Faculty of Human Sciences

Research Management

From Philosophy to Research Management: Introducing Michael Sollberger

What was your career path before joining FOMA?
I hold a PhD in analytical philosophy with a dissertation on theories of perception and have been engaged in research and teaching at various universities, including Fribourg, Lausanne, EPFL, Canberra, and Oxford. In these positions, I have always worked interdisciplinarily in the fields of philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, as well as neuro- and cognitive sciences. After my academic career, I spent eight years working at the Grants Office of the University of Bern, where, as a Grants Advisor, I gained diverse insights into the research conducted at the university and extensive experience in supporting researchers, their projects, and careers.

What motivated you to take on your current position as a Research Manager, and what do you enjoy most about it?
The transition to research management was a conscious decision on my part. Although no longer a researcher myself, I wanted to remain at the forefront of research while providing professional support to researchers. In my role as a Research Manager, I particularly enjoy the diversity of our areas of influence and the opportunity to closely collaborate with dedicated researchers. I find the mix of support, personal relationships, and new, innovative ideas fantastic.

What are your daily challenges, and what is important to you?
One of the biggest challenges is to stay constantly up-to-date with research trends, funding opportunities, and requirements to provide the best possible support to researchers and the faculty, both now and in the future. It is particularly important to me to be authentic and professional while creating an open and pleasant atmosphere in which all researchers, especially early-career researchers, feel comfortable.

What makes the work at FOMA special?
The work at FOMA is particularly interesting to me because we hold a central interface function. We are close to the researchers of our faculty and act as a link between them and our various cooperation partners within and outside the University of Bern. These close relationships are essential for our work and allow us to provide tailored support. The proximity to our researchers is always my primary orientation, i.e., the researchers and their needs act as a compass that guides my work. I greatly value personal relationships and direct exchange – they enrich my work immensely and enable me to contribute to the research excellence at our faculty.

What do you do in your free time?
My great passion is climbing and bouldering, whether indoors, outdoors, in the Pre-Alps, in the Jura, in Italy, or Greece. I also enjoy jogging, learning new languages, and going on (climbing) trips. You can often find me in the mountains, where I enjoy nature while hiking and seeking new challenges on the rocks. Additionally, I love spending time with my family.

What is personally important to you?
Epistemic humility and the ability to not take oneself too seriously – these two maxims are important to me.

And finally, what is your life motto?
Cognosce te ipsum – Knowledge of the world requires knowledge of oneself.