Only with a fundamental understanding of what goes on in a disease can effective substances be sought in a targeted manner – and there are current examples of this. To strengthen basic research in his country, Heinrich Ursprung of Switzerland introduced priority programs that brought greater growth in federal funding for research.
Ursprung studied natural sciences at the University of Zurich. After ten years as an assistant, he went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. As president of ETH Zurich, he brought about a significant reorganization and increase in efficiency at the university. The Swiss national has co-authored some 160 scientific articles and 12 books on developmental biology, university administration and science policy, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold with Star for services to the Republic of Austria. Heinrich Ursprung is also a Fellow of Imperial College, London.