University of Fribourg receives largest ever private donation
Fribourg – Swiss businessman Adolphe Merkle has donated EUR62.5 million to Fribourg University to encourage research and education. The largest-ever private donation to a Swiss university is earmarked for research in the natural sciences, and will be partly used to set up an institute of nanomaterials. The 83-year-old Merkle, who graduated from the university in the 1940s, said he wanted to “give something back to Fribourg”.
The Adolphe Merkle Institute will be attached to the faculty of sciences at the university, and will invest its annual budget of more than EUR3 million in interdisciplinary research into nanomaterials. The institute will allow Fribourg to build on its expertise in nanomaterials, a field which has been researched there since the 1980s. The institute will consist of four research groups led by professors hired for the purpose, and will open early next year. One of the other initiatives to be supported by the foundation is a new chair of innovation management, which will teach students how to bring an idea to commercial fruition.