Ernst Hafen is a Professor of Systems Genetics at ETH Zurich (Institute of Molecular Systems Biology) and former President of ETH. He has made seminal contributions to the field of developmental and cell biology and has received several prizes. In addition to over 30 years of academic research, he has founded and advised several biotechnology companies and is the president of the BIO-TECHNOPARK Schlieren-Zurich. As a trained geneticist, he has a strong interest in human genetics and personalised medicine. He posits, that an individual’s control over his or her personal health data, will be a key asset for better and more effective health care. In 2012, Ernst Hafen acted as a founding member of the Association Data and Health and is the president of MIDATA.coop (https://www.midata.coop), which he co-founded in 2015. Citizen-owned personal data cooperatives enable citizens to securely store, manage and control access to their personal data and form the basis for a fair and sustainable personal data economy.