BFH secures access to European cooperation project

28.06.2024 Together with nine European partner universities, Bern University of Applied Sciences successfully applied for cooperation projects in the field of sustainable development of cities and communities. The population and SMEs in the canton of Bern and the rest of Switzerland will also benefit from this.

For BFH, this decision is capital, as Swiss universities now only have limited access to EU research funding and the European Education Area as a result of the non-association of Switzerland to the EU programmes Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. “The fact that BFH can participate in a consortium of universities with exciting projects is invaluable. Unhindered access to the European education and research landscape is vital,” stresses Sebastian Wörwag, President of BFH.

The EU has been funding international university alliances since 2020. The aim is to make European universities fit for the future by promoting interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and international cooperation. A total of 50 alliances with 430 universities have been funded to date, including the new PIONEER Alliance, of which BFH is a member.

Solutions for the development of urban spaces

Several of the world’s top universities participate in the PIONEER Alliance, amongst which the Université Gustave Eiffel, the Università IUAV di Venezia and Cologne University of Applied Sciences. The partners combine technical and cultural-social disciplines to provide answers to the pressing issues in the sustainable development of urban spaces. These include aspects of social sustainability such as health promotion and safety, but also ecological challenges in the field of energy supply and mobility. In particular, interdisciplinary research projects and joint study programmes are planned in order to better connect researchers and students with international and regional partners in politics, business and the field of innovation.

“The sustainable development of urban spaces is one of our strategic priorities. With its cross-disciplinary approach, PIONEER is a particularly good fit for BFH. The international alliance gives us the opportunity to share best practices with other countries and to collaborate on cross-border solutions,” emphasises Sebastian Wörwag. As a result, the alliance will benefit sustainable development in the canton of Bern and beyond.

Limited access to EU programmes

Due to Switzerland’s non-association with Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, Swiss universities only have a limited access to EU programmes. Due to political circumstances, Swiss higher education institutions are currently severely disadvantaged and in a weaker position. Affiliation to European alliances has therefore become even more important for Switzerland and its universities.

Find out more

Category: University of applied sciences