ELLS Case-study competition

  • Presentation of the scenarios at the ELLS Scientific Students Conference
  • The winning team of the ELLS case study competition (photo by Guy Ackermans)
  • Urban development in Seestadt, Aspern (Vienna) - ©Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.0

ELLS Case Study Competition “Transition Towns“

In 2018 the Case Study Competition (CSC) of the Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS) titled “Transition Towns - Urban Food Production and Rapid Urban Development” was organized by or working group at BOKU (Division of Organic Farming) – in cooperation with the University of Hohenheim and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences.

The CSC took place from May to December and was open to all students from ELLS partner universities that had already completed 120 ETCS. Participants were awarded 6 ETCS.

The students were able to apply their knowledge and skills in dealing with real-life problems by developing future scenarios – in international teams - revolving around the topic “Transition Towns, Urban Food Production and Rapid Urban Development”, namely related to urban agriculture and food production in the context of rapid urban development in Vienna. The methodological approach “system orientated scenario development” / “systems theory analysis” allowed students to analyze the dynamics and challenges of current food production in Vienna. First, a regional diagnosis was conducted, upon which future scenarios were developed and finally, detailed instructions on how to face the challenges and implement the scenarios were formulated.

Lecturers from three ELLS universities (BOKU, UHOH and WULS) assisted the students and provided materials on the case study via BOKU’s E-learning platform in advance. During their one-week-lasting stay in Vienna, students got in touch with different stakeholders “in the field” (e.g. farmers, real estate developers, local NGOs and representatives of the city administration of Vienna) and visited innovative examples of urban food production (e.g. established community-supported agriculture, green city development projects, urban gardening projects).

After the field visits in Vienna, four teams composed of five students (from different universities) worked on developing their scenarios for the case at their respective ELLS home universities, where they were assisted by experts in case of uncertainties.

All team members eventually participated in the 2018 ELLS Scientific Student Conference (http://www.wur.eu/ells2018) at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. A movie – shot during the field visit in Vienna – was shown, which prepared the ground for the audience and introduced the challenges. All teams presented their innovative ideas to target these challenges, after which the winning team was selected by the audience (the students and teachers participating at the conference) and awarded a price (https://boku.ac.at/en/news/newsitem/51280).

To disseminate the students´ solutions, the finalized reports of each team were submitted to the stakeholders for their consideration.

Our working group and the partner teachers enjoyed the time with the engaged students and guiding the elaboration of innovative pathways enabling sustainable urban development. We thank all participants for their active involvement and their original ideas!

If you have any questions or would simply want to learn more about it, please don’t hesitate to contact us.