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Turning the spotlight on a university’s social impact


Research, teaching, and third mission activities are the core responsibilities of any university. The concept of “third mission” refers to knowledge transfer, social engagement, and activities that involve different sectors of society. WU decided to take stock of the diverse impacts of its research, teaching, and third mission activities and reflect upon them. This work has resulted in the publication of three reports. The last installment, WU’s Third Mission Impact Report, has now been released.

WU is one of the largest business and economics universities in Europe. With its extensive research, teaching, and third mission activities, WU has a strong impact both nationally and internationally.

How WU lives up to its social responsibility

Universities are actively involved in the general public discussion about social responsibility. To describe the role universities play in this regard, the concept of universities’ third mission was coined, which has since become more and more important. However, it is hard to give a general definition of what exactly a university’s third mission involves. “To WU, ‘third mission’ means assuming an active role in society. WU sees itself as a responsible university, a university that is committed to responsibility not only in the national context but also at the international level,” says WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. The new brochure takes a closer look at WU’s broad range of activities and assigns them to four dimensions: research, teaching, social engagement, and WU’s commitment to being a social role model. 

The many facets of social engagement

WU’s social engagement has many facets. For example, WU acts as a partner in many innovation networks, where it facilitates knowledge transfer that works both ways: WU contributes academic business and economics expertise to help shape social systems, and in turn it receives feedback on the practical relevance of its research and teaching. WU also takes an active role in strengthening Vienna’s position as a business location through its involvement in RCE Vienna, its Entrepreneurship Center, and its participation in smart city projects. WU also acts as a role model with programs such as Volunteering@WU and WU4Juniors. Campus WU is another facet: WU’s campus is climate neutral in its operation, its landscaping concept uses biodiversity-friendly plants, it offers barrier-free accessibility, and its rooftops are home to several beehives. Campus WU also serves as a meeting place. With its publicly accessible library and numerous public events and discussions, it aims to bring together academia and society. “The third mission activities documented in this brochure provide specific examples of the active commitment WU shows in the relevant areas. The diverse range of the initiatives covered reflects the complexity of the ‘third mission’ concept as well as our broad understanding of what social responsibility means to WU,” explains Rector Hanappi-Egger.

View all Impact Reports https://www.wu.ac.at/en/the-university/about-wu/impact

Cornelia Moll
Press Relations Officer
Tel: + 43-1-31336-4977
Email: cornelia.moll@wu.ac.at

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