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3 research projects related to COVID-19 funded

03/04/2020

Research on the effects of the corona crisis needed in all areas

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are posing huge challenges for the whole world. In Austria, as in many other countries, the economy has ground to a near standstill. Many companies have had to put their employees on short-time working. Unemployment figures have soared to the highest numbers since 1945. How will the corona crisis change the economy, the legal system, and society? New research is needed to answer these questions. WU has now launched 3 new WWTF-funded research projects related to COVID-19, and many more are in the pipeline.

At the beginning of the crisis, research efforts focused primarily on medical and health-related topics. But now economic and social issues are increasingly coming to the fore. Long term, it is especially in these areas that the pandemic will leave its mark. To find out what this mark will be and what we can learn from the crisis, research is needed in the fields of economics, business, the social sciences, and law. As WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger points out, “This crisis will obviously have massive effects on the economy, but research is also needed on questions related to the social sciences and law to investigate all its key aspects. At WU, we issued a call for proposals and received over 50 ideas for research projects within only a couple of hours. This not only confirms the dedication of our researchers but also shows how numerous the relevant research questions are.”

Answers and recommendations for the future

“The effects of the corona crisis on the economy and society will be felt for a very long time. Through research, we can now help to provide a basis for making key decisions for the future, based on responsibility and scientific evidence. Many answers and recommendations for the future can only be developed as long as the current situation persists and dedicated research funding opportunities are available,” Rector Hanappi-Egger points out.

3 research projects launched

From the many ideas put forward, 3 WU projects have already been accepted for funding by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF).

Multiple stresses due to COVID-19: Teleworking and domestic work

In a joint project with the Vienna Chamber of Labor (AK Wien), Katharina Mader from the Institute for Heterodox Economics investigates how teleworking affects the distribution of unpaid domestic work in households. She also looks at the share of unpaid work performed by mothers in households with children under 15 years of age in situations where the other parent is also present at home due to teleworking, unemployment, or short-time working.

Social coherence during the corona crisis

Jurgen Willems from the Institute for Public Management and Governance will study the social changes caused by the crisis to identify key lessons to be learned for dealing with future crises. He will compare survey results from the time before the crisis with data collected during the corona situation. In particular, he will look at how serious crises change people’s perceptions of their social roles and at the effects of crises on prosocial behavior.

The effects of SARS-CoV-2 measures on business activities abroad and domestic jobs

Together with several partners, Jonas Puck from the Institute for International Business is investigating how corporate decision makers’ perception of the pandemic will influence future corporate investment strategies on national and international levels. There is strong evidence in strategy research that the way decision makers interpret a specific situation (e.g. as a threat or as an opportunity) has implications for their companies’ strategies and internationalization processes. The project is intended to provide political decision makers with recommendations to help them announce political measures in ways that are perceived positively by the business community and help minimize negative effects. Given that most jobs in Austria are financed from business activities carried out abroad, steps for stabilizing business activities abroad could help secure many jobs in Austria.

WU shares its knowledge with the public

The insights gained from WU’s research is not only intended to benefit corporate and political decision makers, however. In uncertain times like these, it is crucial to answer pressing questions based on figures, data, and facts. For this reason, it is very important to WU to share its expertise with the public. WU researchers are answering questions submitted by members of the public about how the COVID-19 crisis will affect the economy, society, and the legal system. The questions received so far show that there is currently a great need for scientific expertise, nationally and internationally. “We quickly received questions from Austria, Finland, Russia, Malaysia and many other countries. People everywhere are wondering how COVID-19 will affect the different regions of the world, the financial markets, jobs, and education,” says Rector Hanappi-Egger.

You can submit questions or read WU’s answers at: wu.at/knowledge

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