"Diversity of the Regions"

The EPICUR Network Conference with the motto "Diversity of Regions" took place from May 18th - 20th, 2022 at the campus of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Associated partners, external stakeholders, speakers from the fields of "diversity" and "regional cooperation" and EPICURians from all nine EPICUR partner universities were invited.

The EPICUR Network Conference was the first opportunity for EPICUR to hold a live event on-site. In workshops on communication, research infrastructure, diversity and inclusion, distance internships for students and student participation, staff shared new ideas and evaluated the pilot phase.

In the evening, EPICUR accepted the invitation from the French Embassy and attended a panel discussion.

The conference day on May 19th was certified as a "Green Event" by the Austrian Eco-label. On the conference day, there were two presentations on regional cooperation and inclusion through innovation, as well as an EPICUR presentation on equity, diversity and inclusion measures, and a panel discussion at the end.

A broad cultural program was also provided with a queer sightseeing tour, a Viennese waltz dance class and a wine tasting.



Photo gallery of the EPICUR Networking Conference

©Christoph Gruber | BOKU-IT


EPICUR in Vienna

EPICUR Networking Conference – certified Green Event

The EPICUR Networking Conference was certified as a "Green event" by the Austrian Eco-label for Green Meetings and Green Events ("Oesterreichisches Umweltzeichen").

EPICUR followed the criteria of the Austrian Eco-label for Green Meetings and Green Event. There were many steps on the way to receive the Eco-label. The conference must meet environmentally-friendly requirements in mobility and CO2 compensation, accommodation, venue, procurement, material and waste management, exhibitors, catering and gastronomy, communication and social aspects.

The aim of the application for certification as a green event was to facilitate guests to participate in the conference in the most sustainable way possible and, thus, to contribute to raising awareness for environmentally-friendly events. The BOKU organisers shared with the participants from other countries the most environmentally-friendly arrival and departure practices, recommended accommodation in hotels certified with the Austrian Eco-label, and selected catering with vegan or vegetarian diet and regional offerings that adhere to ecological standards. There was the possibility to calculate travel with the CO2 calculation system from BOKU.

Green Meeting Commissioner at BOKU: Veronika Eberl 

The EPICUR tree in the BOKU garden

At the end of the festivities, EPICURians gathered in the BOKU garden behind the main building for the planting of a wild apple tree. BOKU rector Eva Schulev-Steindl, accompanied by the BOKU choir, broke ground before the EPICUR team freed the young tree from the netting, filled the hole with soil and watered it. The EPICUR tree is a symbol for biodiversity, a good urban climate and sustainability. It is a promise for a bright future.

Prof. Karl-Georg Bernhardt from the Institute of Botany at BOKU about the importance of biodiversity:

"Biodiversity increases the resilience of habitats. Biodiversity should not only be preserved in nature reserves, but especially in the cultural landscape. Plants, animals and fungi share the habitat here with people and it is to our own advantage if we also preserve a species-rich cultural landscape.

But diversity is also important for our mental well-being, since an environment without the concert of bird calls or without a variety of flowers that delight us with colors and scents provides less relaxation and joy. The wild apple represents the connection between nature and people. It is one Origin of cultivated apple varieties and thus also the source of crop diversity. The diversity of plants and animals cultivated by humans also ensures our own survival."

"European Embassy" in Vienna

On May 18th, the French Ambassador, Gilles Pécout, invited a large EPICUR delegation to the French Embassy. Eva Schulev-Steindl (BOKU Rector), Jean-Marc Planeix (Vice-President of the University of Strasbourg and strategic coordinator of EPICUR), Bogumila Kaniewska (Rector of the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań) and Alain Dieterlen (Vice-President of the University of Upper Alsace) discussed the topic "Quo vadis EPICUR?".

The panel discussion from the French Embassy is available on the BOKU Youtube channel::

Timetable Conference Day

TIMETABLE (May 19th)






Entry to seminar room 29






by BOKU’s vice-rector for teaching, continuing education and students Karsten Schulz and video statement by president Michel Deneken


EPICUR's strategic coordinator and vice president of the University of Strasbourg Jean-Marc Planeix warmly welcomes six associated partners: Eucor – the European Campus, ICA-CASEE, the ICA network for Central and South East Europe, BSUN – Black Sea Universities Network, AER – the Assembly of the European Regions, ESN – the Erasmus Student Network Europe and ECOLAS – the European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences 




KEYNOTE on "Interregionnal cooperation for better regional policies and practices” by Vivian Stribos, EU Lobbyist at Huis van de Nederlandse Provincies in Brussels and representative of the Province of Gelderland (NL) at the Assembly of the European Regions (AER)








KEYNOTE on "A common approach to leaving no one behind: how to reduce inequalities through innovation" by Billy Batware, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

(Read the abstract here.)




PRESENTATION OF EDI MEASURES & BEST PRACTICES by Margarita Calderón-Peter and EPICUR's EDI working group 








PANEL DISCUSSSION on "Regional Collaboration and its impact on diversity and inclusion" with our keynote speakers Billy Batware (UNODC) and Vivian Santos (AER), Jean-Marc Planeix (University of Strasbourg, Strategic coordinator of EPICUR), Maria Fritz (Impact Hub Karlsruhe) and Radoslaw Stanislawiak (Adam Mickiewicz University, EPICUR Student Board)






Franz Schwackhöfer-Haus (Aula and SR6) 



Back to the EPICUR webpage


Keynote Speeches

Billy Batware (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC) on "A common approach to leaving no one behind: how to reduce inequalities through innovation".


In 2015, 62 of the world's wealthiest people possessed as much as the poorest half of the world's population. On a global scale, this inequality has been increasing, and  substantial gaps in access to basic services including education, healthcare, and sanitation persist. Vulnerable groups, such as migrants, women, children, individuals with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and indigenous peoples are all disproportionately affected by such discrepancies.  Addressing these deeply persisting inequalities will require innovation across actors, regions and sectors. The speaker will contribute to this timely conversation focusing on different aspects of inequalities and innovation, including challenges that can hinder the access to innovation and on different types of inequalities including social, economic and environmental aspects.



Maps BOKU Campus