Since 2018 networking projects from different subject areas are being supported by the University of Bern with three Interfaculty Research Cooperations IRC.
Each of these networking projects involves 9 to 13 research groups from at least two different faculties. They are each led by two people from different faculties.
The three IRCs launched in 2018 were approved by the Executive Board of the University of Bern in a competitive process. They are based on the five strategic priority topics of the University of Bern (Sustainability, Health and Medicine, Matter and Universe, Intercultural Knowledge, Politics and Administration).
A maximum funding of 1.5 million Swiss francs per year per IRC is provided and the duration is limited to four years.
The ongoing projects deal with the health of environment, animals and humans, with religious conflicts and with sleep.
«One Health: Cascading and Microbiome-Dependent Effects on Multitrophic Health»
The IRC One Health investigates how environmental chemicals affect the health of soils, plants animals and humans. In an integrated effort, 9 research groups from the Faculties of Science, Veterinary Medicine and Medicine quantify the impact of pesticides, heavy metals and plant toxins on microbial communities at the interfaces between soils, plants, animals and humans. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the collaboration aims at a better understanding of the impact of environmental change on the health of food chains.
The IRC One Health combines the priority topics "Sustainability" and "Health and Medicine" at the University of Bern by fostering interdisciplinary research on a relevant topic and current frontier in Life Sciences.
Managed by: Prof. Dr. Matthias Erb
Co-managed by: Prof. Dr. Andrew Macpherson
9 research groups with expertise in microbiology, environmental sciences, plant and animal health, human medicine and bioinformatics
«Religious Conflicts and Coping Strategies»
Despite the fact that conflicts with religious dimensions shape the past and the present, the significance of religion in social and political conflicts so far has not been conclusively identified or explained. The research cooperation strives for a context-sensitive understanding of the ambivalent role of religions in conflicts to be able to develop suitable coping strategies. The main objective of the project is to create analytical models which examine the different economic, social, psychological, cultural and political factors that contribute to conflicts, describing their relation to religious beliefs, religious rhetoric, religious motivations and actors. For this purpose, the 12 groups are researching past and current religious conflicts and coping strategies.
The content and the methodology of this IFK should make a significant contribution to two strategic areas of focus of the University of Bern: intercultural knowledge and sustainability.
Managed by: Prof. Dr. Katharina Heyden
Co-managed by: Prof. Dr. Martino Mona
12 interdisciplinary research groups from theology, law, science of religion, Islamic studies, Jewish studies, political science, history, sociology, psychology, media and communication studies, literature and philosophy
«Decoding Sleep: From Neurons to Health & Mind»
Sleep has remained almost unchanged in the course of evolution, which indicates its fundamental importance for survival. The research cooperation wishes to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of sleep, consciousness and cognition with the three areas of "Brain – Mind – Body". Finally, sleep-wake disorders could be the first signs of illnesses such as Parkison’s and dementia or depression. For this purpose, molecular and neurophysiological processes of sleep and sleep disorders and their link to brain damage, pain and infections is examined. In addition to this, with the aid of sleep, new insights should be gained into cognitive and neuroplastic processes. In this way, the importance of sleep for mental health, brain functions and physical performance in healthy and sick conditions are examined in animals and humans. New model calculations of sleep phases should be developed from the "big data" of individual project groups - with the aim of identifying new biomarkers for sleep and sleep disorders.
For this, the IRC can rely on the university center of excellence "Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)", the nationally operating "Bern Network for Epilepsy, Sleep and Consciousness (BENESCO)", internationally established networks and highly specialized infrastructures such as the "Sleep-Wake Epilepsy Center Bern", the "Center for Experimental Neurology" or the "Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine (sitem-insel AG)". Thanks to its focus on personalized medicine and biomedical technology, it contributes to the reinforcement of Bern as a medical center.
Managed by: Prof. Dr. med. Claudio Bassetti
Co-managed by: Prof. Dr. Fred Mast
13 research groups from neurology, psychology, physiology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, pneumology, infectiology and informatics