On August 14, 2018, ABB will welcome a new group of Jürgen Dormann Foundation (JDF) scholars to Switzerland for a much-anticipated week of learning and exchange. The event, held every second year since 2010, has become a highlight for the engineering students the JDF supports through full scholarships and local ABB mentoring.
A packed program
This year, 60 students from JDF partner universities - in Bulgaria, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam - will delve into a series of presentations, discussions and hands-on activities. The group will visit ABB's Corporate Research Center in Dättwil to listen to ABB leaders share their perspectives on industrial digitalization, innovation and other ABB priorities. Participants will also learn more about ABB's vital role in the world's first fully electrical international FIA motorsport series, ABB Formula E.
Building on the success of the previous four events, the group will tour the labs at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and visit other iconic destinations, from an Alpine peak to a chocolate factory. The week will culminate with student technical presentations on pre-assigned topics, researched at home and explored in small teams during the week. The group work, according to past participants, is where some of the strongest connections are made. For many, the whole experience marks a first - academic conference, trip abroad, flight or, depending on the weather in the mountains, the first time seeing snow.
The ambitious week-long event, like the foundation itself, is in fact organized and run by ABB volunteers alone. Every year, over 100 ABB employees - with other primary responsibilities - make sure the JDF carries out its work: giving talented engineering students, in need of financial support, the chance to earn their degree and develop the skills that will help them become employable, no matter which path they follow.
In concrete terms, this means the ongoing involvement of ABB country organizations as well as of ABB headquarters in Zurich. The JDF, since its 2007 inauguration, has awarded 260 scholarships to students at 14 partner universities - which are also screened to ensure the right fit. Local HR colleagues not only manage the relationship with the universities, but also help select new JDF candidates while monitoring current scholars (who nee
d to maintain JDF standards and reapply every year). Appointed mentors from different ABB business units also contribute their time, helping each student prepare for the professional world.
"What sets the Foundation apart," says Chairman of the Foundation and ABB Chief Human Resources Officer Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, "is how committed ABB colleagues are in supporting the Foundation, in addition to their usual roles, and helping the students to fulfill their potential and realize their dreams. Every time a new enthusiastic group of students arrives in Switzerland for our event every two years, we get to see for ourselves what a difference the JDF makes."
All publicly available material is published in the JDF website.