Strategic partnerships

Goal by 2023

Together with the other cantonal universities and national sustainability networks and organisations, BFH will make a substantial contribution to fulfilling the sustainability strategy of the Canton of Bern.

Why this topic is relevant for BFH

BFH has a large number of regional, national and international partnerships, especially in research and teaching. Through research partnerships, partnerships with civil society organisations and networks, BFH can strengthen its impact on the economy, on society and the environment in terms of sustainable development. Partnerships with other universities in teaching promote the professional and intercultural competences of lecturers and students - this also has a positive effect on the quality of BFH teaching.

Nearly 1000 research partnerships

In the year under review, the BFH maintained a total of 981 regional, national and international research project partnerships (previous year: 1,156). These were made up of partners from business (396), society, culture and the public sector (400), universities or Federal Institutes of Technology (128) and universities of applied sciences (57). The 360 partnerships in the Canton of Berne underline the important role of BFH in regional development.

SDSN Solution Initiatives 2021 – successful submissions

Within the framework of the Call for Solution Initiatives 2021 of SDSN Switzerland BFH is actively represented in both funded projects. The aim of the Solution Initiative is to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in Switzerland and beyond through scalable projects and activities.

Together with the University of St. Gallen, the University of Lausanne and WWF Switzerland, BFH-W's Sustainable Business Institute is working on the Curriculum Change@Business Education project to integrate sustainability knowledge and skills into business management degree programmes.

The Campus4Biodiversity project, led by BFH-AHB and with project partners SCNAT and scaling4good, aims to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity among future players in the construction industry and to provide them with knowledge, tools and networks to promote biodiversity in urban areas.

How BFH addresses this topic

Partner management is basically the responsibility of the departments. The BFH does not currently have any policies, guidelines or regulations for partnerships.

At BFH, there are individual partnerships with companies that are perceived controversially by the public or with business activities in non-sustainable sectors, such as the arms industry. In some cases, representatives of these companies sit on the advisory boards of the individual departments, whose task is to advise on strategic issues. 

In the area of sustainable development at the level of the university as a whole, BFH pursues its aims through memberships in networks and organisations such as SDSN Switzerland, Circular Economy Switzerland, Swiss Center for Design and Health, the Science et Cité foundation or the Sustainability Network of swissuniversities. Through its memberships, BFH can intervene in politics in an advisory capacity, help shape projects and programmes of national or international scope and/or use these as a platform for dialogue with other universities and/or society. For example, BFH is represented in the newly created expert group ‘Ernährungszukunft Schweiz’, in the steering committee of the national funding programme U Change or in several SDSN solution initiatives.

In addition, there are informal or project-based partnerships such as with WWF Switzerland, the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT), the Center for Development and Environment, Bern University, Focus Sustainability or the Wyss Academy for Nature.

In teaching, students have the opportunity to complete an exchange semester at one of over 120 partner universities. Individual departments also have more far-reaching partnerships with other universities, such as double or joint degrees or joint doctoral programmes.

In addition, there are a large number of departmental partnerships through which BFH makes active use of its expertise to promote social transformation.

The monitoring of partnerships in research and teaching is carried out by the Vice-President’s Office Research or the International Relation Office. In the area of sustainability, the Sustainable Development Commission is responsible for the BFH partnerships. At various departments, such as BFH-W, there is a partner management that regularly evaluates the partnerships.