Junior Colleagues Research and Education Joining Forces:

Introducing the Austrian Research Program "proVISION: Precaution for Nature and Society"

bridges vol. 12, December 2006 / Feature Article

by Marie Céline Loibl and Karolina Begusch-Pfefferkorn


The Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (BMBWK) has introduced the research program proVISION : Precaution for Nature and Society to promote research on sustainable development. proVISION is one of the measures taken to implement the Austrian Strategy for Research on Sustainable Development (FORNE , Web site in German). This strategy is supported by the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development as well as two other ministries (the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology ; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management) and should ensure coherent structuring of the national research activities.

proVISION deals with the interrelationships between climate change, spatial development, and quality of life. It focuses on the ecological and socioeconomic aspects of sustainable development. The research projects investigate functions and services of ecosystems with regard to their impact on societal procedures. proVISION requires the scientists involved to get in contact with society.

Among proVISION's several research principles, transdisciplinarity is undoubtedly the most important one. Transdisciplinarity means that non-scientists have to be involved in the production of scientific knowledge. One of the ways we consider essential to realizing transdisciplinarity is the collaboration of schools and other educational institutions with proVISION projects. Thus, collaboration of research and education constitutes another of the program's major principles: Each proVISION project has to collaborate with educational partners. The political framework is given by the "UN-Decade of Education on Sustainable Development" (2005-2014).

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