WU’s Impact on Society


WU sees itself not only as a place of research and teaching, but also as a place for exchanging knowledge and ideas with the public.

Campus WU is open to everyone. WU’s public events are very popular, and engagement with the business community and society is a priority for the university.

Campus WU was inaugurated 10 years ago, on the former site of the 1873 Vienna Expo. 55,000 of WU’s total 100,000 square meters of campus space are open outdoor areas. The campus not only offers space for students, researchers, teachers, and staff, it’s also a meeting place where visitors from all over the world come together in an exciting architectural setting.

Campus WU is climate neutral, has a biodiversity-focused planting concept, barrier-free accessibility, and rooftop beehives. At the same time, with a library that’s open to the public and numerous public events, it builds a bridge between science and society. When WU’s researchers present the results of their research at open talks, the interested public is invited to join in the discussion. In 2022, around 3,800 people attended the ‘WU matters. WU talks.’ event series on campus or joined the livestreams online.

Campus WU provides a space for social, cultural, and political life. As an annual highlight for all friends of WU, the WU Summer Celebration is a good example. This event brings together students, alumni, faculty, staff, partners, and area residents to celebrate the end of the academic year.

During the Children’s University, WU opens its auditoriums to children aged 7 to 12. The program includes numerous events where kids can gain insights into business and economics, business law, and finance.

Engaging with society

Universities use their research and teaching to support business and the economy, policymakers, and society. This is what has been termed the “third mission,” which has come to be regarded as one of the core responsibilities of a university. For example, WU plays an active role in strengthening Vienna’s profile as a business location through its involvement in the Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development Vienna (RCE Vienna), the WU Entrepreneurship Center, and various smart city projects.

WU strives to be a model for other institutions to follow, as evidenced by programs such as Volunteering@WU, where WU students spend time with children and teenagers from socially disadvantaged families to study and have fun together. The Changemaker initiative is a WU program that teaches entrepreneurial thinking to children in elementary school. WU4Juniors is a business and economics education platform open to all young people who would like to develop their business and economics knowledge before starting a degree program.


WU’s impact also comes from its research: Nearly WU 1,600 researchers work to strengthen our understanding of today’s economic, social, legal, and ecological challenges and find solutions for ensuring our prosperity and quality of life. More than 1,100 publications result from these intensive research activities every year. The knowledge produced at WU has an impact on business activities, lawmaking, and public debates in Austria and Europe.

Annual publications that highlight WU’s impact

Key annual publications give visibility to the added value created by the knowledge produced at WU, which sets it apart from other universities. The Intellectual Capital Report, for example, provides information about WU’s achievements, based on a set of indicators that is the same for all Austrian universities. The report also includes a comprehensive text section that complements this overview of WU’s achievements in research and teaching in the respective calendar year.

The WU Annual Report covers the whole range of topics that WU deals with during a given year – it includes not only academic issues but, above all, it also looks at topics related to WU’s impact on society.

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