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), focus on sustainability as a comprehensive topic for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management. The new alliance is 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 discuss 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.
Since 2015, the University Alliance for Sustainability has received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and has used the partners’ complementary strengths to develop joint research and teaching projects, to offer exchange options for faculty, staff, and students, and to foster inter-institutional learning with regard to management issues. To this end, the partners have developed joint undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Student initiatives are able to network with their counterparts at other universities. Funding is also available for foreign research projects for researchers, summer courses for PhD students, conferences on the topic of “Green Campus” for management personnel, and several study and internship abroad opportunities.
The Alliance’s funding was won through a competitive grant program: “Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks” sponsored by the DAAD. This grant supports universities in building and developing partnerships, as well as in creating thematic networks with institutions abroad. During this grant period, 89 German higher education institutions had applied for funding of up to 250,000 euros per year. 28 projects are being supported for a maximum of four years, among them 10 strategic partnerships. With its “Thematic Network: Principles of Cultural Dynamics”, Freie Universität Berlin had already been successful in this funding program’s last application season 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.
The University Alliance for Sustainability offers the exchange schemes for study and research stays at the four partner universities under the thematic framework of “Science and Sustainable Development”. For further information and the current Call for Applications please visit the UAS website.