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At present-day universities of most European countries, young, highly gifted students often lack the opportunity to further develop their talents. This is the case with respect to both their disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests.

ECE is an Europe-wide system that offers disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary courses for excellent European students at different university education levels from all university disciplines. The courses concentrate on topics that are scholarly and scientifically challenging and at the same time of great importance for the welfare of our societies. Courses are taught by internationally leading scientists in English. At the same time, ECE is an instrument for Europe to keep up with countries such as the U.S., China, or India in the international competition of science and research.

ECE courses are highly attractive by the fact that they offer to the students the worldwide best scientists and scholars in their discipline, and on the other hand to the lecturers the best European students in their discipline. This creates an outstanding platform for highly creative disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies, being extremely useful for the further development of future research agendas of the participants. It likewise gives them the opportunity to network with the excellent scientific community in the early days of studying.

The ECE does not provide funding itself. Instead, it establishes contacts and coordinates the cooperation of renowned European foundations and European institutions willing to organise a summer school in the framework of the ECE.

Head of Office

Gerhard Roth

Curriculum Vitae

Born 1942 in Marburg (Germany). Education and Degrees:
  • 1963-1969 Philosophy, German Literature and Musicology at the Universities of Muenster (Germany) and Rome (Italy).
  • 1969 PhD in Philosophy at the University of Muenster.
  • 1969-1974 Biology at the University of Muenster and University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1974 PhD in Zoology at the University of Muenster.
  • Since 1976 Professor of Zoology (Chair of Behavioral Physiology) at the University of Bremen, Department of Biology and Chemistry.
  • 1988-2008 Director, Brain Research Institute at the University of Bremen.
  • 1997-2008 Founding rector of the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study Delmenhorst.
  • Since 2003 President of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

Organizations supporting the ECE

Stiftung Mercator

Stiftung Mercator is one of Germany’s largest foundations. It initiates and funds projects that promote better educational opportunities in schools and universities. In the spirit of Gerhard Mercator, it supports initiatives that embody the idea of open-mindedness and tolerance through intercultural encounters, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and culture.

The foundation provides a platform for new ideas to enable people – regardless of their national, cultural or social background – to develop their personality, become involved in society and make the most of the opportunities available to them. In this way it wants to let ideas take flight. Stiftung Mercator takes an entrepreneurial, international and professional approach to its work. It has a particular affinity with the Ruhr area, the home of its founding family.


The Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) is dedicated to the support of the humanities and social sciences as well as science and technology in higher education and research. It funds research projects in path-breaking areas and provides assistance to academic institutions for the improvement of the structural conditions for their work. In particular, the Foundation perceives its mission in supporting aspiring young academics and in promoting interdisciplinary and international collaboration.

The foundation’s assets, amounting to about 2.4 billion euros, are invested so as to obtain the optimum longtermyield. The Foundation is economically independent and autonomous in its decision-making. It is thus able to provide funding in all branches of higher education and re search and supports projects within the field of the humanities and social sciences just as those within the field of the natural and engineering sciences and medicine. Since its beginnings the Foundation has supported about 29,300 different projects, providing funding to the tune of more than 3.6 billion euros.

Stiftung Mercator Schweiz

The Mercator Foundation Switzerland initiates and funds projects that promote better educational opportunities in schools and universities. It supports initiatives that embody the idea of open-mindedness and tolerance through intercultural encounters, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and culture. The foundation provides a platform for new ideas to enable people - regardless of their national, cultural or social background - to develop their personality, become involved in society and make the most of the opportunities available to them.

Schweizerische Studienstiftung

Since 1991 the Swiss Study Foundation has been supporting excellent students and postgraduates at universities and technical colleges who due to their personality, creativity and intellectual skills are in a position to contribute to science, business, culture and politics. The Foundation offers the students and postgraduates learning opportunities complementary to their studies, an individual mentoring and guidance scheme as well as financial support.

The Foundation supports the students throughout their university career up to their master or doctorate, in terms of both a comprehensive education in their chosen field and a general, interdisciplinary formation.

Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was founded upon the will of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, an Armenian oil entrepreneur and art collector, who settled in Portugal in 1942. The Foundation was established in Portugal in 1956, a year after his death.

