Featuring Future Conference
24 –25 May 2022

In times of climate crisis, increasing resource consumption and population growth, Austria's only life sciences university BOKU, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, brings together science, the economy, the voices of tomorrow and the public for joint approaches to solutions in its 150th anniversary year.

What are the greatest future challenges and what role does science play in mastering these? Which future-ready models can help us collaborate in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? How can we pool knowledge to improve livelihoods, manage natural resources, secure food and health, and achieve sustainable societal and technological transformation? And how can each and every one of us contribute to a better future?

Be there and join the discussion!

Day 1 / 24 May 2022


Welcome & Opening:
Eva Schulev-Steindl
Kurt Weinberger
Gerda Schneider
Maria Patek

10.30–12.00 Uhr

Topic 1: Green Deal

Keynote: Katharina Rogenhofer
Climate activist (Fridays for Future) and leader of the climate referendum

"Shaping tomorrow's world - what we need for a Green New Deal"

followed by a discussion with

Martin Greimel
Head of the Centre for Bioeconomy (BOKU)

Martin Gerzabek
Institute of Soil Research (BOKU)

Matthias Klemm
Managing Director SAN Agrow

Gregor Tegl
Co-Founder and CEO, Arkeon Biotechnologies

How can the "Green Deal" save the climate? How are the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis related? How can a transformation to a bioeconomy happen? What is the role of science in implementing the Green Deal? What can startups, like Arkeon contribute? Are Corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine reasons to suspend or postpone (parts of) the Green Deal? What would a climate-friendly world look like? Does society need a new understanding of prosperity and the good life?

Sponsored by SAN Group


Topic 2: Habitats of the Future

Keynote: Gernot Wagner
Climate economist at New York University and author of "City Land Climate".

"From negative to positive climate tipping points"

followed by a discussion with

Rosemarie Stangl
Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction (BOKU)

Klaus Hackländer
Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management (BOKU)

Monika Unterholzner
Managing Director Wiener Lokalbahnen GmbH

Stephanie Popp
Master student Applied Limnology and Landscape Planning & Landscape Architecture (BOKU)

(How) can a habitat for humans exist without a habitat for animals and plants? How can humans and animals benefit from each other? What is the role of forests and water as habitats? What is the role of landscape architecture? How can natural space be preserved or renaturalized as a priority? Where is the tension between solutions for climate change and biodiversity? How can the quality of life in urban and rural areas be sustainably improved?

Sponsored by Wiener Stadtwerke


Topic 3: Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering

Keynote: Thomas Rau
Architect, entrepreneur, author and pioneer of circular economy.

"There is no such thing as a shortage of raw materials"

followed by a discussion with

Helmut Habersack
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and River Research (BOKU)

Benjamin Kromoser
Institute of Structural Engineering (BOKU)

Klemens Neubauer
Managing Director RWA Solar Solutions GmbH

Elisabeth Mayerhofer
Master student Cultural Engineering and Water Management

Questions around raw materials, material use and environmental design: How can we recycle tree materials and prevent raw material shortages? What effects does recycling also have on our economic and social system, keyword: reuse, don't buy new anymore? What new materials are being researched? What opportunities arise here, also through digitalization? How is the use of rivers for energy production and on the other hand the protection of water bodies compatible?

Sponsored by RWA

Day 2 / 25 May 2022

Christian Obinger, Vice Rector for Research and Innovation
Dipl.-Ing. Christian Holzer, Sektionschef


Topic 4: Energy and Mobility Transition

Keynote: Katja Schechtner
Urban researcher, mobility expert, advisor to the OECD and visiting researcher at MIT.

"Rethinking Mobility"

followed by a conversation with

Astrid Gühnemann
Institute for Transport Studies (BOKU)

Tobias Pröll
Institute of Chemical and Energy Engineering (BOKU)

Susanna Erker
Department of Energy Spatial Planning and Vienna Climate Team Energy Planning

What is needed for a sustainable change in transport? What are the differences in mobility between urban and rural areas? How do we get people to change their mobility behavior - less car, more public transport? Is zero emission mobility realistic? What are the opportunities and risks of digitalization and automation? Which drive systems will we use in the future? How can urban planning and infrastructure of the future be rethought/thought differently so that we do not create traffic but reduce it or make existing traffic more efficient? What economic policy course settings are necessary so that something really happens?

Sponsored by ÖBB


Topic 5: Societal Change

Keynote: Philipp Blom
Historian and writer with a strong connection to climate and societal change.

