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Administrative Director's Office
In order to remain competitive, the availability of an adequate infrastructure has to be secured.
Markus Brönnimann

“We can only continue to attract the best researchers and their projects to Bern if we are able to also offer specialist infrastructure on time and according to demand.”

Executive Board

Competitiveness still jeopardized

While basic funding at the University of Bern remains stable, there is the risk of a structural deficit in the medium term. In order to remain attractive and competitive internationally, the availability of an adequate infrastructure also has to be secured.


By Markus Brönnimann, Administrative Director


The University of Bern can continue to count on stable basic funding by the Canton of Bern and the federal government. This is important for the University. If it wants to assert itself on a national and international level, growth and development are essential. Basic funding has seen little to no growth over the years. As early as the medium term, a structural deficit will arise in this area due to underfunding. There is the risk that the University of Bern will lose its current competitive position in the education and research market, which would be damaging to the entire region of Bern.

During the year under review, the Canton of Bern’s contribution amounted to CHF 326.3 million compared to the University’s total revenue of CHF 947.5 million. In total, there was a deficit of CHF 8.7 million.
The result attributable to basic funding was a loss of CHF 19.4 million. In terms of external funding and funds, the positive results were diminished by the fall in the stock market.

The University still has capital reserves from basic funding at its disposal. This result can therefore be compensated for. In the event of further deficits in future, these reserves will be exhausted in just a few years. There is the risk that the reserves from external funding will then have to be used – contrary to the system – for financing the basic mandate, meaning they can no longer be used for investing in innovations.


The availability of an adequate infrastructure is an important competitive factor for a university, particularly in terms of research. The importance of infrastructure has increased further due to the lack of access to European research net works, which has been denied to us due to political reasons. We can only continue to attract the best researchers and their projects to Bern if we are able to also offer specialist infrastructure on time and according to demand.

Unfortunately, the shortage of space at the University continues to increase, particularly in heavily equipped and specialist buildings. Under the current conditions, the Canton is unable to provide the urgently needed space. Investment is lacking and we are confronted with extremely long planning and implementation times.

The shortage of space not only severely limits the University in terms of executing its strategy – it also prevents opportunities from being used in the first place. We then lose talented researchers or cannot take on exciting projects, meaning they look elsewhere with our competitors. This is not only damaging to the University, but also has a significant impact on the Canton in the medium and long term.

There is a major bottleneck in maintaining the 130 buildings used by the University. In close collaboration with the Office for Land and Buildings (AGG) at the Canton of Bern, certain tasks have been taken over by the University initially. This speeds up the process and utilizes established know-how. We would like to take this opportunity to underline the excellent, constructive cooperation with our colleagues from the AGG.

At the end of 2022, Stefan Rufer took over from Susanna Krähenbühl as Head of the Building Development Office. Over the past 18 years, Susanna Krähenbühl has played a significant role in developing infrastructure at the University of Bern and has made a major, visible contribution toward the successful implementation of the Strategy 3012.

We would like to offer our thanks for her dedication and meticulous work, and wish her all the best for the future.


Following further agreements with the faculties, the new digitalization strategy has now been adopted. This strategy focuses on the core value of “People in Digital Transformation”. With this guiding theme in mind, the University has established a unique selling point of significant societal relevance with which the potential of a comprehensive university can be utilized. In doing so, digitalization is both the object and subject of teaching and research. The necessary funding and infrastructure required for a successful digital transformation now have to be provided. The University is planning investments of up to CHF 50 million for these efforts over the next five years.

“Future of Work” workshop

In summer 2022, a large group of University leaders came together with external partners from politics and administration to explore the future of work. As part of a “syntegration”, the workshop looked at the consequences of changing framework conditions for working at the University, and what we have to do today to ensure that we are still competitive in 10 to 20 years. Twelve areas were identified here and initial solutions developed. These will now be explored in more detail in the Fit for Future program.

Development in external funding

Basic funding / external funding: The income generated by the University, which serves as the University's structural basic funding, counts as basic funding. All other income is recorded as external funding. Due to the separation of revenue into basic funding and external funding, individual items can only be compared with the income statement according to Swiss GAAP FER to a limited extent.

Private sector funding: Income from the private sector, private individuals, foundations and similar organizations.

Until 2016 the income of the service centers was booked under basic funding, from 2017 under external funding.

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