Knowledge and development
"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 Commission for Development Research (KEF) has put 100 projects in 39 African, Asian and Latin American countries into practice so far; the focus of these projects is on environment, agriculture and forestry, healthcare, water and social sciences issues. The Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR), which is financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), has put 36 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 153 students in master’s and PhD programmes.
The Education and Research for International Development Cooperation department draws up and enables publications, produces radio programmes, organises events (e.g. the development policy Film Days, public information and discussion events) and 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.