Science Partners

The Wittener Institute for Family Business (WIFU) cooperates with professors and staff of the following 16 institutions via research projects and visiting professorships:

Bilkent University (Turkey)

Bilkent University – the first private, nonprofit university in Turkey – was founded on October 20, 1984, by Professor İhsan Doğramacı, M.D., with the fundamental aim of creating a center of excellence in higher education and research. The name “Bilkent” exemplifies this aim, since it is an acronym of “bilim kenti”: Turkish for “city of learning and science.” The University campus is located off the main highway to Eskişehir about 12 km. (10 miles) west of the center of Ankara, and covers an area of more than 500 hectares (1200 acres).

Link: Bilkent University


Cox Family Enterprise Center am Coles College of Business (Kennesaw State University; USA)

Since 1987, the Cox Family Enterprise Center (CFEC) has been dedicated to the research, education, and recognition of family businesses. The commitment to this fundamental economic and social unit has allowed the CFEC to support and guide family businesses through the innovative programming, outreach, and scientific research. The mission is to improve the wellbeing of family businesses through education for families and business leaders, recognition of the contributions family businesses make to society, and the scientific research of family businesses. As one of the first university-based centers of its kind, the CFEC remains on the cutting edge of family business education and research and has played a critical role in serving family businesses and furthering economic development. The premier program is the Executive MBA for Families in Business, the only one of its kind, offered to business-owning families around the globe. Today, two out of five Fortune 500 firms are family businesses. (Think Ford Motors and Wal-Mart). The majority of all U.S. companies are owned, operated, or otherwise managed by mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.

Link: Cox Family Enterprise Center

ESADE Business School (Spain)

ESADE is a modern, outward-looking academic institution, which contributes to the development of competent, critically minded individuals from its two educational areas: the ESADE Business School and the ESADE Law School. Through its historical links with the corporate world and society, it has become a lively platform for debate and social involvement.


Haute École de Commerce Paris (France)

Throughout its 125 years of history, HEC School of Management has continually attracted a special kind of individual – highly capable and talented, innovative, entrepreneurial, ambitious and open minded. HEC ‘s aim is to train the world leaders of tomorrow. Located in the heart of the thriving, diverse Paris business community, the school has earned international acclaim for its superior programs, groundbreaking research, and outstanding student body.

Link: Haute École de Commerce Paris


University Osnabrück (Germany)

The University Osnabrück comprehends itself as a university of the modern service society. As a University of Applied Sciences with  approved international degree programs and cooperations it bases its educational mandate on serving to an applied science in education, studies and research. Regionally tied to the West of the Lower Saxony, it is task and duty of the university to Osnabrück to offer a broad variety of learning opportunities that is practice orientated, flexible, and effectively adjusted to the changing educational needs of the society. In order to support lifelong learning the University sets great value on a wide variety of further education and training. Together with the University of Osnabrück the WIFU conducts the cooperation project “UnaSepa – Organisation und Strukturierung der Unternehmenserfolge durch Seniorpartnership innerhalb der Branche” (“UnaSepa – Organization and structure of business succession by seniorship within the industry”).

Link: Hochschule Osnabrück


IFERA (Spain)

Family business research, theory and practice are advancing rapidly. The field has reached a stage where there is a need for further quality improvement through enhanced collaboration and accelerated learning from best practices. IFERA, the International Family Enterprise Research Academy facilitates this process. Its vision is to be the driving force of an international network ensuring that family business, as a multi-disciplinary field, becomes a leading field in business research.



Indian School of Business (Hyderabad, India)

Die Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, Indien entwickelte sich durch den Bedarf nach einer hochklassigen Business School in Asien. Die Gründer – einige der erfolgreichsten Köpfe der akademischen und unternehmerischen Welt – setzten den Wunsch nach einer professionalisierten Ausbildung von Führungskräften für die Wachstumsmärkte Asien in die Tat um. Sie hatten erkannt, dass die sich schnell wandelnde Wirtschaftslandschaft schon bald junge Führungskräfte brauchen würde, die nicht nur ein Verständnis für die rasant wachsenden Märkte, sondern auch eine globale Sichtweise und internationale Orientierung mitbringen würden.  Die ISB hat sich ihrer Aufgabe verpflichtet, durch ihre innovativen Programme und herausragenden Fakultäten solche Führungskräfte hervorzubringen. Ausschließlich durch private Unternehmen, Stiftungen und Personen aus der ganzen Welt finanziert, die an ihre Vision glauben, versteht sich die ISB als non-profit Organisation. Das WIFU steht in besonders enger Kooperation mit dem Thomas Schmidheiny Lehrstuhl für Familienunternehmen und Wealth Management.

Link: Indian School of Business


Jönköping International Business School – CeFEO (Sweden)

Jönköping University is characterized by focused profiles, an international dimension in all activities, an entrepreneurial spirit and collaboration with surrounding society.
Jönköping University Foundation is one of three independent institutions of higher education (not state-owned) in Sweden offering postgraduate programs. Jönköping University operates on the basis of an agreement with the Government and are obliged to follow the statutes, ordinances and regulations relevant to the higher education sector.

