Portrait Priority Topics

The University of Bern has defined five priority topics in its research activities that are of great social and scientific importance. These are the areas where the University of Bern particularly wants to contribute its expertise. Its position as a comprehensive university creates the foundation to investigate these topics from diverse disciplinary perspectives and in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams.


The University of Bern conducts excellent disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research with an international focus on topics such as climate, tackling global change and regulating world trade. It also focuses on biodiversity and natural resources research, particularly research into water and energy.

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Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

The CDE is the Swiss competence center for sustainable development and one of the strategic centers of the University of Bern. Research at the CDE is conducted in the service of a sustainable world. The aim is to develop pathways to sustainable development and initiate transformation processes in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

The OCCR is the competence center for climate research at the University of Bern. With its research on climate change and the effects on humans and ecosystems, the interdisciplinary center makes an important contribution to sustainable development. The OCCR communicates scientific information to decision-makers and society.

World Trade Institute (WTI)

The WTI is an interdisciplinary center of the University of Bern that conducts research at the interface between law, economics, and political science. The WTI's research topics include world trade and investment regulations, economic globalization, and sustainable development.

Wyss Academy for Nature

The Wyss Academy for Nature is a leading research and implementation center in the area of nature and people. Teams of scientists on four continents work together with experts in the field and representatives from politics, business and civil society to develop innovations for the protection of nature and its sustainable use.

Health and Medicine

In the areas of biomedicine, medical technology, neurocognition, host-pathogen interaction, dentistry, and physical and mental health, the University of Bern, in collaboration with partner institutions, provides cutting-edge services in human and veterinary medicine. The close networking of experimental and clinical research, biotechnology, and engineering contributes to the establishment of Bern as a leading international medical location.

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Faculty of Medicine

The close connection between basic research, clinical and engineering sciences creates the best conditions for cutting-edge medical research, innovation, and translation. The Faculty of Medicine focuses on the specific needs of patients and aims to ensure that its solutions quickly find their way into practice. In addition to the preclinical institutes and the dental clinics, the Faculty also includes the two university hospitals Inselspital and the University Psychiatric Services (UPD).


Vetsuisse Faculty (veterinary medicine)

The Vetsuisse Faculty conducts basic and applied clinical research in three specific research fields: Animal health and welfare, Sustainability and biodiversity, Infectious diseases and One Health. The common goal is the further development of veterinary medicine for the benefit of animals and humans. The Faculty operates, among others, the Bern Veterinary Hospital with its veterinary clinics.

Matter and the Universe

The University of Bern conducts cutting-edge research in the field of particle physics and space research, particularly in the area of theoretical and empirical particle physics and in the field of the formation, development and habitability of planets and the origin of life.

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Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics (AEC)

The AEC conducts cutting-edge research in fundamental physics, with a focus on experimental and theoretical particle physics and their applications as well as related spin-offs and outreach activities.

Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

The CSH fosters interaction between disciplines interested in the formation, discovery, and characterization of other worlds within and beyond the solar system, for our search for life in other parts of the universe, and for the implications for other disciplines outside the natural sciences.

Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Faculty of Science

All the institutes of the Department of Physics and Astronomy are involved in this priority topic. These include the Astronomical Institute (AIUB), Institute of Applied Physics (IAP), Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) and Institute of Physics.

National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) "PlanetS"

The NCCR PlanetS investigates the origin, evolution, and characterization of planets. The various research groups combine astronomical observations, measurements using spacecraft, laboratory work, and modeling to contribute to a better understanding of the planets.

Intercultural Knowledge

In an increasingly globalized world, cultural exchange and the understanding of one's own and other cultures and religions is becoming ever more important. Through its research, the University of Bern aims to foster the reflection on cultural values and cultivates high-quality research activities in this area that are international as well as trans- and interdisciplinary.

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Faculty of Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities is a lively and innovative environment for studies in the humanities and cultural sciences. The Faculty's research spectrum includes history, linguistics, literature and the arts. Other key areas are philosophy, religious studies, archeology, and social anthropology.

Faculty of Human Sciences

The Faculty of Humanities distinguishes itself through its active and high-quality research activities. A variety of projects are carried out in the research fields of educational science, psychology, and sports science.

Faculty of Theology

Research at the Faculty of Theology is distinguished by its focus on Christian Catholic and Protestant theology, and Jewish and interreligious studies. A strong practice-oriented and critical approach is part of the Faculty's contemporary profile.

Politics and Administration

The research activities of this priority topic are primarily geared towards the needs of politics and administration in the national capital region, particularly in the legal, economic and social sciences, which are oriented towards international standards. Special focus is placed on the state network industries.

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Faculty of Law

The research of the Faculty of Law is built on a solid scientific foundation, including interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary areas in the basic subjects, in public, private and commercial law as well as criminal law and criminology.

Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences

In addition to research in the fields of business administration and economics, political science, sociology, and communication and media studies, the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences participates in various interdisciplinary research centers at the University of Bern.

Strategic Centers