"Social change - or, on risky thinking"

afterwards in conversation with

Marianne Penker
Institute for Sustainable Economic Development (BOKU)

Helmut Haberl
Institute of Social Ecology (BOKU)

Raphaela Hellmayr
PhD student at the Institute of Wood Technology and Renewable Resources, BOKU Inventor of the Year 2021

Sigrid Karl
Bachelor student Environmental and Bioresource Management, BOKU Competence Center for Climate Neutrality

Many people know that things cannot go on like this: How can we succeed in overcoming time-honored habits and overconsumption? What impact do appeals for climate-friendly action have? Do they have any benefit at all, or is it primarily structural change that is needed? How can these be achieved? How can societal well-being be ensured? (How) can our consumption behavior be changed? What role will renunciation (have to) play? Some assume that new technologies will solve all these problems, how realistic is that?

Introductory talk: Kurt Weinberger
Chairman of the Board, Österreichische Hagelversicherung

Sponsored by Österreichische Hagelversicherung


Topic 6: One Health

Keynote: Eckart von Hirschhausen
Physician, science journalist and founder of the foundation "Healthy Earth-Healthy People".

"Climate crisis - greatest health threat or greatest opportunity?"

followed by panel discussion with

Reingard Grabherr
Institute of Bioprocess Science and Engineering (BOKU)

Sara Hintze
Division of Livestock Sciences (BOKU)

Florian Krammer
Biotechnologist and virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York

Ingo Lämmermann
CSO, Rockfish Bio AG

One Health should be understood as the unity of human and animal health and their interdependencies and interactions. What is the impact of our diet on the environment? What is the connection between human and animal health? What needs to happen in animal husbandry to ensure health? BOKU has a strong focus on biotechnology: from gene to product. Also in focus: vaccine development and production and new protein-based biopharmaceuticals. It's about more efficient and affordable production of drugs and therapies that are accessible to all, as well as the development of novel therapeutic approaches and medications.

Introductory talk: Thorsten Baust
Executive Director, Head of Process Science Biopharma Austria

Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim


Topic 7: Food Security and Supplies

Keynote: Urs Niggli
Agricultural scientist and pioneer of organic agriculture, former head of FiBL

"Everyone full? Productivity in harmony with ecology"

followed by a discussion with

Stefanie Lemke
Institute for Development Research (BOKU)

Werner Zollitsch
Head of the Centre for Global Change and Sustainability (BOKU)

Markus Mühleisen

Gibson Stephen Nyanhongo
AgroBiogel GmbH

This topic brings together a wide range of questions on the topic of nutrition: Why are we not succeeding in eliminating hunger? Globally, enough food is produced to feed everyone, yet hunger and food insecurity have been on the rise again since 2015. What was exacerbated by the Corona crisis? What by the war in Ukraine and conflicts in other crisis regions? How will the climate crisis and its consequences further exacerbate this situation? How can globalization become a problem - or be used as an opportunity? Is conventional agriculture crisis-proof/future-proof? Is organic agriculture the solution to strive for? Does organic need to be rethought? Can food security be guaranteed only through genetic engineering?

Sponsored by AGRANA

The future of university networks – What is their added value for each member university and for the network?

24 May 2022 10.30-12.30
Host: BOKU International Relations
Location: Science Café

In the workshop, the university networks ICA, CASEE, ELLS, EBU, Afrika-Uninet, Asea-Uninet, COPERNICUS Alliance, GCUA 2030 and EPICUR will be presented. You will discuss in a world café setting what the benefits of such a network are (from the point of view of the network and its members). Workshop language is English.

Responsibility, Values and Emotions in Science

25.05.2022 13.30–15.00
Host: Ethikplattform
Location: Science Café

What is the relationship between values, emotions, knowledge and responsibility? Can there ever be a science free of emotions and values? Does recognizing emotions and values in research mean giving up scientific ideals? In a panel discussion, we would like to address these and other questions, together with you. The workshop language is German.

Austria researches – Research with us!

25.05.2022 09.00-10.30
Host: Citizen Science
Location: Aula Lounge

Big issues need many minds to observe, collect, measure and sort. Thanks to Citizen Science, everyone has the opportunity to work on important research topics such as biodiversity, global change or invasive species. In our workshop, you will learn how to join Österreich forscht and get to know three of our projects. The workshop is held in German.

Student Workshops

24 & 25 May 2022
Hosts: Various partner companies
Location: Science Café and Aula Lounge

For our students, there are additional opportunities during the Featuring Future Conference to gain exciting insights into the real world and participate in workshops with potential future employers. The workshops will be held in German. 


To the workshops for students.


We thank our sponsors: