Worldwide Universities Network

UNIL joined the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) in 2020. The network, founded in 2000, currently has 22 members (see below).

As a leading international higher education and research network, WUN envisions to be a force in developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges. To this end, WUN runs the Research Development Fund which support the initiation of collaborative research around four main themes:

  • Responding to Climate Change
  • Public Health
  • Global Higher Education and Research
  • Understanding Cultures

WUN also seeks to increase the opportunities for young researchers to gain international experience through its Research Mobility programme, which foster the mobility of early-career researchers, including postgraduate and postdoctoral students.

In addition, WUN organizes conferences and workshops to bring an international community of researchers together.

The participation to WUN is coordinated by the International Relations Office, with the contribution of a UNIL committee involving UNIL researchers (to be set up soon).

Research

Global Challenges

WUN has identified four research themes where the netwok has particular capacity to develop solutions to issues of significant global concern.

Each Global Challenge has a steering group made up of representatives from WUN member universities.

Research Development Fund

Through its Research Development Fund, WUN provides support to initiate collaborative research that falls within the four global challenges. A call for projects is launched each year in July, with a deadline in October. An email will be sent to the relevant academic staff whenever a call is published.

Interdisciplinary Research Groups

Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) are research collaborations, teams or networks made up of a core of researchers from WUN member universities, and often a number of other partners. IRGs may start-up as a result of existing relationship between researchers, supported by local member university or through funding provided by the Research Development Fund. 

There are currently more than 70 active research groups. UNIL researchers are welcome to connect to the existing groups, and launch new ones.

Special Interest Group

A special interest groups draws together individuals with a common interest that crosses the Global Challenges. A WUN special interest group is required to deal with a thematically coherent research question that spans multiple WUN Global Challenge areas.

Global Africa Group

This collaborative research program is designed to support sustainable development and capacity-building in Africa in both the natural and social sciences. The five research priorities of the Group sit at the intersection of WUN’s existing expertise and research collaborations, Africa’s development agenda as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Environmental change and food security
  • Public health
  • Governance, inequality and social inclusion
  • Higher education and research capacity
  • Natural resources for inclusive growth and sustainable development

More information

Mobility

WUN supports the mobility of young researchers through its Research Mobility Programme. The program aims at providing financial support to allow PhD students and early career researchers to spend up to three months at a member university. Participation in this program is optional and funded by the members’ own funds. The conditions of UNIL's participation to this scheme are yet to be defined.

Meetings and events

Annual General Meeting

The WUN Annual General Meeting (AGM) usually takes place in the second half of May. Multiple governance groups, including the global challenge steering groups come together to network, evaluate the previous year’s achievements and set the course for the year ahead. Academic workshops may also be organised during the AGM.

WUN seminars and workshops

Workshops can be held at any time and are for the relevant Global Challenge Steering Group to approve with the Secretariat if funding support is required. They can be at a member university, jointly organised with a relevant international society or agency, and include research fellows working with such partners.

Member universities
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UNIL contact

Dr. Denis Dafflon
International Relations Office
Château de Dorigny
Tel.: +41 21 692 20 26