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Leading bank sponsors five university chairs

The UBS bank has announced plans to sponsor the creation of five economics chairs at Zurich University as part of a multi-million franc investment in education.

Chief executive Sergio Ermotti said the bank would spend up to SFr150 million ($163.7 million) over the next decade on an international education initiative, including science topics at primary and secondary schools as well as apprenticeships and internships.

The dean of Zurich University, Andreas Fischer, said both sides agreed that the independence of research and teaching will be maintained.

Other major Swiss companies, including the luxury watchmaker Rolex, chemical company Syngenta, consulting company KPMG, Swiss Post as well as the Swiss Bankers Association are also known to sponsor academic institutions and research projects.

However, experts warn that the increasing involvement of commercial firms risks undermining the independence, continuity and focus of academic education in the long run.

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