Forging Ahead

Research and Society

The work published by WU's researchers impacts not only the international scientific community but also the public, and makes an important contribution to social development.

WU and society

As a responsible university, contributing to public discourse and proposing research-based solutions to today’s challenges are among our most important jobs. In 2019, we presented our first publication detailing our research’s impact on society and support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“Many researchers want to help solve important social problems with their work. The new brochure presents real-life examples of how research impact can be tracked and communicated.”
André Martinuzzi, Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability

Under the direction of Vice-Rector Stefan Pichler (Vice-Rector for Research from 2015–2019), a team from the Institute for Managing Sustainability selected 30 research projects, based on the sustainable impact of their results. For example, they found that WU’s work contributes to reducing credit risks in the euro area and optimizing tax laws and, consequently, helps to improve overall economic conditions. WU is also laying the necessary groundwork for digitalization, for instance by helping protect people’s privacy in the digital sphere and developing new quality control systems for making open data more widely accessible. WU’s research provides a solid scientific basis to help decision-makers take steps towards reducing poverty and resource consumption, and it contributes to climate protection efforts by helping to design more efficient emissions trading systems. The knowledge generated also helps to improve the barrier-free accessibility of guidance systems and strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Knowledge transfer for the environment

Harmonizing the needs of business with the needs of nature is a complex challenge. A new cooperation between WWF-CEE and WU’s Institute for International Business was launched in 2019 to address this issue. In conversations and discussions with the institute’s students, ideas are generated for theses and research projects dealing with the increasing globalization of the economy and its effects on the work of NGOs, as well as the internationalization of WWF itself.

Signing of the cooperation between WU and WWF
Andreas Beckmann (WWF) and Jonas Puck (WU)
Andreas Beckmann und Jonas Puck
“This cooperation gives WU and the Institute for International Business the opportunity to benefit from WWF’s knowledge, both in teaching and research. At the same time, we can contribute our expertise on internationalization and globalization to WWF’s work, meaning that this cooperation brings clear advantages for both sides.”
Jonas Puck, Head of the Institute for International Business

Commitment to freedom of research

Universities are extremely important to society, as they generate fact-based knowledge not driven by ideologies and polemics. This role is crucial for a functioning democracy. WU is committed to the freedom of research and teaching, which is why we joined the Scholars at Risk initiative on January 1, 2019. This network is an association of more than 500 higher education institutions in 39 countries that provide threatened or persecuted researchers with the opportunity to spend time working at member universities as guest scholars.

“For WU, it is a matter of responsibility not to look away when colleagues are being persecuted and oppressed in other countries and systems. We will be actively participating in the important work of Scholars at Risk, welcoming guest researchers to WU, and helping raise awareness of the importance of free research and teaching.”
Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger
World-Class Research