Worldwide Universities Network

UNIL joined the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) in 2020. The network, founded in 2000, currently has 23 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:

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).


Global Challenges

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

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.

UNIL projects

Completed project

Current projects

Special Interest Group

To promote sustained collaborations, WUN will encourage the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that bring together researchers from multiple member universities to pursue a shared research interest. WUN may provide funds for SIGs to hold workshops and launch special initiatives.

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


Young researchers

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.

The IRO covers part of the travel expenses of UNIL teaching staff visiting a WUN member university, under the conditions applicable to bilateral agreements, or to SEMP agreements in case such an agreement has been signed.

The IRO also covers part of the cost of accomodation for visitorrs from WUN member university under the conditions applicable to bilateral agreements, or to SEMP agreements.

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
UNIL governance

The UNIL participation to WUN takes place under the responsability of Prof. Estelle Doudet Vice-Rector for Research.

Prof. Antoine Kernen represents UNIL in the Global Africa Group.

The International Relations Office coordinates the UNIL participation to WUN, under the responsability of its Director, Dr Denis Dafflon.

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UNIL contact

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