Michael Gibbert appointed co-president of the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students


Institutional Communication Service

2 January 2020

Michael Gibbert is professor at USI Institute of Marketing and Communication Management. He has been appointed – together with prof. David Giauque of University of Lucerne - co-president of the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) for the four-year term 2020-2023.

Each year, the Swiss Confederation awards Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists with the aim of promoting international mobility and cooperation in the field of research between Switzerland and more than 180 countries. The Commission is comprised of representatives of Swiss universities. Michael Gibbert has been representing USI since 2012, chosen for his international and multilingual background which is marked by a series of studies and research projects in business administration at the Universities of St. Gallen, Stellenbosch (South Africa), Bocconi and Yale.

The idea of sharing the role of President of the Commission with another colleague was brought up by Gibbert himself who sees the importance of multilingual representation as an essential point: "the Commission is very collaborative, interdisciplinary and pays great attention to the individual in the choice of candidates. The co-presidency with Giaque, who comes from the French speaking region of Switzerland, brings representation of the three linguistic regions and promotes cultural exchange and mutual understanding within the same committee", explains Gibbert.

The Commission not only gives researchers from developed countries the opportunity to improve their skills, but also contributes to the field of development cooperation, giving students from developing countries the opportunity to acquire further training. "The key concept of the work of this Commission, which I have been carrying out with passion for some years, is precisely that of 'life-changing scholarships': it is an important tool for the Confederation to export the excellence of its education system and give young people from different developing countries the opportunity to carry out part of the training courses in Switzerland and then return to their countries enriched by this experience," says Gibbert. These young scholars are defined as "Ambassadors of Switzerland", bringing their network of knowledge and contacts acquired in Switzerland to their own country.

The research grant is awarded to the individual candidate (doctoral and post-doctoral students, for a period of one to three years): it is up to the candidate to find a host university and identify the professor in his/her field of research. The Swiss Embassies negotiate with the different countries to determine the number of scholarships available. "The Swiss host must also be able to take up this challenge and devote time to the young researcher, following him/her along the path and giving him/her the right input to turn his/her career around. The exchange is enriching for both, both culturally and in terms of training," Gibbert points out.