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University of Basel

Research

University of Basel, Biocenter
Image: University of Basel, Biozentrum, Christian Flierl

The University of Basel combines a broad spectrum of skills and expertise in sustainability-related fields. One focus is sustainability and energy research, which is highlighted by various transfaculty and interdisciplinary projects. Other fields of research deal with issues concerning nature and the environment, changing societies, climate change and emissions trading, human migration and conflicts, health, social inequality, and gender equality.

Goals
Actions
Responsible
Goals

Intensifying inter- and transdisciplinary research related to the Sustainable Development Goals

Actions
  • Organizing events and activities to promote an interdisciplinary exchange between scientists and external stakeholders.
Responsible

Grants Office
in collaboration with the Sustainability Office

Goals

Increasing the visibility of research on sustainable development at the University of Basel

Actions
  • Increasing communications surrounding existing sustainability-related research. Providing motivation for joint proposals and research projects.
Responsible

Grants Office
in collaboration with the Sustainability Office

Goals
Actions
  • Identifying (“tagging”) research projects that help meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), implementation within the framework of the new research portal.
Responsible

Vice President’s Office for Research in collaboration with the Sustainability Office

Goals

Promoting sustainability in everyday research practices

Actions
  • Improving transparency in relation to animal testing and promoting the implementation of the 3R approach (reduction, refinement, replacement)
Responsible

3R Coordination Office at the University of Basel

Highlight

Horizon 2020 MSCA ITN: «Smart-BEEjS / Human-Centric Energy Districts: Smart Value Generation by Building Efficiency and Energy Justice for Sustainable Living»

Paul Burger, professor for sustainability research in the Department of Social Sciences, is a participant in this Horizon 2020 MSCA-ITN collaboration, which received around EUR 4 million in funding and aims to develop transformational strategies in the area of low-energy buildings while considering aspects of justice and fuel poverty. Fair access to energy is not only about reducing poverty. Rather, the consortium believes that it is a key factor in achieving energy-sustainable economies.

Highlight

Swiss Network of International Studies: «Infrastructure Space and the Future of Migration Management: The EU Hotspots in the Mediterranean Borderscape»

In this project, which received CHF 265,000 in funding, Bilgin Ayata, Assistant Professor of Political Sociology, and Kenny Cupers, Professor of Urban Studies, are studying the role of infrastructure in the European Union’s migration management. They are focusing on the tense situation in the Mediterranean region, which has led to new migration policies in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Libya and Tunisia. The subject of the study is the infrastructure of the EU’s “hotspot approach” and the resultant socio-political transformation processes at the local, national and regional level. Originally intended as a temporary approach to migration management, the hotspot approach has now become an integral part of European migration policy, the long term effects of which are being studied in this interdisciplinary project.

Highlight

Sinergia project: «African contributions to global health: Circulating knowledge and Innovation»

The project, which received CHF 2.2 million in SNSF funding, is a collaboration between Julia Tischler, professor of African history, the Swiss TPH and EPFL, to study African contributions to global health. Discussions about innovation are often based on the underlying assumption that new scientific and technical achievements are initiated in «The West», while countries in the global South are viewed as its patrons. This project questions this one-sided model.

Sustainability in everyday research practices

Research is an integral part of what goes on at the University of Basel. For this reason, efforts here require particularly sustainable planning and are essential to building a sustainable university. This includes a meticulous selection of laboratory, sample materials and energy-efficient equipment, as well as enabling the research institution to adapt flexibly to changing research conditions.

 

Best practices - sciCORE: Today, computer-aided methods play a key role in modern research, from the storage and organization of large quantities of data to the statistical analysis of data and simulation of complex systems. As a result, information technologies are having a greater impact on the environment due to energy consumption and the hardware disposal. As a Center of Excellence for scientific computing at the University of Basel, sciCORE provides the central infrastructure and services for the university’s researchers for the purposes of scientific computing. In the case of high-performance computing and storage, the shared use of a central infrastructure makes the most of available hardware capacities and ensures proper recycling of obsolete hardware. Combining resources facilitates a high overall level of efficiency. At the same time, it creates powerful cluster systems that deliver high peak performance for complex scientific tasks. One of the most important factors affecting energy efficiency in the area of high-performance computing is the use of efficient algorithms. For this reason, sciCORE is supporting researchers by offering courses and training in software development and best practices. Efficient algorithms are not only good for the environment; they also deliver faster results for researchers – a win-win situation.

Footnotes
Footnotes

[1] The integration of associated institutes at the university has already been reorganized. The Swiss TPH, the Friedrich Miescher Institute and the swisspeace foundation work closely with various research groups and faculties at the university based on performance agreements and shared benefit.

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