Friday, August 3, 2012

Sustainable Universities – Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) receives Sustainability Award

The Austrian Sustainability Award is a joint initiative of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and was established in 2007 as a means of promoting and increasing awareness for sustainability processes within higher education institutions in Austria. Since 2008 the initiative supports academic pioneers in this field by tendering a nationwide “Sustainability Award” every two years as an incentive for sustainable higher education.

This year, for the third time, the award honored existing projects or initiatives of ambitious and committed pioneers within Austrian universities in eight distinct categories concerning different aspects of university organization. An interdisciplinary jury of experts from science and research, business, culture and media has evaluated 77 innovative projects and initiatives from 22 different academic institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of education, etc.) all over Austria. 

In the category “Communication and Decision-making” the University of Salzburg’s Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) was awarded an excellent second place with its project “Tackling Climate Change”. Moreover, the University of Salzburg’s “PLUS Green Campus” project “Green Meeting – nachhaltig tagen an der Universität Salzburg” was awarded third place in the category “Regional Cooperation”.

2nd prize
A joint study conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations University, the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the University of Salzburg’s Centre for Geoinformatics has analyzed regional trends in temperature, rainfall, droughts and flooding over the past 40 years and their implications for the availability of natural resources, migration and conflict in 17 West African countries. Moreover, an innovative mapping process was utilized to identify 19 "climate hotspots" where climatic changes have been the most severe and which warrant focused adaptation planning as well as other follow-up activities.

Stefan Lang |
Michael Hagenlocher |
Daniel Hölbling |

3rd prize
The PLUS Green Campus Sustainability Initiative at the University of Salzburg aims to make the University a sustainable and environmentally-friendly institution. One “green vision” is to organize conferences and workshops according to the principles of environmental compatibility and sustainability. The organization and management of scientific and cultural events of any scale are part of the daily life at the University of Salzburg.

For this reason, a Green Meeting catalogue was developed. The Objective of this guide was to provide a practical framework of guidelines for the university’s staff to align events at the University of Salzburg to environmentally responsible and resource-saving criteria.  In January 2012, the Green Meeting Guide officially launched and the first events organized by its criteria.

Bernhard Zagel |
Daniela Weinhäupl |

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