Call for DIZH Bridge Professorships

Introduction

The research program of the "Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Universities" (DIZH) includes the creation of three bridge professorships between 2021 and 2023. These professorships are interdisciplinary and contribute to connecting the partner universities on a scientific level. The professorships are tasked with bringing together relevant activities from the various partner universities in a particular field and creating synergies between them.

Three bridge professorships are financed directly by the DIZH program at the UZH, although the financing does not correspond to that of a full professorship. The UZH's financial planning for the DIZH provides for a total of CHF 6.2 million for the bridge professorships (i.e. approximately CHF 2 million per professorship), and the creation of these professorships will be staggered over the years 2021 to 2023. The Canton of Zurich expects that the DIZH activities will be additionally financed by the UZH's own funds (and supplemented by the partner universities), which can be used for the further development of the professorships. The financing of the professorships is the universities’ responsibility after the DIZH expires in 2029.

The bridge professorships financed directly by the DIZH are advertised competitively and internationally by each UZH faculty. They are set up according to the usual procedures in cooperation with one of the other partner universities. The bridge professorships are active and visible at both partner universities. The bridge professorships are subject to evaluation in accordance with standard UZH procedures (usually after six years), and successful cooperation between the DIZH universities involved will also be assessed.

The partner universities agree on the areas in which bridge professorships are reasonable and what profile they should have. If possible, a representative from the second university involved in each professorship should be given a seat on the appointment committee. Applications are reviewed and prioritized by the Commission for DIZH Bridge Professorships, which consists of representatives from all UZH faculties and partner universities. The exact procedures for creating the bridge professorships are explained in the Process section below.

The aim is to create one bridge professorship for each cooperation between the three partner universities of the UZH (PHZH, ZHAW, ZHdK); however, the final selection criterion is the quality of the applications. Bridge professorships can also involve more than two universities.

Call

This call is distributed by the UZH faculties and the departments or prorectorates of the DIZH partner institutions. Ideas for DIZH bridge professorships will, if possible, be submitted first as outlines (i.e. "one-pagers") and then as complete submissions to the Commission for DIZH Bridge Professorships according to the scheme below. Further details can be found in the Process section.

Applicant: Formally, the seven faculties of the UZH are entitled to submit applications for DIZH bridge professorships to the Commission. Each application must have the formal support of at least one UZH faculty and one department/prorectorate of a DIZH partner university. The faculties are free to make an internal pre-selection.

Structure of the final submission: A proposal for the creation of a DIZH bridge professorship should be based on the template (DOCX, 327 KB) for DIZH bridge professorships and should comprise approximately 4-5 pages. This submission must explicitly address the following points:

A) Topical orientation: The topical orientation of the DIZH bridge professorship should be related to the roadmap of the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) of the University of Zurich. It may also be related to education or the subject area Art, Culture, and Religion. The field of Art, Culture, and Religion can include, for example, research on the interrelationship between digitalization, art, culture, and religion: on the transformation of the arts, on the self-description of the human being, and on cultural self-understanding on the one hand, and on research on the artistic, religious, and cultural reflection of these changes on the other hand. In addition to Digital Literacy/Skills, the subject area education can also address, for example, teaching and learning in the context of digital transformation or the transformation of educational systems and institutions in a digital society.

B) Interdisciplinarity: The submission should clearly explain the interdisciplinary character of the bridge professorship.

C) Synergies: The submission should clearly outline the synergy of the cooperation between the partner universities in the respective professorship. The added value and challenges of the cooperation must be highlighted.

D) Bridge character: Based on the following three elements, the submission should explicitly indicate how the cooperation (or the "bridge") between the partner institutions will be designed:

  1. Research: Applicants should demonstrate how the research topics and competencies of the participating institutions complement and support each other in the bridge professorship and explain the potential of the collaboration over the long-term.
  2. Teaching: Applicants should clearly explain how the bridge professorship will provide teaching not only at the UZH but also at the partner university (e.g. in joint courses) and the extent to which the teaching provided at the partner university will be credited to the teaching requirement at the UZH.
  3. Financing: Using the template, applicants should show how both the respective UZH faculty and the partner institution(s) will contribute to the co-financing of the bridge professorship and how the professorship will be financed after 2029.

Process

Submissions for a DIZH bridge professorship will be handled according to the following procedure:

  1. If possible, initial outlines of ideas for submissions to the Commission for DIZH Bridge Professorships should be submitted by February 1, 2021. These submissions should not exceed one page and should contain the following information:
  • Outline of the orientation of the bridge professorship; in particular the topic area, interdisciplinary character, and planned synergies.
  • Name and contact details of at least one person from the UZH and at least one person from a DIZH partner institution who will act as the "carriers" of the idea.
  • Provisional support for the idea by the heads of the UZH faculty involved and the department or prorectorate of the respective partner university. The provisional support does not have to include a commitment to formal approval by the respective organization and financial support. This can be provided in the form of a separate e-mail to the Commission, on which all relevant persons should be copied.
  • Please note that the submission of an outline is not a requirement for the submission of a definitive application; it only serves the Commission for planning purposes.
  1. Definitive applications for bridge professorships must be submitted by the UZH faculties by April 1, 2021. Applications should include the formal confirmation (i.e., signature) of both the respective UZH faculty’s dean's office and the department/rectorate of the respective partner university.
  2. Next, the Commission will outline a prioritized list of proposals by May 1, 2021 for the attention of the DSI Steering Committee (consisting of the UZH University Management and the UZH Deans). This committee will make the final decision regarding which bridge professorships are to be awarded.
  3. Professorships are then created according to the specifications of the respective UZH faculties.

Both the submission of draft ideas and the proposals should be sent to dizh-professorships@dsi.uzh.ch