest reinsurers, Swiss Re is particularly interested in supporting the development of new talent and research programmes in risk management. In 2008, Swiss Re therefore agreed to provide seed funding for the Integrative Risk Management initiative which was used to finance a chaired professorship in Integrative Risk Management and Economics within ETH Zurich’s Department of Management, Technology and Economics. In 2011 the ETH Risk Center was launched, an interdisciplinary competence centre devoted to risk research; communication and cooperation with industry, government agencies and the media; and state-of-the-art risk education.

Today the ETH Risk Center comprises 14 professorships, three of which are new chairs held by internationally recognised scholars: Antoine Bommier (Integrative Risk Management), Wanda Mimra (Risk and Insurance Economics) and Giovanni Sansavini (Risk and Reliability). These chaired professorships were made possible by grants from partners and donors including Swiss Re.

The ETH Risk Center conducts research, organises risk-related seminars for diverse stakeholders and supports practical solutions to humanitarian challenges, such as catastrophe prevention and emergency disaster relief. A growing portfolio of interdisciplinary research and education programmes attracts risk experts and scholars from across the world.

The goal of the project

The “Risk” project aims to increase the ETH Risk Center’s capacity to pursue research, attract talent and support interdisciplinary collaboration as well as international outreach. Special emphasis will be placed on supporting multiple generations of talent – that is, researchers at various stages of development – in their efforts to solve risk management problems around the world.


The Swiss Re Foundation's donation will support high-calibre scholars from the masters through the post-doc level and beyond and allow visiting scientists from academia and industry to take part in research and education activities at the ETH Risk Center. Through the initiative in total, per year, an additional ca. 4-5 positions on Master-/PhD level, ca. 5 Postdocs and about 6 visitors for periods of 3 months can be supported. In addition, an array of innovative research projects will be initiated that focus on the centre’s research specialties, including economic and financial crisis, social risks and conflicts, robustness of infrastructure systems and services and integrative risk management and system design.


The “Risk” initiative will not only generate concrete research insights but also help train a new generation of researchers to address the risk-related challenges that societies face in an integrative and collaborative manner.