Bertarelli Foundation

The Bertarelli Foundation is a private foundation founded by the Bertarelli family; brother and sister Ernesto and Dona Bertarelli, who are co-Chairs of the Foundation, and their mother, Maria Iris Bertarelli. It was established in 1998 in memory of Fabio Bertarelli and is based in Gstaad, Switzerland.[1] For ten years, the Bertarelli Foundation focused on promoting an understanding of infertility, especially multiple gestations.[2] This reflected the work of the family’s business, Ares-Serono, in the field, including its development of influential infertility treatment Pergonal.[3] Following the sale of Serono, the Bertarelli Foundation refocused its activities onto the fields of marine conservation and neuroscience research, as well as projects in their local communities.[4] The Foundation has a sister organisation in Italy, the Fondazione Bertarelli, which promotes cultural activities in Tuscany, where the family’s ColleMassari wine estate is located.[5]

Bertarelli Foundation
Typeprivate foundation
IndustryMarine conservation and science, Health and life science
Key people
Ernesto Bertarelli, Dona Bertarelli, Maria Iris


Marine conservationEdit

The Bertarelli Foundation is active in the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), both in terms of providing material support and in terms of advocacy. In 2010 it worked with the British Government to provide the financial backing to enable the designation of the Chagos Marine Protected Area in the British Indian Ocean Territory.[6]

In 2012, the Foundation provided the funding and practical support to advance the designation of a marine reserve centred on the Turneffe Atoll in Belize, which is part of the largest and most biodiverse coral reef system in the western hemisphere.[7][8]

In 2015, it again partnered with the British Government and also with the Pew Charitable Trusts for the creation of a marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands. In 2017, a 740,000 km² MPA was created off the coast of Easter Island.[9][10][11] The Bertarelli Foundation, in partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts, supported the campaign for the MPA’s creation as part of a developing partnership which has now become the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, and is led by Dona Bertarelli.[12] The Pew Bertarelli project was also involved in the campaign to create the Revillagigedo Archipelago National Park which was announced by Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto in November 2017.[13] The Foundation and Pew are also advocating for the creation of a marine park around the South Sandwich Islands on the edge of the Antarctic.[14]

As well as its work to create and advocate for the creation of marine protected areas, the foundation established the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science in 2017, partnering with universities from around the world to advance ocean science in the Indian Ocean.[15] Several expeditions to the territory have already taken place, with reports published on the British Government’s BIOT website.[16]

Neuroscience researchEdit

In 2010, the Bertarelli Foundation entered into a partnership with Harvard Medical School and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to a joint neuroengineering programme, the Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering.[17][18] The aim of the programme is to foster collaboration in neuroscience between the two institutions.[19] The partnership also endowed a Bertarelli Chair at Harvard Medical School and there is an annual symposium held at which findings from the programme are discussed.[20] In 2014, the partnership was renewed, with funding of $3.6m provided to five projects of three-year duration between scientists at Harvard Medical School and bioengineers at EPFL. Three of these projects focus on new methods to diagnose and treat deafness; the fourth on cell transplantation strategies to reverse blindness; and the fifth on dealing with difficulties in diagnosing children with autism.[21] The programme also sponsors an exchange programme for students at the two institutions.[22] In 2018, the Bertarelli Foundation donated $6.35m to Harvard Medical School for research in sensory disorders.[23]

The foundation also sponsors four chairs at EPFL’s Center for Neuroprosthetics,[24] which is now located at Campus Biotech in Geneva, the former Serono headquarters bought back by a consortium led by Ernesto Bertarelli to be a life sciences hub for the region.[25] They are Professor Olaf Blanke, Professor Stéphanie P. Lacour, Professor Mackenzie Weygandt Mathis and Professor Silvestro Micera.[26]

In 2017, the Bertarelli Foundation gave a further 10 million Swiss francs to EPFL to further develop research into neurological disorders.[27][28] Half of the donation will fund a new gene therapy platform at Campus Biotech in Geneva; the other half will create a new catalyst fund to further collaboration at the same institution.[29]

Other activitiesEdit

In 2008 the Bertarelli Foundation funded a new classroom and a medical centre at Henna Pre-School in South Africa having visited the school during a family holiday.[30][31]

