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Thank you!

Dr. Franz B. Humer, Chairman of the Foundation Board

We have been supporting especially talented young scholars for the past 17 years. Throughout all these years, I have received many thank you letters from doctoral candidates, which has always brought me great joy. Now, in the final year of our Foundation’s work, it is time to reverse the roles and for us to say a big thank you! Thank you for a productive time spent enjoying many fascinating encounters, listening to interesting and well-founded insights into various academic disciplines and reading sophisticated and compelling theses.

Allow me to explain something – right from the point at which our Foundation was set up, it was clear to Renate Gerber and I that we would be reliant on a close working relationship with the Universities of Basel, Salzburg and, in the first few years, Zurich – including as early as the selection stage for the doctoral candidates. Only the qualified teaching staff in the research areas of Africa (Basel), Europe (Salzburg) and Asia (Zurich) had the expertise required to produce a fair and proper evaluation of the various topics and hypotheses of a doctoral thesis. Today I can say that this close cooperation, over many years in the case of some lecturers, has proved its worth. As members of the Foundation Board, we have been able to get to know many of these professors, as well as the relevant members of the rectorates, on a personal level. We have always enjoyed successful administrative cooperation with the three universities. To all the coordinators in Basel, Salzburg and Zurich, I would like to say thank you.

I would also like to thank the members of our Foundation Board. With Renate Gerber as Vice Chairwoman, Gottlieb Keller, Urs Lauffer and myself, the Board has remained unchanged since the beginning, which is a testament to our commitment to our goal of providing talented young scholars with targeted support. The meetings of the Board were characterised by swift processing of statutory business and even more intensive discussions about individual thesis projects. In carrying out comprehensive preparation and follow-up work for our meetings, Urs Lauffer as executive member of the Foundation Board has ensured that we have been able to have a firm grasp of our duties at all times.

Without the professional work of our office, headed up by Stéphanie Ramel and Fritz Frischknecht, we would not have been able to achieve as much as we have since the Foundation was established. Ms Ramel has maintained contact with the universities in impressive fashion and has contributed a great deal to our success. Fritz Frischknecht was our financial expert; not only did he prepare our annual financial statements, but worked closely with our banks too. I would like to thank both of them for their invaluable work.

But, on behalf of the Foundation Board, my biggest thank you goes to “our” doctoral candidates. I will look back on our personal encounters and conversations with great fondness. Such meetings enabled us to gain insights into certain problems and possible solutions that we otherwise would not have considered. With your theses, you have all created something valuable and enduring!

The realisation remains that, even after the Bologna Process reforms, theses are still considered to be of particular importance.

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