Combating Domestic Food Waste

Insight Austria Blogpost

"Eat up, or we'll have to throw it away" are words my grandmother used to say to my ears. Unlike my grandmother, however, I grew up in an affluent society and have a less careful approach to food. I am not alone in this: Verma, de Vreede, Achterbosch & Rutten (2020) estimate that food waste worldwide averages 527 wasted kilocalories per person per day.

Language: German


Covid-19, Distance Learning and Social Inequality

in_progress Blogpost

In Austria, school closures during the lockdown in spring 2020 affected around 1.1 million pupils. The schools were still open to pupils in which families could not provide adequate care. However, this was conceived as an absolute exception and remained so. The lockdown thus brought about a total shift of the education system towards distance learning and distance education, largely supported by communication via digital media.

Language: German


Economic Consequences of the Pandemic on the Situation of Families

in_progress Blogpost

In early summer 2020, about 30% of households already had to cope with lower income due to COVID-19. This is shown by the AKCOVID survey, in which 2,000 persons between 20 and 64 years of age living in Austria were interviewed.

Language: German


The European Citizens' Initiative

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is an important first step in diversifying the range of stakeholders involved in EU policy making. However, room for improvement remains. The name of the ECI implies involvement of all citizens living in the EU but it is rather a tool for organised civil society with transnational networks. Improving internet infrastructures and paying attention to the involvement of marginalised, less well-educated communities will enable better access for all European citizens to participate in the ECI. What is more, allowing for more controversial initiatives and a greater political commitment by the Commission will make the ECI a stronger tool in the long-run.


Science, Open Up!

In September 2020 the touring exhibition "Open UP!" had its stop at IHS. It focused on the Open Science movement and how it is changing daily research work, especially in the economic and social sciences. In this article, Thomas König, Elisabeth Frankus and Elisabet Torggler reflect on some of the essential aspects of Open Science.

Language: German


Mobility as a Commons

Understanding mobility as a commons aims to provide an alternative perspective on the management and development of mobility for innovation, policy and society. Developments in this area - from walking to data mobility and logistics - should be guided by the need to provide fair access and to add value to society.

Language: German


Mobilizing Voters

Insight Austria Blogpost

A high voter turnout is fundamental as a central instrument of democratic decision-making and as a cornerstone of a democratic society. Clara Zwettler deals with the question of how to increase voter turnout in her blog post for the Insight Austria Blog.

Language: German


Engagement Goes Virtual

Getting people engaged in a workshop is always a challenge. Doing it virtually can be even tougher. The following steps are designed to help create more inclusive online experiences – for yourself as well as your participants.


Review: Living with Corona

The symposium "Living with Corona" in early July highlighted current social science research on the pandemic in various areas of life. In this blog post Thomas König reflects on how the symposium came about and what we can take away from it.

Language: German


What we know, what we don't know

The COVID-19 pandemic and the restriction to curb its impact have stimulated lots of research activities. The Symposium "Leben mit Corona" ("Living with Corona) aims at bringing results from ongoing research in different areas of social life together and thereby hopes to initiate more research. This blogpost reflects on the ambitions of the Symposium.

Language: German


COVID-19 Teacher Survey - Preliminary Results

In a WWTF-funded research project, the teaching and learning performance as well as the support provided by the home environment during the COVID-19 crisis is being surveyed. The preliminary results show: There is great concern about a decline in competence during school closures, especially with regard to already disadvantaged pupils.

Language: German


Reduction of Corporate Income Tax

The reduction in the effective corporate income tax burden can be achieved by reducing the tax base or lowering the corporation tax rate. An IHS-analysis shows that measures that target the tax base and provide direct tax relief for investments are more cost-effective than a general reduction of the corporate income tax rate.

Language: German


Democracy and the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has already and will result in massive social and economic costs. Within a short time span, whole societies and economies were put under almost complete lockdown, the world almost literally came to a standstill. But does the pandemic also threaten our democracies? This blogpost argues that, in order to cope with the pandemic, our democratic institutions will be tested in three very different ways.


COVID-19 Future Operations Clearing Board

Scientific knowlegde is the bedrock to get us out of the Corona-crisis, and science advice a crucial mean to turn that knowledge in informed decisions. Austria is still behind other countries in that regard, but a new instrument located at the Austrian chancellery offers a new approach, write Martin Kocher and Thomas König.

Language: German


Sustainable Work? Precisely Because of COVID-19!

Even if the pandemic and the shutdown are not yet over, it is already time to start thinking about the future of a sustainable working society. Climate change, digitalisation and growing social inequality force us to. We cannot afford to postpone upcoming debates for much longer.

