The goal of the two universities is to examine the challenges facing society as a result of digitalization and to develop potential solutions. To this end, they will step up cooperation in teaching and research, develop student exchanges and establish joint projects in the framework of European research programmes. Both universities are making 400,000 Swiss francs available for such projects.
“Comprehensive universities such as Geneva and Zurich have a duty to accompany societal change with academic and interdisciplinary reflection and to contribute to finding ways to optimize the use of digital tools and to reduce the risks,” Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva, said in a statement.
Two of the areas that the universities will focus on are citizen science – the involvement of society in research topics – and smart cities. In cities like Zurich and Geneva, for example, academics have free access to large volumes of data, making them ideal places to develop new solutions for cities of the future.
Both universities are already pursuing strategies on the digital revolution. The Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich identifies strategic research areas to be developed and also elaborates new teaching content around the topic of digitalization.
The University of Geneva is currently carrying out a survey to find out how it can adapt its digitalization strategy to better meet internal needs and external expectations.