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 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 200 students in master’s and PhD programmes.

Until its discontinuation at 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 Education and Research for International Development Cooperation department 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.