Universities face common cross-border challenges, such as climate change and disruptive technologies. Tackling these topics requires shared solutions and a willingness to learn from each other. In this context, rectors, deans and senior administrative staff from several universities in Israel visited the University of Bern. It is the first large international delegation to visit the University of Bern since the beginning of the pandemic. The visit was originally planned for summer 2020 but had to be delayed.
The members of the delegation are taking part in a further education programme entitled "Leadership in Academia", which was founded by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Council for Higher Education in Israel. The programme aims to train executives and promote exchanges between universities. The participants want to learn from each other and work on shared solutions. In recent years, participants of the "Leadership in Academia" programme visited the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.
The University of Bern as a best practice model
The delegation was received by members of the executive board, represented by Christian Leumann, Rector, Virginia Richter, Vice Rector Development, Hugues Abriel, Vice Rector Research and Daniel Candinas, former Vice Rector Research. Leumann presented the university's strategy and emphasized the importance of working in an interdisciplinary manner to understand common challenges and develop solutions.
The first part of the visit focused on round-table discussions about best practices in the areas of strategy, research management, innovation and internationalisation. In the discussions one could often hear people say: “here everything works completely differently from what we are used to”. Learning from such differences and taking home impressions from the trip to Switzerland was an important element of the visit.
Bern as a leading medical centre
The afternoon was devoted to the topic of medicine and included a visit to the Insel Campus Bern. Simon Rothen, Chief Executive Officer of sitem-insel, the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine, explained the process of how from an idea a marketable product is developed. Rothen also explained the cluster effect of the Insel Campus Bern, where a large amount of interdisciplinary knowledge is available on a small geographical area.
A highlight of the visit to sitem-insel was seeing the Clinical Anatomy Training and Research Center, with its modern equipment. The operations can be transmitted directly to an auditorium via video link for training purposes.