The Bertarelli Foundation's aim is to effect real change in the fields of marine conservation and life science research. By developing partnerships with scientists, NGOs and governments, it is the Foundation’s hope that the projects it has helped to establish can lead the way in showing how some of the most critical issues we all face can be tackled.


The Bertarelli Foundation was founded in 1998 by Maria Iris, Dona and Ernesto Bertarelli. For the first ten years it worked primarily to establish and develop healthcare projects building upon the legacy of The Serono Foundation. In 2008 it refocused on two particular areas – marine conservation and life sciences. Both are of historic significance to the family. Serono – the company built by the Bertarelli family over three generations – was at the forefront of healthcare research, while each of the family have a deep and long-held affinity for the oceans.


In marine conservation, the Foundation helped to establish the Chagos Marine Protected Area in 2010, while two years later it supported the creation of a second reserve centred on the Turneffe Atoll in Belize. As well as establishing these sanctuaries, the Foundation is working with marine scientists from across the world to find out more about the protection these reserves provide as well as about the wider health of the entire ocean system.


In life sciences, the Foundation has also partnered with leading academic institutions to initiate research programmes that hope to have transformative outcomes. It works closely with both the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [EPFL] and with Harvard Medical School, sponsoring scientists at the forefront of their fields.


As well as its two main areas of focus, the Foundation and its sister organisation, La Fondazione Bertarelli, also support a number of more local community projects. These all have a personal connection to one or all of the foundations' Chairs and Trustees and range from arts festivals to sports education.

The two chairs of The Bertarelli Foundation are Ernesto and Dona Bertarelli. Their mother, Maria Iris Bertarelli and Ernesto's wife, Kirsty, are Trustees of The Foundation.