Competence centers: Driving for excellence

Research & Innovation

Research & Innovation

Photo by: Pavel Martiarena Huaman

The Research & Innovation Teams continued to grow in 2022. They are dedicated to pursuing novel ways of generating and sharing knowledge that can be translated into meaningful action. One of their goals is to support the design of pilot projects in the region where we act and guide the implementation through rigorous scientific evaluation.

A network of knowledge

When the Wyss Academy for Nature was founded, it was established that there should be no divides between research, stakeholder engagement, and the testing of solutions in the field.

Our professors and their teams pursue fundamental research questions related to environmental change and its implications for society– and, at the same time, support their colleagues working on the ground in our regional hubs. They are directly involved in the design of pilot projects, and they support project implementation through their scientific evaluation. They delve into local and regional contexts and evaluate how key findings on sustainable development can be used in other places – nearby or on other continents.

We believe that durable solutions are only possible through the inclusion of a broad range of knowledge holders, including indigenous communities and the private sector. The findings from our research are shared and discussed with local actors, as well as with partners and relevant stakeholders around the world.

“We explore new ways to generate and implement knowledge.”

Solution-oriented research

Our goal is to ensure that knowledge is generated not only for its own sake, but that it can be implemented where it is needed. Given the urgent challenges we face in the areas of climate, biodiversity, and land use, Wyss Academy research must be informed by the needs identified in different geographic regions, and it must contribute to pragmatic innovation.

Our research currently comprises four fields relevant to the challenges that the Wyss Academy was created to address: Climate Scenarios for Sustainable Development, Land Systems and Sustainability Transformation, Political Economy and Sustainable Development, as well as Integrative Biodiversity Conservation Science. Two more research fields linked to governance and technology will be added once recruitment is complete.

The Wyss Academy aims to provide new insights for facing the complex challenges of socio-ecological systems, and to show how solutions can be implemented using a systemic approach at the interface of climate change, biodiversity, and land use. We address knowledge gaps by working across academic disciplines and with non-academic stakeholders, as well as by collaborating closely with several research centers of the University of Bern, for example the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR), the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), and the Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS).


Mutual benefits for people and nature

The innovations generated within our organization and through broad-based partnerships may have environmental, economic, technical, social, or policy-related dimensions. They all serve the overall goal of a just and sustainable future in which nature conservation and human wellbeing are mutually beneficial. As an example, our engagement to preserve the Amazonian rainforest includes approaches to better monitor the economic, social, and environmental value of forest, thus making these co-benefits more visible to local communities and decision-makers.


Active cooperation between all experts

The Research & Innovation team at the Wyss Academy cooperates actively with other knowledge centers within the organization, such as Policy Outreach & Synthesis and our regional hubs.



Photo by: Jane Wynyard, Save the Elephants


Photo by: Peter Messerli