Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
    11 to 30 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
    4-7 lecture units
    up to 1 semester
    more than 1 semester
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English

Resource Description

Sustainability Challenge(Resource ID: 55)

60 students - 4 universities - 2 semester - 1 goal: Students discuss real problems with stakeholders of economy and science. Through the study of concrete solutions for today’s challenges, students and stakeholder collectively create additional value for humans and the environment.

The Sustainability Challenge is an interdisciplinary lecture series offered by all four of Vienna’s major universities. The course is intended to introduce today’s students, i.e. tomorrow’s decision makers, to the concept of sustainable development.

As an interface between science, business, and politics, the Sustainability Challenge aims to facilitate cooperation between different sectors to help ensure a just, viable, and livable world for future generations. The Sustainability Challenge approach was based on the fact that sustainable development is only feasible through interdisciplinary cooperation, and helps meet the international demand for interdisciplinary solutions in this field.

The program is offered at the University of Vienna, the Vienna University of Technology, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. It is under the patronage of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and is funded in part by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). The program is available to 80 Viennese students each year and is based on the four topics climate change, ecological business, sustainable construction and energy, and socioecological policy.

The Sustainability Challenge supplements traditional teaching methods with interdisciplinary group work assignments and service learning, a teaching method that combines classroom instruction with meaningful local community service.

Students should be provided with basic knowledge of the possible consequences of their actions in both private and professional contexts. The teaching and learning methods applied are based on sustainability education methodology, imparting system skills, trans-disciplinary skills, deconstruction and discourse skills and focusing on networks, cycles, and discourse.

Preparation Efforts Description
Understanding of social and environmental sustainable development
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Necessary documents / materials


Integration of stakeholders
Both science and economy stakeholders introduce problems and challenges
–These are discussed with students
–Students, in conjunction with the stakeholders address these problems and develop viable solutions
Strengths of the method
– Inter- and trans-disciplinary approach
– Students learn to find appropriate solutions on the basis of real problems
– Economy and society benefits from teamwork of students and stakeholder

Understanding of social and environmental sustainable development
Weaknesses of the method
– Stakeholders must be contacted with material (tasks) in advance of collaboration
– Stakeholders may have a personal agenda
Sources and Links

This lecture course was developed in 2009 by the 4 Universities "University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna", "University of Vienna", "Vienna University of Technology", and "WU Vienna University of Economics and Business" in cooperation with the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and the Federal Ministry of Science Research and Economy.






Funded by
This teaching resource, realised within the project ConSus, has been funded with the support of the TEMPUS of the European Union. The contents reflect the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Richard Kromp
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Center for Global Change and Sustainability


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