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Kollegienhaus Universität Basel (img: Christian Flierl)

Main building of the University of Basel (img: Christian Flierl)

08.04.2019

University of Basel stands up to international competition

The University of Basel has presented its Strategy 2022–2030. It wants to compete in the international arena as a complete university. The whole region will benefit from its status as a top European university.

According to a press release by the University of Basel, the consultation procedure for the University of Basel’s Strategy 2022–2030 is now underway. The final version is scheduled to be finished and approved by the University Council in the fall and will then serve as the basis for drafting the funding request to the supporting cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft for the performance period 2022–2025.

As an institution with a full range of disciplines, the university wants to continue “making an important contribution to scientific progress, innovative strength and the appeal of the entire Basel region as a place to live and work”. It has formulated four strategic principles for achieving this, namely promoting agility, opening up the university, strengthening identification with the university and making use of locational advantages. The strategy document also talks about the launch of a think tank that will advise the President’s Board on developing research in new thematic areas.

The University of Basel also wants to increase its attractiveness through national and international partnerships. It “seeks to assume a central role in the regional innovation ecosystem, to promote the establishment of spin-offs and start-ups, and to intensify collaboration with companies, without compromising freedom in teaching and research”. Bio-Campus Upper Rhine will be expanded to become Europe’s leading life sciences innovation cluster.

As the designated president of the university council Beat Oberlin admits, corresponding financing will be needed for these ambitious plans. He explained to SRF that more third-party funds would be raised in future. The supporting cantons will not be actively asked to provide more money, “but we would, of course, be happy if we could raise more funds”. The majority of these funds will continue to be used for Life Sciences. The President of the University of Basel Andrea Schenker-Wicki underlined in an interview with Basler Zeitung that “in the area of Life Sciences we want to be an attractive partner for the resident industry, with whom we have a productive relationship. We can only do this if we are really a top university.” “

According to Schenker-Wicki, the university is willing to share expensive research infrastructures with the private sector to achieve this. If the university can no longer compete in this field, then “firstly the good professors will no longer come to us and then the good students will avoid us”. Currently the university is one of the world’s top 100 research universities. If it can no longer compete, the added value for the region will also be reduced.

In Telebasel Talk Schenker-Wicki emphasized that cooperations with private business would not be to the detriment of freedom in research and teaching: “We have very strict rules when it comes to sponsoring.” But they are reliant on third-party funding, also from private donors.

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