The University of Bern in Switzerland has announced a commitment of 100 million Swiss francs ($101.64 million) from the Wyss Foundation to launch a research and implementation center focused on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Awarded as part of the $1 billion Wyss Campaign for Nature, the grant to establish the Wyss Academy for Nature will be matched by commitments of 50 million francs ($50.8 million) each over ten years from the Canton of Bern and the University of Bern. When fully operational in 2022, the independent academy will include researchers from the university's Centre for Development and Environment, the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and the Institute of Plant Sciences.
Through regional stewardship hubs located in Latin America, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Switzerland (Bern), the academy will work to develop, test, and apply innovations aimed at protecting nature and its sustainable use. To that end, up to six teams will provide the knowledge and expertise needed and a Synthesis Center will help mobilize additional leading experts to synthesize available knowledge for the global policy and research arena, while engagement platforms will institutionalize a continuous dialog with multiple actors and build alliances to secure sociopolitical support for change. According to the university, this approach has been tested in pilot projects in Kenya and Peru.
"The University of Bern is already one of the most important institutions for research regarding climate change, biodiversity, and land use," said University of Bern rector Christian Leumann. "The Wyss Academy for Nature enables us to combine these topics and to develop concrete future-oriented projects for nature and humans and implement them in defined areas....In this way, the University of Bern can consolidate its international and societal role."