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University of Basel
Universität Basel

Old University Basel
Latin: Universitas Basiliensis
Established 1460
Type public
Students 11360
Location Basel, Basel-City, Switzerland
47°33′31″N 7°35′01″E / 47.55858°N 7.58360°E / 47.55858; 7.58360Coordinates: 47°33′31″N 7°35′01″E / 47.55858°N 7.58360°E / 47.55858; 7.58360

The University of Basel (German: Universität Basel) is located in Basel, Switzerland. It is considered as one of leading universities in the country and was ranked 96-98th worldwide according to the Russian based Global University Ranking in 2009.[1]



Founded in 1460, it is Switzerland's oldest university.

Erasmus, Paracelsus, Daniel Bernoulli, Jacob Burckhardt, Leonhard Euler, Friedrich Nietzsche, Eugen Huber, Carl Jung, Karl Barth, and Hans Urs von Balthasar are among those associated with the university, which is nowadays noted for research into tropical medicine.

The University of Basel was founded in connection with the Council of Basel. The deed of foundation given in the form of a Papal bull by Pope Pius II on November 12, 1459, and the official opening ceremony was held on April 4, 1460. Originally the University of Basel was decreed to have four faculties, namely those of arts, medicine, theology and jurisprudence. The faculty of arts served until 1818 as foundation for the other three academic subjects.

Over the course of centuries as many scholars came to the city, Basel became an early center of book printing and humanism. Around the same time as the university itself, the University Library of Basel was founded. Today it has over three million books and writings and is the largest library in Switzerland.

This University is also renowned for its former research into Earth Sciences, Slavistics and Astronomy.




  • Theology [1]
  • Law [2]
  • Medicine [3]
  • Faculty of Humanities (Phil I) [4]
  • Faculty of Science (Phil II) [5]
  • Business and Economy [6]
  • Psychology [7]
  • Interdisciplinary institutions
    • Europainstitut [8]
    • Jewish Studies [9]
    • Mensch-Gesellschaft-Umwelt (MGU) [10]
    • Centre for African Studies Basel (ZASB) [11]
    • Kulturmanagement [12]
    • Gender Studies [13]

Student associations

  • Fachgruppen
    • Business and Economy (BESS)
    • Computer Science (FGI)
    • Chemistry (VBC)
    • Pharmacy
    • Geography
    • Geology (VBG)
    • History
    • Biology
    • Medicine (FAME)
    • French Philosophy
    • Mathematics and Physics (FG 14 [16])
    • Meteorology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
  • Dings-Shop Dings Shop
    • Shop for office materials for students
  • Universitätssport Universitätssport Basel
    • Organizing sport events and trainings for students
  • SKUBA: Studentische Körperschaft der Universität Basel Skuba Home
  • Calcutta Project Basel Calcutta Project Basel
    • International co-operation by students from Basel in India, Kolkata
  • GeZetera GeZetera
    • Newspaper made by students for students

The Biozentrum

The Biozentrum [17]is a Department of the University of Basel. It is a basic research institute, covering the research areas of biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, microbiology, structural biology, and cell biology of the Faculty of natural sciences, as well as the areas of pharmacology and neurobiology of the medical Faculty. In 2001, the new fields of bioinformatics, genomics & proteomics, and a nanosciences branch have been introduced. A second building has been constructed next to the Biozentrum which was inaugurated in fall 2000, the so called “Pharmazentrum”. It hosts some Biozentrum research groups, including the bioinformatics unit and Applied Microbiology as well as the Zoological Institute of the Basel University. Additionally, various research units of the Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences (DKBW) and the Pharmaceutical Department are located here. Last but not least, the Center of Pharmaceutical Sciences Basel-Zurich and the Microscopy Unit of the University share its space.

The Biozentrum was founded in 1971, giving room to an – at that time – quite innovative idea: the unification of various domains of the biological and natural sciences under the same roof. Its goal was to facilitate collaboration with other research areas – a successful concept, as it turned out that nowadays the different research areas cannot be considered separately. They depend on a tight collaboration and profit from each other.

So what is basic research? One could summarize it as „the search for the understanding of the mechanisms of life“. The approximately 30 research groups with members from more than 30 nations investigate biological processes on a molecular basis. The spectrum of their work ranges from basic questions (what does a cell consist of, and how does it work?) to the development of whole organisms – how does a cell know whether to become a leg or an eye? - and further to the determination of a molecule’s structure and its functions. Is Alzheimer’s Disease hereditary, and if so, why is that? How does the HIV-virus or a plague bacterium manage to infect a cell, and what can we do against it? Also, the links to medicine and pharmacology are getting tighter. Why do different people react differently to the same medication? About 200 papers, written by the institute’s scientists, are published every year, and the number and importance of these publications are situated in the top quarter internationally – not a bad result for a relatively small institute.

The staff

About 430 people are employed at the Biozentrum. More than half of them stay between 1 and 5 years only, for different reasons: about 120 are postdocs, independent scientists, grant holders and assistant professors (1 – 5 years), about 80 are PhD-students (3 – 4 years) and 50 are diploma students (undergraduate students in their 4th year of studies). More than 80 persons occupy technical positions or work in the administration, about 70 are laboratory technicians, and about 30 tenured professors work in groups with up to 20 members. Furthermore, there is a regular turnover of guest professors and sabbatical visitors who, after a short stay (2 weeks – 1 year), return to their working places in foreign countries or other institutes. Finally, the institute welcomes about 40 new students every year. Altogether, about 44 % of the staff are women, out of which only 32 % are scientists, whereas two thirds are working in the administration and technical jobs.

Teaching and education – studying at the Biozentrum

The special aspect of the Biozentrum is the fact that the studies in biology at the University of Basel are passed ‘live’ in a research institute. The advantage is that from the beginning on, the students are personally involved in an active, authentic research environment. From their first day on, they experience the every day life of a research scientist. They gain theoretical knowledge, but at the same time learn how to set up experimental methods, and gather practical experience through active research work. The biological research studies are split up into three steps:

Basic studies: With the establishment of the new Bachelor/Master-concept (‚Bologna-model‘), the University of Basel joins an internationally accepted model. Studies leading to the diploma last about 4 years. The last year consists of practical diploma work in a research group.

PhD studies: Require original research that normally takes 3 – 4 years. Each year, about 25 students graduate with a doctorate. Roughly the same number carry out their PhD-work at other Basel institutions, mentored by Biozentrum scientists. These institutions can be the Friedrich Miescher Institute, the Research Department of the Kantonsspital (cantonal hospital) or a research laboratory in the industry.

Postdoctoral studies: After graduation, young scientists usually spend some years in research groups in foreign countries to enlarge their knowledge and expand their horizons. In turn, many postdocs from all over the world spend time at the Biozentrum.

See also

External links



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