Third Mission-activities of the University of Vienna

In the course of the project “Third Mission of the University of Vienna” we collected good-practice examples of Third Mission-activities which are already being implemented at the University of Vienna. Based on the international literature and on interviews with the deans and center directors of the University of Vienna, three dimensions were derived for structuring activities related to the Third Mission of the University of Vienna: (1) Social Engagement, (2) Knowledge Transfer, and (3) Technology and Innovation Transfer.

Selected good-practice examples were categorized in these three dimensions. Please click on the respective dimension in order to get to the description of the activities.

Social Engagement

“Social Engagement” refers to the targeted use of scientific knowledge for resolving manifold societal challenges.



Knowledge Transfer

“Knowledge Transfer” includes the adequate preparation and sharing of scientific knowledge with target groups outside of the university (e.g. practitioners, politicians, pupils), and the systematic integration of scientific knowledge in societal discourses.

Technology and Innovation Transfer

“Technology and Innovation Transfer” involves the transfer of knowledge/know-how, ideas, technologies, innovations and patents from the university to economic contexts.

Continuing education was not included as a dimension - notwithstanding that it is an important element of the Third Mission - since continuing education courses of the University of Vienna are already anchored at an institutional level (Postgraduate Center). The same applies for start-ups, which are also separately anchored at the University of Vienna (u:start, INiTS).

At the University of Vienna, there exist various established structures/institutions which promote, support and/or implement Third Mission-activities. These include – next to those mentioned above – amongst others: Corporate Communications, Research Services and Career Development and its Transfer-Office, Studienservice und Lehrwesen (Study Services and Teaching; Webpage only available in German), the Vienna University Children’s Office and the Alumniverband (alumni association; Webpage only available in German). The Projekt “Third Mission of the University of Vienna” is being conducted in addition to these established structures/activities as well as university-wide initiatives (such as the Wissens- und Technologietransferzentrum Ost [knowledge and technology transfer center; Webpage only available in German] or wings4innovation) with an explicit focus on activities which are based on research and the objective of increased networking.  

For the presentation of activities the following aspects need to be considered:

With regard to economy cooperation it needs to be considered that for activities within the dimension Technology and Innovation Transfer in some cases details concerning industry funding may not be disclosed.

In general, it needs to be considered that besides the persons responsible for the activities mentioned in the description, in most cases there is also a team of pre- and postdoc researchers substantially involved in these activities.