Campus - 05.09.2014 - 00:00 

Goal: top position in global research

The University of St.Gallen is launching two global profile areas which are intended to provide the economy and society with future-oriented solutions. The aim is to advance to a top position in global research.


8. September 2014. "Strengthening strengths" is the motto of the University of St.Gallen when it comes to being perceived as one of Europe's leading business universities in the future, too, and to advancing to a top position in global research in selected fields. With the Global Center for Customer Insight and the Global Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the HSG wants to achieve this, as the University Management announced on the occasion of its annual media meeting at the beginning of the Autumn Semester.

Extending existing competencies

Three to four areas of the University which are already well established in international academia and practice with their research, are intended to be strengthened in a concerted fashion in the next few years to enable them to develop into globally recognised profile areas. In this way, the following goals should be attained in an education landscape that is becoming increasingly more international, as President Thomas Bieger said:

  • providing essential stimuli in research
  • attracting internationally renowned researchers to the HSG and retaining them,
  • enhancing the quality of research and teaching in the fields concerned,
  • further reinforcing the University’s international reputation,
  • enabling an exchange of knowledge and economic effects for the region.

The global profile areas are intended to be endowed with approx. CHF 6-7m per annum. Funding will be ensured through public resources and third-party funds from research cooperation ventures. In a first step, the HSG is now launching two such profile areas.

Understanding purchasing decisions and purchaser behaviour

Novel and relevant insights into customers' thinking and behaviour are of crucial significance for companies in order for them to conduct marketing campaigns successfully in tomorrow's market. On the basis of the achievements and findings of the Center for Customer Insight (FCI-HSG), the new Global Center for Customer Insight (GCCI) is intended to become a place of globally recognised thought leadership in the field of research into purchasing decisions and purchaser behaviour. The FCI-HSG is already one of Europe's strongest research institutions and has extremely good contacts with practice, including ABB, Audi, BMW, Bühler, Hilti, Lufthansa, Die Post and Schindler. The research gamut ranges from behavioural branding, design and product development to brand and emotion, market research and data modelling. The future Global Center is intended to be run by Professors Andreas Herrmann, Torsten Tomczak and Wolfgang Jenewein.

A company's life cycle
The Global Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (GCE&I) is intended to be run and developed by the research team of Professors Oliver Gassmann, Dietmar Grichnik and Thomas Zellweger. The three professors exercise a substantial influence in their respective research fields of innovation (Gassmann), start-ups and young companies (Grichnik) and family businesses (Zellweger). Firms like Audi, BASF, Bosch, Bühler, Daimler, SAP and Swisscom have established cooperation ventures with them that span many years. The findings from the research projects with these partners are also made accessible to regional SMEs through working groups. Furthermore, additional benefit for the region is generated through numerous start-ups and spin-offs. The HSG Founder Lab with the Founders' Garage has a great impact on the start-up culture on the University campus and in the region.

The three chairs would cover the entire corporate cycle from start-up to business model development and innovation and corporate succession and corporate exit, said Oliver Gassmann, who presented the GCE&I. Also, he said, the Center was involved in leading projects like the Swiss Start-up Monitor, innovation research and corporate succession. With the current projects, as well as with new ones, the Center wants to become one of the world’s leading research institutions in entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as Europe’s Number One for companies with regard to questions surrounding these topics.

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