Link: Jönköping International Business School – CeFEO


St. Gallen Center for Family Businesses (Switzerland)

The importance of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) for the Swiss economy is indisputable; the large majority of companies are SMEs, they provide, as in most economies of the world, two thirds of the jobs. The University of St. Gallen recognized the significance of SMEs early on. Therefore, more than five decades ago (1946) the “Swiss Institute for Small and Medium sized Enterprises” (KMU-HSG) was founded. The Institute is devoted solely, as the only one of its kind at this level in Switzerland, to supporting small and medium sized enterprises and does research in the area of SMEs, Family Business and Entrepreneurship.

Link: University St. Gallen


Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (Italy)

Università Bocconi, founded in 1902, was the first Italian university to grant a degree in economics. For a century, Bocconi has played a leading role in Italy’s social and economic modernization. It has remained true to its founding values of being a major research university, with democratic values and open to the world, as well as financially and politically independent. At the outset of the 21st century, Bocconi is contributing to the advancement of European higher education by teaching business and economic knowledge to prospective managers and researchers from all over the world.

Link: Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi


Universität Bayreuth (Germany)

Universität BayreuthUniversity of Bayreuth is a young international campus-university offering high standard courses, top class facilities and great student services. Bayreuth – renowned for the traditional Richard Wagner “Festspiele” – is a small yet lively university town centrally located between Berlin and Munich, Frankfurt and Prague. Franconian charm combined with 800 years of history, culture, international relations, business and research create the unique flair of Bayreuth. The WIFU cooperates with the University of Bayreuth mainly in form of visiting professors.

Link: Universität Bayreuth


Universität Bern – Institut für Organisation und Personal (Switzerland)

Das Institut für Organisation und Personal (IOP) ist ein wissenschaftlich unabhängiges Institut der Universität Bern, das sowohl national als auch international ausgerichtet ist. Schwerpunkte bilden die Fachgebiete Organisation und Personal als wichtige Komponenten der Unternehmensführung. Das IOP fördert das europäische und globale Denken. Geleitet wird das Institut durch Prof. Dr. Frauke Freifrau Marschall von Bieberstein (Abteilung Organisation) und Prof. Dr. Andreas Hack (Abteilung Personal).

Link: Institut für Organisation und Personal


Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium)

The University of Antwerp (UA) is characterized by its high standards in education, internationally competitive research and entrepreneurial approach. It was founded in 2003 after the merger of the three universities that were previously known as RUCA, UFSIA and UIA, the university’s roots go back to 1852. The University of Antwerp has approximately 11.000 students, which makes it the third largest university in Flanders. Over 1.000 of these students – exchange students not included – are from foreign countries, with a majority of EU countries. In order to face the challenges posed by the internationalization of European education and research, the University is part of the Antwerp University Association (AUHA).

Link: Universiteit Antwerpen


University College Dublin (Ireland)

The University College Dublin (UCD) is a dynamic, modern university where cutting-edge research and scholarship provide a stimulating intellectual environment – the ideal surroundings for learning and discovery. For over 150 years, UCD has produced graduates of remarkable distinction including famous surgeons, architects, entrepreneurs and five of Ireland’s Taoisigh (Prime Ministers). Perhaps the best known of all its graduates is the writer James Joyce, who completed his Bachelor of Arts at the university in 1902. Established in 1854, the university played a key role in the history of the modern Irish State and today it plays a leading part in shaping Ireland’s future. As Ireland forges a new identity through relationships with international partners, the university will adopt an increasingly international outlook.

Link: University of Dublin

University of Edinburgh Business School (Scotland)

The University of Edinburgh’s Academic structure is based on 3 Colleges containing a total of 22 Schools. The University of Edinburgh Business School is one of the most respected in the world, our programs among the most highly sought after. Our reputation is given further substance by our accreditation from a wide range of leading business education organizations and professional bodies.

Link: University of Edingburgh


University of the West of England (UWE) – Bristol Business School (England)

Through Bristol Business School’s diverse range of practical courses and research, with national and international links, the University of the West of England delivers an educational experience that enables students to meet their future career ambitions. It provides a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, higher research and professional development courses in key areas of business: Accounting and Finance, Economics, Enterprise, Human Resource Management, Leadership and Management, Marketing, Tourism. The portfolio of activities also includes consultancy, tailored courses and short courses to help the students meet the business needs of potential organizations.

Link: Bristol Business School


Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien – Forschungsinstitut für Familienunternehmen (Austria)

WUThe research work of the institute is theory guided and researchers of the institute want to examine different development stages of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with respect to their whole life cycle. Furthermore, research aims at the development of critical questions concerning recommended proceedings for SMEs and for protagonists of this context (entrepreneurs, employees, representatives, educational institutions, legislative body etc.). The institute represents basically a research concept that is behavioral oriented. This entails co-operations with disciplines affirming the basic socio-scientific concepts of Business Administration, especially of Economic Sociology and Economic Psychology. The institute wants to publish relevant research results in corresponding scientific journals that could best reach and address scientists of the respective research field.

Link: Forschungsinstitut für Familienunternehmen