Let’s Talk

In an era characterized by fake news and disinformation campaigns, it is becoming more and more important to provide scientifically sound facts to all members of society. We are proud to do so with great commitment.

100 years ago, on October 21, 1919, the Imperial Export Academy, the predecessor institution of WU, became the University of World Trade. This was the birth of research at WU. Today, it is an essential part of WU’s identity. Our researchers seek answers to current and future challenges in business and society, and their research results are a valuable contribution to public discourse.

“WU is aware of its important role as Austria’s largest research institution for business and economics. In our research, we’re answering important questions related to these fields, and it is very important to us to share these answers with the people.”
Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger
Studierende im Gespräch

100 questions – 100 answers

We needed to come up with something special for the “100 Years of Research at WU” anniversary, so we called on the public to ask our researchers everything they always wanted to know about business and economics. The response was overwhelming – 40,000 people visited our platform 100jahreforschung.at and showed their interest in our work. Over 200 questions were submitted, on subjects ranging from general business and economics, trade, and finance to today’s hottest topics, such as sustainability, climate protection, and digitalization. Current events like the Brexit also ranked high on the list of questions. Here are a few examples:

  • How much would Austria need to spend per capita to meet the Paris climate targets?
  • Which kinds of jobs will still exist 30 years from now? Won’t all of us be replaced by robots and AI anyway?
  • Are quotas for women a useful instrument for reducing gender inequality? How are they supposed to work?
  • Why are our societies failing to reduce the gap between rich and poor?
  • Who profits from the rampant discount wars we’re seeing in our supermarkets?
  • Which products from the UK would become considerably more expensive in the event of a no-deal Brexit? Which sectors of the Austrian economy would be hit hardest?

We looked for the most suitable experts among our 1,600 researchers to answer the 100 most interesting questions. The WU specialists’ answer videos were published on the online platform and are still available as a public knowledge database. A social media campaign was launched to accompany the initiative, reaching 1.6 million users.

Example Video 100 years research
“We are very pleased about the great response we have received. This shows us that there is strong demand for fact-based knowledge and that our research topics really resonate with our times.”
Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger

Face to face with researchers

22 talks and panel discussions, 95 experts behind the podium, 4,700 attendees – that’s the event series “WU matters. WU talks.” in numbers for 2019.

Our researchers are committed to investigating the greatest challenges facing politics and business today. They share their findings and innovations at numerous lectures and discussions, and experts from the field and interested members of the public are cordially invited to attend. The event series has been running since 2016 and is very well received.

2019 events

  • The cost of destroying the Death Star
  • The many facets of communication
  • Social media: What are users really liable for?
  • Religious diversity and spirituality at universities
  • Veganism, feminism, and the protein revolution
  • Brexit – and then?
  • The euro is turning 20 – What comes next?
  • How does the increasing acceleration affect people and organizations?
  • Family businesses – Future stars or totally obsolescent?
  • The urban mobility of tomorrow
  • Can you still say that?
  • Social mobility in Austria. A ladder with no rungs?
  • Trump and the trade wars: the end of globalization?
  • Excellence – Demands and incentives
  • Digital production – An opportunity for reindustrialization
  • Big data vs. privacy
  • Economics and the climate – A way out of the climate crisis
  • Online platforms – A major opportunity, even for small-scale businesses?
  • Sustainability – None of my business?
  • Digitalization – Humans vs. machines?
  • The double-edged sword of learning from disasters
  • Homo moralis? – Between self-interest, morality, and envy
Vortag mit Publikum

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are on the agenda for most Fortune 500 companies, but we are still facing many of the same challenges today as we did 20 years ago: Fewer than 5% of all CEO positions are held by women, and inclusive behavior is rarely named as a key aspect of successful management.

Addressing this issue, the WU Executive Academy and the Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation organized an event entitled “Diversity and inclusion in a global business environment – from setting the agenda to actual implementation – the Do’s and Don’ts” in June. Internationally renowned experts on learning and organizational behavior talked about common obstacles to implementing diversity and inclusion strategies and what managers can do to overcome them.

Kids in the classroom

From July 10 to 12, Campus WU belonged to children between the ages of 7 and 12. WU participated in the Children’s University program for the 6th time, offering the young students a fun and diverse program of 24 workshops and seminars. Kids could learn about business and economics, money and finance, sustainability, law, and social and intercultural skills in workshops such as “Let’s make a deal – Five coconuts for an Xbox,” “How to take money away from terrorists,” “Turning old into new,” and “What goes on in court.” Our young researchers were very enthusiastic about the program.

Enjoying the summer on Campus

Campus WU is not only a place for teaching and learning, it is also a place where people meet and exchange ideas, and is characterized by openness and diversity – as demonstrated once again by the 2019 WU Summer Celebration. 8,500 members of the WU community, students, graduates, partners, and area residents came to celebrate the end of the academic year. A varied program, including top musical acts, put everyone in a great mood. As part of the “100 Years of Research” campaign, we invited our guests to talk with our researchers and ask them the questions that interested them the most.

Musiker und Publikum beim WU Sommerfest
Staying in Touch with Business and Politics