Agents of change through actionable sustainability

If you’re serious about sustainability and climate change, what better place to study than in the world’s greenest city? Nestled right next to Vienna’s lush Türkenschanzpark, the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, has consistently maintained its status as one of Europe’s leading educational centers for the study of the intersection complex of technical scientific knowledge and current socio-economic challenges since its inception as a farming business. college in 1872.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how critical a healthy ecosystem is to our collective recovery from the virus, and knowledge about the sustainable management of planetary resources is more essential than ever to stem long-term biodiversity losses. BOKU’s solution-centric approach to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is fully integrated in six areas of expertise: ecosystem and biodiversity management, agricultural and food production, renewable raw materials. and new technologies, biotechnology, resources and social dynamics, such as Landscape, Water, Habitat and Infrastructure.

Source: BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

BOKU is home to 15 departments led by some of the world’s most cited scholars, offering 13 master’s programs and nine doctoral programs that can be completed entirely in English. The courses range from biotechnology, mountain forestry, water management and environmental engineering, among others. With such specialized research, it is no wonder that BOKU is also well connected globally. The university maintains 360 multi- and bilateral relationships with universities and research institutes around the world, including the Euroleague of Life Sciences (ELLS) and the European Partnership for an Innovative Campus Unifying Regions (EPICUR).

For American student Emilia Winter Artusio, BOKU is the ideal next step in her college career after studying forestry during her undergraduate years. “I knew my interests were focused on forest ecology rather than forest economics and harvesting, which is why the master’s program in mountain forestry at BOKU caught my attention,” she explains. “Students have the opportunity to focus on forest engineering, while others may choose to get involved in the socio-dynamic consequences that evolve through forestry. I plan to take the Mountain Forest Ecology elective course, as I believe it is the most relevant for my future work environment.

BOKU University

Source: BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

One of BOKU’s main areas of intervention is the sustainable development of landscape, infrastructure and water in order to mitigate the risks associated with natural disasters. “The availability of water for agricultural production, the functionality of an ecosystem, as well as access to sufficient high-quality drinking water in different regions of the earth – especially dry regions under conditions of change climate – are topics of my interests and why I choose this course, ”explains Jürgen Rieger, who is pursuing his Masters program in Water Management and Environmental Engineering. Through BOKU’s interdisciplinary methodology merging contemporary space research, engineering sciences and the in-depth study of water systems, Rieger says he is able to connect larger problems and challenges in the industry. water management through contributions from other sciences.

With complex problem solving listed as a foundational skill needed in the 21st century by the World Economic Forum, students will have ample opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to the design of practical solutions to address emerging business management concerns. resources. The only Austrian university to devote all of its research and teaching to the sustainable protection of natural resources seeks to deepen its innovative sustainability framework as BOKU celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022.

Among those who embody this principle is Philip Berger, a member of the university’s iGEM Vienna 2019 team. The team made progress at the first international synthetic biology competition when they won the gold medal in Boston for designing a new diagnostic tool to detect Buruli ulcer, a tropical disease that the World Organization (WHO) classifies as “neglected”. A member of the university’s students ‘union, Berger notes that his role as an intermediary outside the classroom has given him a space to communicate students’ ideas and issues at the university and to other stakeholders. . “I gained a lot of experience during my studies in academic and non-academic settings. It made me who I am now.

BOKU University

BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Since 2014, Austria has introduced the “Citizen Science” (Österreich forscht) project with the ultimate aim of involving ordinary citizens in scientific research. Its long tradition of partnering with local communities reinforces BOKU’s central role in promoting Austria’s sustainability goals. BOKU now oversees the Citizen Science Network, bridging the gap between academia and society to make scientific knowledge more accessible to all. Students learn that sustainability looms large in social responsibility with the university’s citizen science projects in areas such as analysis of forest fires and heavy metal contamination in urban gardens.

It is impossible to sum up all the milestones of BOKU over the past 150 years. The university’s rooting in mainstreaming sustainability into all societal development processes continues to underpin its teaching and research, where students are shaped into knowledgeable industry leaders. If you are ready to fulfill your role as an instigator of change towards a greener society, BOKU might be a good fit for you, and you can read more about what it has to offer here.

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