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University of Zurich and Freie Universität Berlin Conclude Strategic Partnership

Increased Cooperation in Research and Teaching

№ 086/2017 from Apr 21, 2017

The University of Zurich (UZH) and Freie Universität Berlin have established a strategic partnership. On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Prof. Dr. Michael O. Hengartner, the rector of the University of Zurich, and Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, the president of Freie Universität Berlin, signed an agreement to facilitate closer cooperation in research, teaching, and the promotion of young researchers. Both new and existing forms of cooperation between the two universities will be systematically promoted and expanded. The agreement also covers the structured exchange of researchers and students as well as administrative staff. In order to achieve these goals, specific funding programs will be set up and coordinated jointly by both universities.

Both Freie Universität and the University of Zurich (UZH) are among the most important research universities in Europe. "Freie Universität Berlin is an ideal partner for us. This collaboration will help both our universities to strengthen our positions as research universities in international competition," says Rector Prof. Dr. Michael O. Hengartner. The president of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, stressed, "UZH is our strongest non-German partner in joint publications. Our universities have very similar academic profiles. This new partnership will facilitate very close cooperation between Zurich and Berlin."

Summer Schools and Double Degree Programs

With this partnership the two universities have created a formal basis for increasing their cooperation in research and teaching and for setting up an exchange program for administrative staff. They plan to promote joint research projects between Berlin and Zurich as well as provide targeted support for junior researchers. Students are also expected to benefit through increased opportunities for exchange programs, summer schools, and double degree programs. Simultaneously with signing the agreement, the two universities issued a call for proposals for joint research projects that can be funded through a Joint Seed Money Fund.

Numerous Relations Already in Place

The partnership between Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Zurich has a long tradition. There are already more than 30 joint research projects between the two universities – for example, in German, psychology, medicine, neurosciences, and life sciences. In addition, many students participate in the student exchange program between Zurich and Berlin, and many researchers of both institutions maintain individual working relationships.

Other Agreements in Planning

As part of its internationalization strategy, UZH is planning to set up more strategic partnerships, for example, with universities in North America and Asia. Freie Universität already has strategic partnerships with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, the University of California at Berkeley, Peking University, and the State University of St. Petersburg. At Freie Universität the establishment of strategic partnerships is part of the university's internationalization concept, "International Network University," which brought the university success in the German government's Excellence Initiative for universities in 2007 and 2012.

With more than 25,000 students, the University of Zurich is the largest university in Switzerland and one of the leading European research universities. Since being founded in 1833, it has produced twelve Nobel laureates. The university is highly regarded internationally and has received the highest international awards in the fields of medicine, immunology, genetics, neurosciences, structural biology, and economics.

Freie Universität Berlin is one of eleven German universities of excellence with an outstanding international reputation. The university has seven international liaison offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi, New York, and São Paulo, and numerous strategic partnerships with selected universities abroad. Freie Universität offers roughly 180 degree programs in the humanities, social and natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, and veterinary medicine.

Further Information

  • Media Relations, University of Zurich, Tel.: +41 44 634 44 67, Email: mediarelations@kommunikation.uzh.ch
  • Chantal Kottler, Division of International Relations, University of Zurich, Tel.: +41 44 634 20 65, Email: chantal.kottler@int.uzh.ch
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Office of News and Public Affairs, Tel.: +49 30 83 87 31 89
  • Britta Piel, Center for International Cooperation, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-739 43, Email: britta.piel@fu-berlin.de