In 2014, it partnered with Harvard Business School to establish the Bertarelli Foundation Health & Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Fund. A separate gift of $3 million created the Bertarelli Catalyst Fund for the Dean of HMS.[32] As part of the funding, a Bertarelli Prize is awarded to a winning team from the Harvard i-Lab for those students “pursuing innovative solutions to improve healthcare and patients’ lives”.[33]

In 2014, the Bertarelli Foundation donated $3 million to Babson College to create a new faculty chair, the Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship. In 2017, Babson named William B. Gartner to the post.[34][35]

In Stoke-on-Trent, Kirsty Bertarelli, the former wife of Ernesto Bertarelli and a former trustee of the Bertarelli Foundation, has launched projects supporting YMCA North Staffordshire and the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, which takes place annually at the Emma Bridgwater factory in the city and which was established by former MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, Tristram Hunt.[36][37]


  1. ^ "HBS gift establishes entrepreneurship fund". Harvard Gazette. 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  2. ^ Germond, Marc (2007). "The Bertarelli Foundation's actions in the field of multiple gestations". Reproductive Biomedicine Online. 15 Suppl 3: 1–5. doi:10.1016/s1472-6483(10)62242-0. ISSN 1472-6491. PMID 18598600.
  3. ^ Andrea Adelson (1995-02-26). "Wall Street; A Fertility Drug Grows Scarce". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  4. ^ College, Babson. "Bertarelli Entrepreneurship Chair|News & Events". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  5. ^ "Fondazione Bertarelli". (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  6. ^ "Billionaire saves marine reserve plans". The Independent. 2010-09-12. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  7. ^ "The Reporter Newspaper – British billionaires will adopt Turneffe Atoll £3 million to make it a marine reserve". Archived from the original on 2018-03-27. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  8. ^ "Belize declares new marine reserve around Turneffe Atoll | Fauna & Flora International". 26 November 2012. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  9. ^ Amos, Jonathan (2015-03-18). "Huge marine reserve for Pitcairn". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  10. ^ "U.K. wants eyes in the sky to keep watch on its record marine reserve". Science | AAAS. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  11. ^ "Chile creates reserve around Easter Island to protect marine life". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  12. ^ Neslen, Arthur (2017-09-09). "One of world's largest marine parks created off coast of Easter Island". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  13. ^ Weisberger, LiveScience, Mindy. "Mexico Designates North America's Largest Ocean Reserve". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  14. ^ Gill, Victoria (2017-09-28). "Bid to protect Antarctic UK territory". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  15. ^ "Assessing two years of back-to-back reef changes in the Chagos Archipelago". Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  16. ^ "2016 Science Expeditions | British Indian Ocean Territory". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  17. ^ "Ernesto Bertarelli réunit l'EPFL et la Harvard Medical School". Bilan (in French). Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  18. ^ Mitchell, Michael David (2010-10-29). "Harvard and EPFL announce joint program in neuroengineering". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^, Rita Emch in Boston. "Swiss and US neuroscience research gets boost". SWI Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  20. ^ "Harvard Medical School Accepts $9M Gift | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  21. ^ "Engineering Research Partnerships To Launch in Jan. | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  22. ^ "Back at EPFL after a year in Harvard | STI". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  23. ^ "Bertarelli Foundation redoubles its investment in Harvard Medical School research". Harvard Gazette. 2018-07-16. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  24. ^ "Sponsors | CNP". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  25. ^ "Swiss billionaires buy Merck Serono HQ for biotech campus". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  26. ^ "Principal Investigators | CNP". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  27. ^ "Campus Biotech". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  28. ^ "Ernesto Bertarelli: "Nous souhaitons agrandir le Campus Biotech à Genève"" (in French). Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  29. ^ "Des Chinois au Campus Biotech et un gros chèque". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  30. ^ "The ballad of the billionaire". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  31. ^ "Lion Sands Tinga Lodge". Lion Sands Tinga Lodge. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  32. ^ "Bertarelli Foundation Gift Names Deans' Health & Life Sciences Challenge Prize - Alumni - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  33. ^ "2016 Harvard Deans' Challenges winners announced". Harvard Gazette. 2016-05-17. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  34. ^ "Babson College establishes Bertarelli Foundation chair of family entrepreneurship - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  35. ^ College, Babson. "Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  36. ^ "Songstress releases festive single with YMCA North Staffordshire choir - YMCA England & Wales". YMCA England & Wales. 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  37. ^ (2014-04-01). "Tristram Hunt MP: Launching the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival this June". Retrieved 2018-03-08.

External linksEdit