EPFL embarks on a new approach to promoting talented students

Launches of the EPFL 50fifty campaign to support talented students © 2019 EPFL/Jamani Caillet

Launches of the EPFL 50fifty campaign to support talented students © 2019 EPFL/Jamani Caillet

EPFL launches on its 50th birthday the “50-Fifty” fundraising campaign. In doing so, EPFL is addressing donors globally and invests with them in its main capital: talented students.

What do the founder of Logitech Daniel Borel and astronaut Claude Nicollier have in common? Both studied at EPFL. “The best students contribute the most to the success of our university. After graduation, they become outstanding researchers, start-up founders and product developers – on all continents,” says Pierre Vandergheynst, Vice-President for Education at EPFL and chairman of the campaign, emphasizing the importance of outstanding talent for the university.

To offer talented students the best conditions, EPFL has launched the 50-Fifty global fundraising campaign to address companies, foundations, alumni and private donors. The aim is to provide assistance to exceptional students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. “The grant enables outstanding students to fully focus on their studies, thereby ensuring the excellence of EPFL for the long term,” says Vandergheynst, explaining the purpose of the campaign.

EPFL students can apply for the grant money in a multi-step process. The best students pursuing a bachelor’s degrees receive a stipend of 10,000 francs. For a master’s degree, the financial aid is 32,000 francs. With a new “business-training” lasting 3 years, the 30 best doctoral students will be trained in entrepreneurial thinking, leadership and project management. “By promoting talented students we generate even more demand for them in both industry and research,” says Vandergheynst.

Promoting talent based on the Anglo-Saxon model

EPFL is financing the talent promotion program that is part of the 50-Fifty campaign by engaging in fundraising typically seen in the English-speaking world. “The contributions that companies, alumni and philanthropists make go directly to talented students,” says Nathalie Fontana, Head of Fundraising at EPFL. “At the same time, the contributions also make them much more attractive on the market. It’s a quick and efficient way for the donors to make a real effect.”

Highly prestigious ambassador board

The importance that EPFL attaches to supporting talented students can be seen in the fact that well-known persons from business and research are ambassadors for the 50-Fifty campaign: Diane Bernard-Bruls, Déborah Heintze, Thierry Lombard, Philippe Petitpierre and Silvio Napoli. “I was a student myself at EPFL. So I know that a successful career needs a lot of support during the study phase,” says Silvio Napoli, EPFL alumnus and Chaiman of the Board of Directors of Schindler. “With the 50-Fifty campaign, EPFL has created ideal conditions for training the leaders of tomorrow. That’s why I’m committed to this program.”

Author: EPFL Philanthropy

Source: EPFL