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UBS launches education initiative to mark its 150th anniversary

Zurich Media Switzerland Media Global

UBS is marking its 150th anniversary with the launch of a broad-based international education initiative. Its main focus will be the establishment of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society at the University of Zurich.  Five additional fields of education will be supported through the funding of projects for different age groups with the goal of strengthening Switzerland's reputation as a location for education and business.

Switzerland's economic success is due in large part to its attractive operating environment and its outstanding education system. Education will continue to be Switzerland's most important resource. UBS has decided to mark its 150th anniversary by launching a broad-based international education initiative. This will be made up of six distinct elements and is aimed at primary and high school students, university students, academics, entrepreneurs and people over 50. For UBS, this represents a sustainable, long-term investment in the future of Switzerland as an education and business location.

Collaboration with the University of Zurich enables top-flight research

The core of the UBS education initiative will be the creation of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society at the University of Zurich, which will be led by Professor Ernst Fehr. UBS will support the establishment of up to five chairs, the first of which will be endowed in 2012, at the Department of Economics of the University of Zurich. These chairs will facilitate cutting-edge research into issues related to economics and financial markets, covering a wide range of subjects and promoting interdisciplinary research. The UBS International Center will emphasize the practical application of knowledge by combining world-class research and entrepreneurial thinking.

Kaspar Villiger, Chairman of UBS's Board of Directors, commented, "The UBS International Center of Economics in Society is a unique educational project within Switzerland that will have outstanding international reach. We are particularly proud to be working in partnership with Professor Ernst Fehr, one of the most renowned economists of our time, on this project. Under his leadership and guidance, the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich has long been regarded as one of the top European institutions in the field of economics."

Wide range of education projects

In addition to the partnership with the University of Zurich, the education initiative includes projects for the following stages of education:

Primary and high school

  • Enhanced support for Explore-it, a platform that enables up to 20,000 primary school students to develop a greater interest in various scientific topics. The funds provided by UBS will be used to extend the project nationwide and develop innovative teaching and learning materials. With this expanded support, UBS will become the main sponsor of Explore-it.
  • Extension of UBS's current partnership with the Young Enterprise Switzerland (YES) organization, which organizes educational projects for young people jointly with businesses, schools and the government. This initiative is designed to teach young people to apply collaborative thinking, demonstrate entrepreneurialism and present themselves as confident and persuasive. With this extended commitment under the education initiative, UBS will become the new main sponsor of YES.


  • Creation of 150 additional apprenticeship positions within Switzerland over the next five years. The annual number of apprentices will increase by about 10%. UBS today employs approximately 900 apprentices making it one of the largest private employers of apprentices in Switzerland.


  • Creation of 150 additional internship positions around the world for students over the next three years as part of a special anniversary program. This program targets students at the beginning of their academic career.


  • Support for Genilem, an independent association that supports innovative businesses during their start-up phase. Genilem analyzes the business plans of start-up companies and also provides a network of mentors and partners, specialized training for budding entrepreneurs and professional long-term coaching which will last for a three-year period. UBS will also provide its own expert mentors and coaches for this initiative.
  • Support for the non-profit foundation KMU Next, which provides SMEs and micro-enterprises with the tools they need for the successful transfer or acquisition of companies. UBS will become a member of the foundation and a special advisor on succession management topics, an area of particular expertise.

People over 50

  • Support for the Passerelle 50plus project run by Switzerland's Speranza foundation. The project supports jobseekers over the age of 50 in finding suitable employment in the open job market. UBS has been a donor to the Speranza foundation for some years now. Additional funds from the UBS education initiative will be used to support and promote the activities of Passerelle 50plus across Switzerland.
  • Support for Zeitmaschine.TV, a project for encouraging inter-generational dialog. The UBS education initiative will provide support to expand this showcase project and make it available to a larger number of school students.

UBS will provide information on these specific educational projects at regular intervals and an inaugural symposium will be held at the UBS International Center of Economics in Society this autumn. Lukas Gähwiler, CEO UBS Switzerland, and Markus Diethelm, Group General Counsel, will act as ambassadors for this major commitment, developing the initiative and driving it forward.

For Group CEO Sergio P. Ermotti, the education initiative represents a unique opportunity: "Education will become Switzerland's greatest resource as it competes in the global arena, and this is especially true in the service sector. That's why it was important to us to include a wide range of projects in the UBS education initiative which will benefit different age groups as well as showing UBS's commitment to Switzerland to our clients and employees and the general public."

Media conference invitation

The University of Zurich and UBS would like to invite you to a media conference that will present this collaboration. The media conference will be held Thursday, April 19, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the University of Zurich. It will be attended by Professor Andreas Fischer, president of the University of Zurich, Professor Ernst Fehr of the Department of Economics, Councillor Regine Aeppli, president of the University Board, Kaspar Villiger, Chairman of the Board of Directors, UBS, and Sergio P. Ermotti, Group CEO, UBS.

Thursday, April 19, 2012
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
University of Zurich, KOL E 13
Rämistrasse 71, 8001 Zurich

For further information on the UBS Education Initiative, visit