This spring, Universities Austria (uniko) launched the online campaign “UNInteressant? – Ideen, die unser Leben verbessern” [UNInteresting? – Ideas that Improve Our Lives], as part of which 22 Austrian universities—including the mdw—are now presenting research work that helps people live better from day to day.
The object of this campaign, says uniko president Sabine Seidler, “is to present easily understood information about the direct utility of universities and the knowledge they generate in people’s individual life situations”, thus also lending greater visibility to the significance of research, science, and universities.
It’s thus that the campaign website presents a diverse range of research achievements divided into the categories of Health, Culture and Sport, Technology, Environment, Economy and Labour, and Human Coexistence. One learns, for example, that the edelweiss plant can rescue lives (University of Innsbruck), that a smartphone keyboard for the blind is being developed at TU Wien, and that the Vienna University of Economics and Business is generating insights into how impressions in the realm of online feedback are being skewed by a faulty system.
In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign has added a section on coronavirus-related research that highlights less-known but no-less-relevant themes. A study by the University of Vienna, for instance, shows that the ongoing pandemic is exacerbating inequality in Austria. Like the other sections, this one also shows how actively Austrian universities are addressing and researching themes of both present and future relevance.
Behind all of these research achievements are people. And what drives these people, where it’s all going, and how it’s set to continue are topics that “UNInteressant? – Ideen, die unser Leben verbessern” also covers. For example: about mdw researcher Ursula Hemetek—who heads the mdw’s Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology, is a winner of the FWF’s Wittgenstein Award, and founded the mdw’s Music and Minorities Research Center (MMRC)—one learns about her decision to devote herself to the music of marginalised groups quite early on in her career.
“We’re pleased that the mdw’s research achievements are now also reaching a broader public,” says mdw rector Ulrike Sych, “for we view the research that goes on here as a significant aspect of how we engage with art, culture, and society. And in the context of society at large, the academic and artistic research done at the mdw helps to cultivate a critical awareness of our present era’s challenges and identify new possible courses of action.”
The colourful range of themes covered by the campaign is rounded out by clear and accessible videos along with links to detailed information that combine to provide something for everybody.
From autumn 2020, this uniko campaign will be updated with further current research achievements and expanded by a focus on the singularly essential topics of mobility and sustainability.
More information at uninteressant.at