Language: German


Why Masks?

It is one of the most remarkable (and visible) changes of behavior in our daily lives: we're all wearing masks now. This collective decision is the right one to take and part of our ability to learn and adapt in order to stem the challenges that come with the current pandemic of COVID-19.

Language: German


Closed Schools, Home Schooling, and Potential Consequences

With COVID-19, Austrian schools were all but closed, classes take place remotely and via home schooling. What does that mean for children and families?

Language: German


The Need for Midwifes

This blog article deals with current and future midwifery capacities in the so-called Versorgungszone Ost (Vienna, Lower Austria, Northern and Central Burgenland). 

Language: German


After the Pandemic

With the current coronavirus pandemic, curfews and closed borders are becoming the new normality, people are wearing masks, and the global economy is heading towards a recession. As important as the measures are, we must be prepared for the challenges that the post-corona world will bring.


Understanding the Coronavirus Case Numbers

On 16 March 2020, the German government took drastic measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. These measures are designed to minimize human contact with each other and thus contain the spread. The absolute number of cases seems to contradict this to some extent: On Friday, March 13, there were only 504 cases? Even on the third day of the ordinances of the Ministry of Social Affairs on the COVID-19 Act, there were only 1,471. So are the measures excessive?

Language: German


First assessment of the economic impact of the Coronavirus in China

The coronavirus is potentially to become a pandemia, media outlets claim. This blog entry provides an early assessment of the societal and economic impact of the outbreak, dating early February. For an updated analysis, see the Policy Brief from 27 February (in German).


Critical Automobility Studies

IHS research group Techno-Science and Societal Transformation is launching a Critical Automobility Studies Lab, inviting and engaging researchers in various areas of mobility to focus on critical automobility studies. The lab kicks off with a launching event that offers presentations and discussions as well as networking opportunities for everyone interested.


Europe´s Competitiveness and the Rise of China

This year’s EconPol Europe Conference takes place from November 7-8 in Brussels and examines Europe´s Competitiveness and the Rise of China. The annual conference was established in 2017 and brings together economists, politicians and stakeholders from civil society from all over Europe.


From Party State to Movement Society?

Austria is a country with strong parties and associations. Political participation happens first and foremost through party-dominated elections - forms of political protests are rare. Is this image of the country still accurate?

Language: German


National Lack of Skilled Labor

A shortage of skilled labour occurs when there is a higher demand for labour than the supply of labour in an area or occupation that requires technical training or qualification, i.e. when the vacancies cannot be filled.

Language: German


Do we Need a Reorientation for the Innovation Imaginary?

Public sector innovation is widely seen as a key for "doing things better". However, innovation per se will not necessarily lead to "the better" nor define what "the better" actually is.

Post originally published at OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation


Educational Poverty - Causes and Solutions

Education Poverty is noticeable in Austria and becoming a substantial problem, especially in certain population groups. What are the causes of the uneven distribution and what possible solutions are there?

Language: German


Educational Poverty - An Underrated Issue

Fighting Educational Poverty is one of the strategic goals of Europe 2020. In Austria the problem is bigger than it appears at first glance.

Language: German


Industry 4.0 and Digitalisation - Scenarios for the Role of Education

Technological change, especially the disruptive process of digitalisation has allocated a new role to the educational system. Over the past centuries it was designed to prepare the youth for the existing society - today it is supposed to prepare them for a future society that is yet unknown to all those involved.

Language: German


The Climate Crisis is a Social Crisis

The threat of climate change has been hanging over us for some time; however, the 2018 UN report suggests that action is urgently needed to avert disaster. The latest scientific analysis gives us just twelve years to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Unless we slow that rate, no one will be safe from the consequences of climate change.


Measuring Europe - The European Social Survey

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted across Europe since 2001. The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations.

Language: German


Comprehensive Sustainability Discourse

The term sustainable development has been around for 35 years - but outside of the debate not much else has happened since. Events like the "Growth in Transition"-Conference aim to foster the discourse.

Language: German


RRI on the Line

For almost 20 years now, the idea of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has been an emerging priority of the European Research Arena. The new proposal for the budget framework that will follow Horizon2020 cuts the funds for specific RRI programs like NewHoRRIzon. Has the concept outlived itself?

IHS Spotlight:

Andreas Huber

Andreas Huber is a historian and sociologist and at IHS since 2019. He is responsible for processing the institute's archives and for his book "Der Deutsche Klub", which he wrote together with Linda Erker and Klaus Taschwer, on the shortlist for the Science Book of the Year.


About this Blog

This Blog informs about topics and projects currenty dealt with by the Institute. The aim is to weigh in on current issues and foster public debate.