Swiss philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss receives special award
Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss received a special prize for his generosity and support for Swiss science.
This content was published on May 18, 2022 – 12:32
The 86-year-old business magnate and philanthropist, who lives in the United States, received the 2022 Gallatin Prize from the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. The award was presented by the Swiss Minister of Economy Guy Parmelin.
“The continued commitment of Hansjörg Wyss and his foundation to support cutting-edge research in Switzerland and elsewhere is more than a gift: it is a strong symbol of confidence in science and in the scientists who bring it to life on a daily basis. “, saidExternal link Parmelin in his speech.
Over the past ten years, Wyss has donated more than 500 million Swiss francs ($502 million) to innovative research projects in Switzerland through its Wyss Centers and Academy in Zurich, Geneva and Bern. Each center works closely with leading Swiss universities, such as the two federal institutes, EPFL and ETH Zurich, on projects ranging from robotics to medicine. These have created more than 250 jobs and 25 spin-off companies.
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Wyss made his fortune by selling his company Synthes to the American multinational Johnson & Johnson in 2012. The magazine Forbes estimates his net worth at $5 billion. In 2017, he described him as “one of the most philanthropic people in the world”.
Wyss signed the so-called “Giving Pledge“External link to agree to donate the majority of his fortune to charity.
In the United States, he helped found the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.External link In Switzerland, he participated in the creation of Campus BiotechExternal link and its Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineeringExternal link in GenevaExternal link. In 2014, he donated $120 million to ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich for a joint medical research center. As president of the Fondation Beyeler, he is also involved in art and sport.
Wyss recently made headlines for his involvement in a consortium bid, led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, to buy English Premier League soccer club Chelsea. The UK government has yet to approve the sale of the London club, which was previously owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
The Gallatin PrizeExternal link, which is awarded every three to four years, celebrates people who have helped bring Switzerland and the United States closer together. The award is named after Albert Gallatin, born in Geneva in 1761, who served as the United States’ longest-serving Secretary of the Treasury, founder of New York University and the Bank of New York.
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