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NCCR North-South - Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Thank you for visiting the website of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. The NCCR North-South programme formally ended in June 2014.

Please note that the content of this website will no longer be updated.



    As the NCCR North-South is based in Bern, Switzerland, many of the articles are in German only.


  • SciDevNet, 25 June 2013
    Project closure ´great loss´ for North-South research
    Article excerpt: "The Swiss research project NCCR North-South that links northern and southern researchers is due to close. Critics say the planned closure endangers North-South research. But a new funding instrument will replace many of its functions. Read more about the debate with Thomas Breu (CDE), Bishnu Upreti (Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research) and Dominique Simone Rychen (SDC)."
    Link to article


  • UniPress #154, 2012
    The University of Bern’s flagship magazine, Unipress, chose to focus on the NCCR North-South in its latest issue. The six-page German-language article looks at the achievements of the unique programme and features an exclusive interview with its directors, Hans Hurni and Urs Wiesmann, on life after the NCCR North-South.
    Download Unipress #154 (German / PDF 519 KB)

  • The Guardian, 28 August 2012
    North-South collaboration helps researchers stay at home
    This article spotlights the results of an NCCR North-South alumni survey indicating clear benefits among participants from developing countries. A majority of Southern alumni, including women, acquired better jobs and salaries after attaining their PhD in the programme. Remarkably, more than 90% returned to work in a developing country, where their skills can likely make the biggest contribution.
    Link to article

  • Swiss Radio DRS 1, 22 August 2012
    New paths in development assistance
    NCCR North-South researchers Bassirou Bonfoh and Jakob Zinsstag were interviewed at this year’s ICRD about the programme’s partnership-based approach and the “One Health” project in particular.
    Link to broadcast

  • Swiss Radio DRS 2, 25 April 2012
    What to do about world hunger?
    NCCR North-South director Hans Hurni participated in a roundtable discussion about how to deal with world hunger. The radio programme included reports from Kenya and Ethiopia about small-scale farmers using organic farming techniques to generate food and income.
    Listen to the discussion (German)

  • Swiss Television SF 1, 4 April 2012
    Documentary film “Bittersweet” (German title: “Zartbitter”)
    This film traces the creation of an organic cacao business founded by Yayra Glover, a native of Ghana, in partnership with Pakka, a Switzerland-based importer and supporter of fairly traded and organic goods from the South. Pakka general manager Balz Strasser is an NCCR North-South alumnus.
    Learn more about the film (German)
    Learn more about the business partnership (German)

  • Swiss Radio DRS, 1 April 2012
    Planet under Pressure: interview on “Land grabbing“
    The size of large scale land acquisitions (LSLA) in developing countries has been underestimated, say NCCR North-South Coordinator Thomas Breu and CDE director Peter Messerli in an interview with Swiss public radio DRS. CDE has collaborated on a World Bank report due out later this month, according to which more than 200 million hectares in LSLAs are planned or have already been carried out – a sharp increase on the previous estimate of 40–60 million hectares.
    Listen to interview (German)

  • 2011

    •, 19 November 2011
      Protecting dignity and saving lives
      Worldwide, 2.6 billion people lack access to proper, clean sanitation; exactly a decade ago, 19 November was declared World Toilet Day to raise awareness of the struggle they face. Researchers from the NCCR North-South’s research project on “User-driven sanitation” (RP9) participated in events to mark the day in Vietnam and elsewhere. Christian Zurbrügg, director of key partner Sandec-Eawag, was interviewed about their approach to finding sanitation solutions.
      Link to interview (English)

    •, 17 November 2011
      Businesses in Conflict Zones: Blessing or Curse?
      Participants in swisspeace’s annual conference in Bern debated the question of what contribution, if any, business leaders and entrepreneurs could make to the peace process in war-torn areas. Members of the NCCR North-South’s research project on “Private-sector peace promotion” (RP6) were involved in the discussions.
      Link to article (German)
      Link to article (Italian)

    •, 14 November 2011
      Flooding of cities raises safety questions
      In the aftermath of recent highly publicized floods, NCCR North-South Director Hans Hurni was interviewed about the vulnerability of cities – including many in rich, industrialised countries – to extreme weather events.
      Link to interview (English)

    •, 19 August 2011
      An African take on Swiss alpine farming
      Swissinfo video journalist Julie Hunt accompanied Côte d’Ivoire-based NCCR North-South researcher Gilbert Fokou on a tour of Swiss alpine farms.
      Link to interview (English)

    • UCA Newsletter No. 93, 11 August 2011
      UCA Mountain Societies Research Centre and NCCR North-South Co-Host: International Symposium on Pastoralism in Central Asia
      Symposium participants sought to create a deeper understanding of the complex challenges facing pastoralists in mountain areas of Central Asia and to identify measures to positively inform policy and programmes.
      Read UCA newsletter (English)

