WU’s impacts on the environment, society, and our future


WU presents its first publication that specifically highlights the social contributions and impacts made by selected research projects.

National and European higher education policies, as well as international accreditation agencies, increasingly require universities to document their impact. WU has taken steps to meet this growing demand for information and has drawn up the first publication that looks in detail at the social contributions made by 30 research projects, based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The research projects were selected specifically for the sustainable impact of their results. “WU is a responsible university that contributes to scientific discourse. But it also lives up to its responsibility towards society. By documenting the impact of its research activities, WU would like to increase the public visibility of its social contributions,” says WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. The initiative is also intended to raise impact awareness at WU, helping to align research activities more closely with society’s needs. “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,” points out André Martinuzzi, head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability, who assessed the impacts of the research projects together with his team.

Concrete examples of research impact

To illustrate the impacts of the research activities as clearly as possible, the selected projects are presented in the form of case studies, categorized based on the matching SDGs. In very concrete terms, these examples show which kinds of impact WU’s research actually has on social developments. For example, 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. The brochure highlights contributions to mastering important ecological and social challenges of our time. WU 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. WU’s research also has a direct impact on people’s everyday environment by helping to improve the barrier-free accessibility of guidance systems and strengthening the inclusion of people with disabilities.

As a responsible university, WU will continue to raise awareness of the impact created by its research activities and increase its contributions to the development of our society.

The brochure, written in English, is available at this LINK.

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