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The University of Bern has defined five priority topics in its research activities that are of significant social and scientific importance. The university intends to use its competences to make a special commitment in these areas. The university's position as an institute offering a full range of courses makes it possible to address these issues from a number of disciplinary approaches and in inter- or transdisciplinary teams.

The University of Bern has named sustainability as one of these key areas. It conducts excellent disciplinary, inter- and transdisciplinary research and teaching with an international focus on topics such as climate, managing global change (north-south) and trade regulation. Further areas of focus include biodiversity, sustainable land management and Gender Studies.

The University of Bern promotes the research on sustainability, particularly within  specialized, interdisciplinary research centers:

Centre for Development and Environment


The CDE is Switzerland's center of excellence for sustainable development. As one of the University of Bern’s strategic research centers, the CDE is tasked to embed sustainability throughout the university's research and teaching. The CDE conducts research and teaching on behalf of a more sustainable world. The CDE’s aim is to chart pathways to sustainable development and to initiate transformations in line with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research

Coral reef

The OCCR is the center of excellence for climate research at the University of Bern. With its research on climate change and its impacts on humans and ecosystems, the interdisciplinary research center makes an important contribution to a sustainable development. The OCCR considers the human dimensions of those unprecedented changes as well and imparts scientific information to decision-makers and the society – from the regional level up to the global level.

World Trade Institute


The WTI is an interdisciplinary center of excellence at the University of Bern that is dedicated to research and graduate-level studies at the interface between the fields of law, economics and political science. As one of the leading academic institutions for interdisciplinary research on international trade regulation and investment, economic globalization and sustainable development, the WTI contributes to a better understanding of the legal, economic, and political framework governing globalization and sustainable development.

Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies


The ICFG is conceived as a comprehensive network of disciplines and bundles the gender competencies of the University of Bern. As one of the centers of excellence of the University of Bern, the ICFG conducts inter- and transdisciplinary gender research at the interface between academia and practice.

Wyss Academy for Nature


With the Wyss Academy for Nature, a globally leading research and implementation center in the field of nature and people is being set up at the University of Bern. Teams of scientists will join forces with experienced experts and representatives from the fields of policy, business and civil society on four continents to develop innovations aimed at protecting nature and ensuring the sustainable use thereof. The Wyss Academy for Nature is made possible by the Bern entrepreneur and patron, Hansjörg Wyss. Three world-renowned research institutions of the University of Bern are involved in the Wyss Academy: the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) and the Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS).