Wyss Center Bern (WCB) – Shaping Sustainable Futures for Nature and People

Project completed

The Wyss Center Bern Initiative is a new research and innovation set-up that should help address today’s complex global challenges related to nature conservation and human development. The initiative aims to develop new approaches to narrow the gap between research and practice and identify promising solutions to sustainable development challenges on several continents. The initiative also strengthens Switzerland’s profile on research for sustainable development.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Biosphere protection
Environmental policy
15.11.2019 - 31.01.2024
CHF  3’020’000
Background The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts forward a broad and ambitious agenda for global action on sustainable development to address the threats resulting from adverse societal, economic and environmental transformation. Rapid and complex societal and economic transformations accelerate large-scale biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change, threatening human well-being locally and globally. The complexity, speed of transformations, uncertainties and conflicting interests between different actors make the development of pathways towards sustainable futures for nature and people and the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda challenging. In this context, new research initiatives and approaches that bring together scientific knowledge with the experience and needs of stakeholders and affected people are urgently needed. Going beyond classical research approaches that tend to stop at the level of recommendations, the newly established Wyss Center Bern Initiative will not only bridge the gap between research and affected stakeholders, but will also finance and implement the most promising pilot solutions. Such a new approach of applied research should benefit from collaborations between different funders (private, public, science, development). 
Objectives Developing and testing innovative pathways that strengthen and harmonize nature conservation, human well-being, and the use of natural resources in selected developing countries, in Switzerland and at global level through new forms of applied and participatory research, in order to shape sustainable futures for nature and people. 
Target groups

Scientific community involved in the WCB-Initiative

National and regional actors from civil society, economy, conservation and politics involved in the WCB initiative.

Policy makers, NGOs and the scientific community at a global level.

Other stakeholders and especially vulnerable groups that benefit from transformations achieved through the initiative. 

Medium-term outcomes

1)    Generation and use of data and knowledge

2)    Strengthening of regional partners

3)    Development of regional and global networks for knowledge sharing and joint         development of solutions

4)    Initial development, testing and dissemination of workable solutions (pilots)


Expected results:  

Outcome 1: (i) new people-centred conservation models are identified; (ii) open access to online platforms are installed and provide access to first data and analytical tools

Outcome 2: (i) key stakeholders have increased their capacity to support transformation; (ii) stakeholders have access and use data and analytical tools

Outcome 3: (i) strategic alliances and networks are established; (ii) specific round tables are set up and provide an interface for multi-stakeholder dialogues; (iii) researchers from the Global South share knowledge with the global scientific community

Outcome 4: (i) the Incubator Schemes are established and functional; (ii) identification and implementation of first innovations; (iii) upscaling and dissemination of learnings from the regional level activities

Results from previous phases:   During a pilot phase (9.2018-12.2019) funded by the Wyss Foundation, the Wyss Center Bern (WCB) Initiative validated its concept and established so-called ”Regional Stewardship Hubs” in Kenya and in Peru. First pilot solutions to address nature conservation and human well-being were developed and tested, and the institutional structure of the WCB and the interlinkages with other institutions was defined. 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Unversität Bern
  • Wyss Center Bern

Coordination with other projects and actors KFPE (scnat); r4d programme; SDC regional offices in East Africa (Kenya), South America (Peru) and Asia (Laos). 
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’020’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’967’000
Project phases

Phase 1 15.11.2019 - 31.01.2024   (Completed)