Within the framework of the „University Alliance for Sustainability“, Freie Universität Berlin, together with its four strategic partners, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the University of British Columbia (Canada), St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and Peking University (China), will focus on sustainability as a comprehensive topic for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management. The new alliance will be under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam.
Freie Universität Berlin and its strategic partners see it as their responsibility to actively shape the discourse on sustainability and to meet global challenges with activities in all parts of the university. Forming this network under the topic of sustainability is a great chance to further develop structures to work with our most important partners worldwide.
From 2015 on, the University Alliance for Sustainability will be funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and use the partners’ complementary strengths to develop joint research and teaching projects, offer exchange options for faculty, staff, and students, and foster inter-institutional learning with regard to management issues. To this end, the partners will develop joint undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Student initiatives will be able to network with their counterparts at other universities. Funding will also be available for research stays for researchers, summer schools for PhD students, conferences on the topic of “Green Campus” for management personnel, and several study and internship abroad options.
The Alliance’s funding was won in a competitive call: the DAAD program “Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks” supports universities in building and developing partnerships as well as creating thematic networks with institutions abroad. During this funding period, 89 German higher education institutions applied for funding of up to 250,000 euros per year. A total of 28 projects will be supported for a maximum of four years, among them 10 strategic partnerships. With its Thematic Network “Principles of Cultural Dynamics,” Freie Universität had already been successful in this funding program’s last call in 2013, and is thus one of only six German universities being funded for both a thematic network and a strategic partnership. The program is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
For 2016, the University Alliance for Sustainability will offer the following exchange schemes for study and research stays at the four partner universities under the thematic framework of “Governance for Sustainable Development”. Please note that the exchanges have to be completed in 2016, a separate call for 2017 will be published later this year. Further information on the different actions and funding opportunities can be found on the UAS website.