With student power to the “third mission” in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

by Selina Treffner

Science_Linknockberge invites students to the “Weekend of the Research Question”

„In addition to research and education, universities increasingly have the responsibility to make new findings and new knowledge directly available to society”, says professor Franz Rauch of the University of Klagenfurt. This task is referred to as the “third mission” of a university. The implementation of the research cooperation Science_Linknockberge between the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve*) and the University of Klagenfurt is an exemplary project. For the “Weekend of the Research Question”, five students of different fields of study and faculties have gathered in the Nockberge region to work together with representatives of the Biosphere Reserve on research questions of practical relevance. 

"A good research question is exciting, inspiring and clearly formulated. Above all, however, it must inspire the scientist him- or herself," says Lisa Wolf. Together with Julia Falkner, Lisa led the three-day programme. At the end of the programme there were formulated research questions that are to be further developed within the framework of Bachelor's or Master's theses. The results are available via the Biosphere Reserve magazine "Meine Biosphäre" and the online platform "Nockothek".

The weekend began with a surprise for the students. Even before they could make theoretical considerations or discuss scientific methods, a different kind of challenge awaited them. In a workshop, the students were able to learn the old craft of broom binding and bind their own birch brush. "The work requires a lot of skill and strength", reports one participant, "but it was fun, and my broom can be seen".

Heinz Mayer and Corinna Oberlerchner from the Biosphere Reserve, Julia Falkner, Franz Rauch, Kirsten von Elverfeldt and Max Peter Menzel from the University of Klagenfurt as well as Lisa Wolf and Michael Jungmeier from E.C.O. supported the development of the research questions. The cooperation Science_Linknockberge is a highly regarded initiative of the Biosphere Reserve and has found its way into several scientific publications, e.g:

*) Short name for: Carinthian part of the UNESCO Salzburger Lungau and Kärntner Nockberge Biosphere Reserve

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