With assets of approximately €3 billion and an annual expenditure of around €100 million, the Foundation’s activities focus on four distinct areas – Arts, Social Welfare, Education and Science – in Portugal and abroad, by awarding grants and scholarships and developing its own projects and initiatives in these fields. In Lisbon, in addition to a Museum which houses the founder’s art collection, the Foundation runs a Modern Art Centre, an Art Library, an orchestra and a choir.

In the field of Science particularly, the Foundation provides grants for the stimulation of creativity and scientific research, promotes collaborations between Science and Culture and strengthens the interaction between Science and Society. The Gulbenkian Science Institute (IGC) undertakes scientific research and postgraduate training in biomedicine, helping to nurture the future leaders of a new national scientific community. It operates as a 'host institution', providing an intellectual environment through its extensive resources and services for young Portuguese and overseas researchers, creating the opportunity for autonomous research groups and the development of projects over specific periods of time.

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Finnish Cultural Foundation

The Finnish Cultural Foundation comprises a Foundation, founded in 1939, and an Association, founded in 1937. Today, the Finnish Cultural Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Europe, with assets based on donations and bequests received over more than 70 years and deposited in its Central Fund, Regional Funds, and over 700 donor funds.


The Hertie Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Germany not connected to a company or ideology. It has assets of over 900 million euros and uses the revenues for public welfare projects.

True to the wishes of its founder, Georg Karg, the Hertie Foundation takes its direction from human circumstances and the challenges facing society in the future. It is active in the areas of pre-school and school, university, the compatibility of work and family life, and neuroscience.

The Hertie Foundation sees itself as a reform body creating incentives for change – by new approaches, additional know-how and by providing the necessary financial support. It bundles competence and continually extends its own know-how by sharing with project participants and partners. Visit us on facebook

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the organisation of German higher education institutions and their student bodies devoted to internationalising the academic and scientific research system. Through its scholarship programme, the DAAD enables students, researchers and instructors to take advantage of the best study and research opportunities available. It promotes transnational cooperation and university partnerships, and is the German national agency for EU higher education cooperation. Consequently, the DAAD supports Germany’s foreign cultural and educational policy goals, national scientific policies and development cooperation efforts. In addition to overseeing the International DAAD Academy, the DAAD operates a network of 70 branch offices and Information Centres worldwide

SCCER Mobility

The Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research - Efficient Technologies and Systems for Mobility (SCCER Mobility) aims at developing the knowledge and technologies essential for the transition of the current fossil fuel based transportation system to a sustainable one, featuring minimal CO2 output and Primary Energy Demand as well as virtually zero-pollutant emissions.

Innovation Field A deals with components and devices: Capacity Area CA A1 aims at new battery technologies, CA A2 at optimal use of renewable chemical energy carriers for fuel cells and combustion engines and CA A3 at the minimization of vehicular energy demand (lightweighting and thermal management). Innovation Field B composes of CA B1 targeting infrastructure, logistics and ICT-systems and CA B2 covers the assessment of the transportation system.

The program aims at creating synergies at the interfaces of these five Capacity Areas serving as virtual research teams, composed of new and rededicated key research positions from ETH-Domain and the Universities of Applied Sciences. Many relevant Swiss and foreign companies are actively involved in various SCCER Mobility research projects.

Energy Science Center EPFL

Established in April 2006, the EPFL Energy Center is headed by Prof. Berend Smit. Its foremost role is to coordinate and promote state-of-the-art research activities related to energy in collaboration with EPFL laboratories, which are renowned world-wide both for evolutionary as well as for disruptive R&D. Around 30 EPFL laboratories have energy-related research activities, ranging from electricity to renewables, from energy efficiency to storage.

The Energy Center seeks to create, coordinate, and implement research projects that emphasize the skills and scientific resources of several faculties, institutes and laboratories of EPFL, as well as other national or international institutions.

Furthermore, the Energy Center offers an infrastructure that encourages and facilitates sustained and mutually beneficial interactions between the industry and the laboratories of EPFL. Its goal is to become a privileged access point to all energy-related resources at EPFL, both for industry and academic partners.

As far as education is concerned, the Energy Center contributes to various courses in energy, as well as supervises PhD and master thesis.