Knowledge and development

Windrad aus Karton vor Betonmauer © OeAD/Gianmaria Gava

"Development" is understood as a holistic concept that endeavours to improve the quality of life of people especially in less and least developed countries within their own cultural framework conditions. The "limits to growth" show that the resolution of global ecological problems is not possible without global social reconciliation of interests – especially through reduction of absolute poverty. This development discourse addresses the question of the relationship between industrialised and poorest countries and that of "desirable" knowledge bases. Internationalisation of science within the context of development-relevant transnational questions also means unprejudiced dealing with different knowledge models.

Development research is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area of science. Development-relevant analyses and problem solutions for countries, societies and regions with low infrastructure and which are at risk of poverty are developed on the basis of empirical studies. The thematic framework and the development policy goals of development research are defined by the UN-Sustainable-Development-Goals, (SDGs). Research in cooperation between Austrian higher education institutions, scientific institutions and partner institutions in less and least developed countries is supported and accompanied; the results are made accessible to the scientific community and the interested public.

The Austrian-African Research Network Africa-UniNet is financed by the BMBWF und was initiated to create a long-term, stable basis for cooperation between Austrian and African universities and research institutions. It intends to promote new contacts, deepen scientific cooperation and provide excellent opportunities for innovative joint research projects, that are thematically related to the SDGs. At the first call of the network, a total of 50 research proposals were submitted by the end of September 2020, 33 of them from universities in 11 African countries.

The Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR), which is financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), has put 45 academic partnerships between Austrian higher education institutions and universities and scientific institutions in the priority countries and regions of the ADC into practice since the start of the programme at the end of 2009 and provided guidance to about 180 students in master’s and PhD programmes. From December 2020 on the third phase of the APPEAR program will be implemented with a term of another seven years.

The programme Cooperation Development Research, financed by the BMBWF, is a funding programme to support development research projects. The aim is to support application-oriented cooperation projects between Austrian higher education institutions/research institutions and institutions in countries of the Global South in order to contribute to analysing and solving local challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Eligible costs are mobility and material expenses in the context of one to three year research projects in all scientific disciplines. For further information and the link to the current call please click

Until the end of 2018 the Commission for Development Research (KEF) implemented 102 projects in 41 African, Asian and Latin American countries. The focus of these projects was on environment, agriculture, forestry, health, water and social sciences.

The Unit Education and Research for Development Cooperation creates and enables publications, organises events, e.g. the development policy Film Days, public information and discussion events, produces radio programmes (twice a month) under the title "Welt im Ohr" in cooperation with ORF Ö1 Campus and creates networks on the national and international level with thematically relevant initiatives and institutions. The aim of the networking and public relations activities is to contribute to the further development of a culture of cooperation between Austria and the partner countries that is based on the strengths of the partners and fulfils the "on equal footing" premise.