WU and UNIDO enter into cooperation agreement
UNIDO and WU will intensify their cooperation to make a stronger contribution to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As a responsible university, WU is committed to making the knowledge it generates accessible to the public and disseminating its scientific research results. Through its research activities, WU has a strong influence on society, the economy, and the environment. With research units like the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development and the Institute for Managing Sustainability, WU actively contributes to the fulfillment of the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger points out, “Building bridges between science and society is very important to WU. We achieve this goal primarily through cooperation with selected partners in business, society, and politics. The economic knowledge generated at WU helps to shape the development of social systems. Our cooperation with UNIDO and its affiliated institutions allows us to carry out important projects together and receive valuable practical feedback for our scientific research.”
Creating learning processes and environments
The main goals of WU’s cooperation with UNIDO seeks to create a space for innovation in order to generate transformative learning processes and learning environments to support sustainability transformation processes and contribute to positive socio-ecological impact towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. As UNIDO Director General LI Yong explains, “To achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development or ISID, we also need to develop and research digitalization, new tools, technologies, and innovation in the field of SDG-oriented impact assessment and finance that assist companies, SMEs, start-ups, and organizations to understand and improve the impact of their initiatives.” On the part of WU, these activities will be carried out at the new Research Institution for Transformative Learning and Impact Assessment (RITA). RITA is intended to serve as an interface between science and society and an interdisciplinary innovation lab for supporting the implementation of the SDGs. It will assist companies, local communities, public institutions and other stakeholders in recognizing, evaluating, and strengthening the positive socio-ecological impact they generate.
WU contributes research, UNIDO the practical questions
In concrete terms, WU/RITA will support UNIDO through research on impact assessment and impact investment (investments that generate not only financial gains but also positive social impact). WU/RITA will also support UNIDO in advancing scientific and practice-oriented innovations for fulfilling the SDGs. WU will provide scientific answers to practical questions related to UNIDO’s activities (e.g. regarding SDG-oriented start-ups, methods for recognizing, evaluating, and strengthening impact, and the assessment approaches needed to support SDG-oriented impact investment). Research will also be carried out on digitalization and its potential for creating new learning spaces.