    • Roundtable in Pakistan draws media attention to issues of sustainable forest management
      NCCR North-South researchers participated in a roundtable on forest governance organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 25 June 2011. Several media articles were generated highlighting the researchers’ recommendations for how to improve forest governance, for example through collective action, addressing locals’ livelihoods, and transparent law making.
      Download Article 1 in Pakistan Observer 8 July 2011 (PDF 660 KB)
      Download Article 2 in Pakistan Observer 8 July 2011 (PDF 509 KB)
      Download Article in DAWN.COM 28 June 2011 (PDF 43 KB)

    • Swiss National Science Foundation, 4 July 2011
      Bringing new knowledge to politics
      Article about NCCR North-South policy briefs, an instrument designed to make research results available to decision makers. Read article:

    • Danish Journal of Geography, July 2011
      Spatial assessment of carbon stocks of living vegetation at the national level in Lao PDR
      This article suggests that the main focus of REDD – the international mechanism for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emis­sions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – should be on conserving existing carbon stocks.
      Download article (English)

    • Nature, 29 June 2011
      Research in a war zone
      An article in the prestigious science journal, Nature, covers the work of NCCR North-South Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Bassirou Bonfoh, and colleagues from the Swiss Centre for Scientific Research in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, during the country’s civil conflict.
      Download article (English)

    •, 10 June 2011
      Significance of Ollanta Humala's election in Peru
      The election of Ollanta Humala in Peru may be seen as part of the “second independence” that is taking place across South and Central America. However, the next president faces an uphill battle: The drastic fall of stocks in Lima the day after the elections is a clear sign of disapproval with the democratic elections on the part of certain national and international circles. Prof. Stephan Rist and Claude Auroi, experts in Latin American studies, outline possible challenges awaiting the “left and nationalist” President Humala.
      Link to article (Spanish)

    • Tages Anzeiger, 21 March 2011
      Managing international, interdisciplinary research
      In an interview with the Tages Anzeiger, Thomas Breu, coordinator of the NCCR North-South, sheds light on some of the skills needed to administer successfully in a diverse research environment. For those wishing to improve their management expertise for use in scientific settings, the University of Bern is now offering a Certificate in Advance Studies (CAS) in Research Management.
      Download article (German)


    • Swissnex Day 2010
      In a speech delivered 8 November 2010 at the EPFL in Lausanne, Swiss State Secretary Peter Maurer noted the work of the NCCR North-South in connection with what he describes as “science diplomacy”. The programme’s “insights are an important guide to [Switzerland’s] development cooperation policy and policy dialogues,” said Maurer.
      Download the speech from swissnex

    • Swiss Radio DRS 1, 10 September 2010
      An interview in "Wissen Aktuell" with NCCR North-South collaborator Urs Geiser provides analysis on the long-term effects of the August floods in Pakistan.
      Listen to interview (German)

    • Radiotelevisione Svizzera, 9 September 2010
      A radio programme on "land grabbing" aired by RSI and featuring comments by NCCR North-South programme coordinator Thomas Breu may be heard here (Italian): RSI Rete Due

    • Eine Welt / Un seul monde, June 2010
      SDC magazine “One World” featuring an interview with NCCR North-South programme director Professor Hans Hurni (pp. 28-29).Professor Hurni discusses the significance of a growing academic elite in the South.
      Download the magazine in German (PDF/ 3.6 MB) or French (PDF / 3.56 MB)

    • Radiotelevisione Svizzera, 29 May 2010
      RSI's overage of the first North-South forum organised by the North-South Centre and the NCCR North-South and an interview with NCCR North-South programme coordinator Thomas Breu may be heard here (Italian / segment begins 00:18:38):

    •, 25 May 2010 reported on the first-ever North-South Forum organised by the North-South Centre and the NCCR North-South. The topic of the forum was transnational land acquisitions. It was held on 18 May 2010 at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). Read coverage in English or in German

    • Swiss Radio DRS, 19 May 2010
      Listen to a discussion of "land grabbing" in Africa which took place in connection with the first North-South forum (in German):

    • Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14 May 2010
      A feature by NCCR North-South researchers Bernd Steimann and Susan Thieme sheds light on the people and socio-economic forces behind violent protests in Kyrgyzstan’s capital.
      Download article (German / PDF 360 KB)
    • Zürcher Landzeitung, 14 April 2010
      In a newspaper article following the recent unrest in Kyrgyzstan, NCCR North-South researcher Bernd Steimann examines the rural population’s view of the situation.

    • swissinfo, 31 March 2010:
      Nepal could reap Swiss tourism harvest - With glistening mountain peaks as a backdrop, a Nepalese researcher quizzes a mountain farmer about how he benefits from tourism.

    • Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian Dar es Salaam, 9 February 2010:
      Media coverage of the launch of Research Project 7, on reproductive resilience of adolescents in East and West Africa on GBC Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in a radio interview and The Guardian Dar es Salaam.
      Download pdf (76 KB)
      Download Interview (2.3 MB)








    in the world:

    The NCCR North-South is hosted by the University of Bern
    and funded jointly by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation