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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2021-09-30

A genetic evaluation for longevity will be developed for all sheep and goat breeds, which are already considered in the routine genetic evaluation and thus have a reasonable population size.For dairy sheep and goats, the longevity evaluation will be based on the routine genetic evaluation of dairy cattle. For meat, mountain and land sheep as well as for further goat breeds, different definitions of voluntary culling will however have to be elaborated. In the next step, a genetic evaluation for linear conformation traits will be developed for the dairy goat breeds Saanen and Chamois as well as for the sheep breeds Tyrol Mountain, Merinoland and Jura. The estimation of genetic correlations between functional longevity, linear conformation traits and further traits considered in the breeding goal will be based on the methodology developed in the project OptiGene (Project 100808). Both, de-regressed breeding values and yield deviations, will be used for the estimation. Selected linear conformation traits may be considered as auxiliary traits for functional longevity. In the last step of the project, possible genetic gains will be calculated to provide the basis for the new weights in the Fitness and the Total Merit Index. Among others, the following hypotheses are investigated: - the total merit index as the mathematical definition of the breeding goal may be enhanced by considering longevity in sheep and goat breeds - linearly described traits are more objective than traditionally scored conformation traits. They are thus beneficial with regard to genetic evaluation and may be utilized as auxiliary traits for longevity but potentially also for other traits, e.g. udder health.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-09-01 - 2020-03-31

Social sustainable integration of disabled people (with rehabilitative social needs) in the working process of horticultural farms The objectives of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as of the Austrian Action Plan 2012 (for implementation of an inclusive society) are the full and effective participation of disabled people in society. This project will provide scientific evidence, which will contribute to the integration of disabled people in the working society. The overall goal of the project is to provide all necessary information for a successful cooperation between day-care centers for disabled persons and private horticultural farms. The creation of such possibilities for a collaboration will offer disabled people a participation in general working life. The identification of suitable working processes and tasks requires the compilation of culture related activity and ability profiles for working processes or tasks. In order to be able to find out which crops require what kind of working skills, the tasks and sub-tasks referring to the crops cultivated by up to 6 representative Austrian horticultural farms must be identified. The method used is the classification of REFA time studies. In order to determine the skills and needs of disabled people in day-care centers, it is necessary to capture their abilities, by creating ability profiles for up to 50 persons. Based on these ability profiles, it is possible to allocate and categorize the necessary tasks. The ability profiles will be created mainly by means of the well-proven “IMBA method” (Integration of persons with disabilities in a working environment). In order to set up a fruitful collaboration, horticultural farms and day-care centers will be interviewed about their interests, needs and expectations. On the basis of this information, it will be possible to give recommendations for a sustainable collaboration. Based on the surveyed results and identified requirements, a training concept for nursing staff, company managers and trainers will be developed and optimized in order to guarantee a high degree of working quality and job satisfaction for both parties in the project (social sustainability, which offers socially produced products). The efficient knowledge transfer of scientific results will be ensured by the production of blended learning material, a recommendation booklet and guidance of the implementation carried out in pilot companies.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-02-01 - 2021-01-31

Wild food gathering was repeatedly found to be one of the most popular outdoor activities in Europe and the commercialization of wild foods is increasingly discovered as bearing significant economic potential. Wild foods are marketed as innovative and trendy products bearing exceptional health benefits and unique flavors and about 100 million EU citizens were estimated to consume wild foods. Urban and suburban areas have high potential for commercializing but also sourcing wild foods but concerns of overexploitation of urban green spaces and unsustainable gathering practices has arisen. Such concerns are hardly ever backed up with scientific evidence about the potential and limits for sustainable harvesting in urban areas. This research project aims to counteract this gap of knowledge and aims to understand the ecological and socio-political sustainability of wild food gathering in urban areas. Research is guided by the overarching research question ‘How sustainable is gathering wild foods in urban areas?’, which is investigated through adapting a conceptual framework for sustainable gathering so far used in rural areas of countries in the global south. Investigating sustainable gathering in urban areas in Europe is innovative from the ground up. It fosters the sustainable provision, processing and consumption of local resources, as supported by the concept of bioeconomy, and the attainment of the UN Sustainable development goals 11 and 12. Research is conducted in Vienna, Austria, along a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design. Semi-structured expert interviews with 30 local experts for wild food gathering, are followed-up with several hundred face-to-face surveys with urban gatherers in eight gathering hotspots in urban and suburban green spaces.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations