Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern

Our vision

The Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern will lead a major initiative to shape sustainable futures for nature and people by strengthening and harmonizing nature conservation, human well-being, and natural resource use in different landscapes around the world. Focusing on interactions between people, land, biodiversity, and climate change, the Wyss Academy will produce path breaking knowledge for transformation and capacity development, actively build partnerships between science, policy, civil society, and the private sector, and generate concrete solutions from local to global levels. We envision that the protection of nature will be significantly enhanced over the next ten years.

Our mission is to develop, test, and scale up innovative pathways that strengthen and harmonize nature conservation, human well-being, and natural resource use. The Wyss Academy creates innovation with concrete results on the ground by breaking up conventional silos of scientific research, conservation and development practice, and political routines. World-leading research experts co-produce concrete applications, strategies, and policies with multiple stakeholders from society, conservation, policy, and business at local, regional, and global levels

Our mission

Our mission is to develop, test, and scale up innovative pathways that strengthen and harmonize nature conservation, human well-being, and natural resource use. The Wyss Academy creates innovation with concrete results on the ground by breaking up conventional silos of scientific research, conservation and development practice, and political routines. World-leading research experts co-produce concrete applications, strategies, and policies with multiple stakeholders from society, conservation, policy, and business at local, regional, and global levels.

Elephant
© M. Graham

Strategy and Approach

In line with its vision, the overall goal of the Wyss Academy is to significantly enhance nature protection. In view of this overall goal and the mission to devise innovative pathways to sustainable futures for nature and people, two aims will guide the Wyss Academy’s strategy:

  1. To overcome the prevailing disconnect between knowledge and action by devising innovative collaborations between researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and the private sector to produce and implement transformation knowledge; and
  2. To bridge local and global contexts in order to create locally adapted innovations that are robust in the face of global environmental, economic, and social dynamics and to lift context-specific discoveries to global policy levels

To our knowledge, no other initiative worldwide has successfully addressed both challenges at once. To bridge knowledge with action and locally adapted solutions with game-changing dynamics and mechanisms at global scales the Wyss Academy for Nature will work through four closely interacting operational units. We believe that each unit is needed and their combination is sufficient to solve the challenges we face.

Components
Overview of the Wyss Academy's main operational units bridging knowledge and concrete action, as well as global challenges with local realities.

Regional Stewardship Hubs: In Latin America, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Switzerland, will constitute the cornerstones for developing, testing, and applying innovations for the protection of nature and its sustainable use.

Transformational Research Teams: Will provide new knowledge on how to harness opportunities emerging at the interfaces between biodiversity protection, sustainable land use, and climate change mitigation, as well as expertise on business, technology, and governance as key levers of change.

The Synthesis Center: Will offer an interface for accessing and synthesizing the latest globally available knowledge on nature protection, for ensuring systematic knowledge integration across the Wyss Academy’s different regions and operational units, and for sharing local discoveries at regional and global levels.

Engagement Platforms: Will institutionalize a continuous dialogue with multiple actors to secure socio-political support for change, and share insights from each hub with wider networks at the local and international level.

Regional Stewardship Hubs

Transformations to sustainability for nature and people, according to the vision and mission of the Wyss Academy for Nature, are context-specific. Accordingly, the Academy will engage directly with civil society, policymakers, and the private sector in different regions around the world.

The Regional Stewardship Hubs will serve as concrete real-world arenas where the Wyss Academy for Nature will develop pathways to sustainable development for nature and people in so-called hotspot landscapes.  Their design and institutional setup will bring together development and conservation practitioners with  decision-makers and scientists to co-design and co-produce innovations, which neither of them could implement on their own. By facilitating a continuous stakeholder dialogue based on latest scientific knowledge, a so-called incubator scheme will be established.

Service delivery will be enhanced by institutionalized cooperation and exchange among the four Regional Stewardship Hubs and by close collaboration with the other units: the Transformational Research Teams, the Synthesis Center, and the international Engagement Platform.

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