The Bertarelli Foundation was founded in 1998 by Maria Iris, Dona and Ernesto Bertarelli in memory of Fabio Bertarelli and supports projects in three fields: Neuroscience research, marine science and conservation, and support for local communities.
In neuroscience, its #BertarelliNeuro projects have seen it establish the Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering, a joint research and education initiative between the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Harvard Medical School. Launched in 2010, the aim of this collaboration if to bridge the existing gap between basic and translational neuroscience by bringing together the complementary specialties of two world-class universities. By encouraging and fostering partnerships, the Bertarelli Foundation aims to quicken the pace of research with the hope of bringing medical advances to patients, as quickly as possible.
In addition, the Foundation funds four Chairs at EPFL’s Center for Neuroprosthetics, which is now based at Campus Biotech, the life sciences hub for the Lake Geneva region. The fourth of these Chairs, recently announced, is in the field of gene therapy and its funding was accompanied by the launch of a new Catalyst Fund at Campus Biotech to promote and accelerate interactions between research teams based at the hub.
Marine conservation and science
In marine conservation and science, and in recognising the benefits of bringing minds together, the Bertarelli Foundation recently developed the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science to provide long-term funding to the best academic institutions to deliver transformative progress in marine science. Each organisation brings its own expertise to the research programmes and, with the support of the Bertarelli Foundation, tackles some of the most important and challenging questions in ocean science in the British Indian Ocean Territory.
This large, remote, near pristine, no-take Marine Protected Area presents an ideal location to undertake an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the role of these complex ecosystems for mobile species such as tunas, sharks, turtles, and seabirds. It also provides an important study site to understand the resilience large marine reserves offer to coral reef habitats in the absence of fishing and other anthropogenic pressures.
The Bertarelli Foundation also supports a number of projects in local communities in places with which the trustees have personal connections. These vary in their focus, but they all are designed to have maximum impacts on the lives of local people. One such project at Harvard University has supported the Innovation Lab which was founded in 2011 as a resource for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. The Bertarelli Prize is awarded to the winners of the annual President's Innovation Challenge and has inspired the development of innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. Previous Bertarelli Prize winners have addressed issues such as overcoming resistance to HIV retroviral therapies, improving the effectiveness of in-vitro fertilisation, and how to more effectively share medical data between patients and healthcare professionals.
More at www.fondation-bertarelli.org