Future-orientated solutions for the sustainable development of economy, politics and society require scientific analysis of the management of natural resources, and also research into the possibility of changes in the demands and behaviour of society in terms of sustainable development. BOKU has a clear USP compared to economic and social science research departments at other Austrian universities because of how it aligns research and teaching with the problems of environmental and bioresource management with a focus on agriculture, forestry, wood, nutrition, water and energy management, as well as waste management.

Research areas include: analysis and optimization of (i) primary production, (ii) entire value chains and value networks (sustainability assessment and restructuring of value chains, the circular economy, logistics and international trade, product and innovation research, marketing strategies, operational and production planning, rural development and consumer behaviour), (iii) political, operational and social organisations, as well as (iv) transformation processes in agriculture and forestry (regional development, policy analysis, rural migration and integration, agricultural production and budgeting, operational and economic transformation processes and evaluation of ecosystem services). BOKU research into transformation also addresses the design of natural and social resource use as steps to sustainability.

Other important research focuses include social change, as well as the energy transition towards renewable energies and global transformation. Here, particular attention is paid to environmental history and the analysis of material and energy flows, as well as of land and resource use; the circular economy, analysis of adaptation, mitigation and vulnerability with regard to climate change and decarbonisation, as well as economic, business, social and legal aspects in industries related to agriculture, forestry energy and transport.

Necessary professional networking is supported through the Centre for Agricultural Science, Centre for Bioeconomy, BOKUEnergiecluster, LCA activities, the Consumer Sciences Initiative, the European Forest Institute - Forest Policy Research Network (EFI-FPRN) and the graduate schools Transition to Sustainability (T2S), Human River Systems in the 21st Century (HR21) and AgriGenomics.

Research projects in the field of resources and social dynamics are supported by both national and European funding agencies. Socio-economic analyses are carried out along entire value chains under the auspices of the Wood Kplus and FFoQSI centres. Other ongoing and planned projects include ERCs, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects, with an emphasis on Climate, Energy & Mobility (Pillar 2, Cluster 5), as well as Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment (Cluster 6). Submissions to the European Bioeconomy University are also being planned. Significant national funding agencies include FWF, WWTF, FFG (ERA-NET, etc.), public bodies and industry.