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Statement by the President

Portrait of Andrea Schenker-Wicki
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel. (Photo: Universität Basel, Lucia Hunziker)

The University of Basel’s third Sustainability Report demonstrates that we have been able to implement many projects, measures and initiatives to promote sustainable development in the last two years. In order to strengthen our commitment to making an active and substantial contribution to climate protection and sustainability, a steering committee – consisting of researchers, students and administrative staff – has developed a set of ambitious goals and measures that will be published the spring term 2024 under the title “Climate Responsibility – The University of Basel’s 2024–2030 Climate Strategy.” The newly created Senate’s Committee on Sustainability will play an important role in the implementation of these goals, channeling the concerns of members of the university and providing important strategic momentum in the area of sustainability.

Since August 2022, the university’s non-current financial assets have been managed with attention to concrete sustainability criteria. An important milestone has also been achieved with respect to university-internal energy production, with the university’s first photovoltaic system being installed on the roof of the Center for Pharmaceutical Sciences. Research in the area of sustainability has been further strengthened with the founding of the Sustainable Future research network, which coordinates and promotes interdisciplinary research on sustainability across all faculties. Since May 2022, the network's researchers have also contributed with their knowledge to the Klimaplattform der Wirtschaft Region Basel, which the university has joined as a major partner.   

The IMPULS funding program helps teaching staff to incorporate sustainability themes in their teaching, and also supports students in developing and implementing sustainable projects. In addition, continuing education on integrating sustainability into university courses supplements the offerings for teaching staff. Students have also demonstrated deep commitment to sustainability outside of their coursework: the AG Nachhaltigkeit not only organized the Sustainability Weeks in 2021 and 2022, but also coordinated numerous other events and managed projects such as the Sustainability Map and green roofing at the Biozentrum and the Department of Biomedicine.

When it comes to family-friendliness, a revision to the Staff Regulations included a number of important changes, including increasing paternity leave to four weeks. In September 2021, the University of Basel also became the first Swiss university to earn the “audit familiengerechte hochschule” certificate, which recognizes universities with family-friendly student and staff policies.

Our next steps are already laid out before us with the formulation of new initiatives for the next two years. I would like to express my sincere thanks to each and every member of the university community who has contributed in any of these areas to a more sustainable University of Basel.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andrea Schenker-Wicki
President of the University of Basel

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