18.06.2021 by LBG OIS Center

Science, business and art in dialogue: Utopia instead of dystopia – how can research bring us the future we want?

Technological progress affects us all. But how do technologies affect people and their everyday lives? What can we expect from these developments? And how can we ensure that science is also understood by the public and really serves people? The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, together with the Johannes Kepler Universität Linz and the University of Applied Arts Vienna (die Angewandte), is addressing these questions.

Environment, medicine and more: technical innovation is supposed to solve problems in these fields and beyond. Does it succeed? And how do we as a society deal with it? The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft is supporting the joint establishment of two innovation labs through a seven-figure sum. These “Open Innovation in Science Impact Labs”, located at Johannes Kepler University and the University of Applied Arts Vienna and unique in Austria, focus on the public and its needs and address major challenges on the way to a desirable future – from the digital revolution to the climate crisis.

“We are proud to establish two Open Innovation in Science Impact Labs together with Johannes Kepler University Linz and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. By opening up scientific research in a targeted way, we can better address societal needs and provide concrete instructions for action,” says Patrick Lehner, head of the LBG Open Innovation in Science Center.

In order to maintain a sensitive balance between societal and technological progress, the opinions of citizens as well as stakeholders from business, public administration, politics, NGOs and other stakeholders outside academia are involved in the research process. “To create a direct benefit of science for society, universities today are challenged to develop new forms of cooperation between research, business and civil society. This forward-looking cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft creates new potential for interdisciplinary cutting-edge research. Involving the public can spark creative ideas to shape emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics or data science,” says Christopher Lindinger, JKU Vice Rector and one of the program initiators.

“We look for very low-threshold project ideas which take steps towards the necessary positive transformation of our society. Within the framework of the Lab, these ideas are combined through diverse expertise from science and art, so that we can build new kinds of creative spaces and very concrete opportunities to take responsibility for our future. The Art & Science Lounge of the Angewandte in the hall of the Otto-Wagner-Postsparkasse will be an exciting place for discourse and networking,” explains Bernhard Kernegger, Vice Rector and initiator of the Lab at the Angewandte.

Through constant exchange, the “Open Innovation in Science Impact Labs” strengthen collaboration between the project partners. The labs create free spaces and suitable framework conditions for broadening the access to research with high social relevance. Their results will also be made available to other universities. In this respect, the “Open Innovation in Science Impact Labs” close a gap between theory and practice, between basic and applied research, and pave the way for a promising future.

The future we want

“The future we want!” is both the general theme and the call for the “Open Innovation in Science Impact Lab” at Johannes Kepler University. “The future we want!” invites different actors to answer technological and ecological questions within the framework of participatory research methods: Which trends and developments will influence the interaction between humans and machines in the future? How will these developments affect the way we live together? Which social concerns can be propagated with the help of technology-driven innovations?

Innovation cycles are opened up, for example, by supporting flagship projects, and through competence training for embodying open innovation strategies in science.

Action for a sustainable future

Under the title “Action for Sustainable Future hub” (ASF Hub), the “Open Innovation in Science Impact Lab” at the University of Applied Arts Vienna is looking for concrete solutions that drive sustainable change in view of the UN Agenda 2030.  The ASF Hub opens up low-threshold opportunities for project participation: Scientists, artists, NGOs or activists can submit sketches of ideas until 30.06.2021 and they will subsequently receive support in the application process. The submission of the complete project proposals is open until 30.09.2021. The full call for proposals can be found here: https://www.dieangewandte.at/asf/call. More information about the Call Action for Sustainable Future will be offered at the info-webinar via zoom on Thursday, 24.06.2021 from 5-6p.m. Please register via e-mail at nfs.uho@hav-nx.np.ng.

The call is aimed at projects that are dedicated to the real-world implementation of ideas for profound social transformations. The involvement of actors from arts and sciences, business and industry, politics and administration as well as NGOs or other representatives of civil society should be a key feature of the projects. The projects should also aim to increase the quality of democratic participation with a special focus on social inequality and diversity.


Do you have questions on the general Impact Labs concept? Write us at:

labs (at) lbg.ac.at

Contacts of the single impact labs:

Open Innovation in Science Lab „The future we want!“

Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
Contact person: Mag.a (FH) Patricia Stark, PMBA – Lab Coordination

patricia.stark (at) jku.at

Website: jku.at/ois

Open Innovation in Science Lab „Action for Sustainable Future hub” 

Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien
Contact person: Dr. Dorothea Born – Lab Coordination

dorothea.born (at) uni-ak.ac.at

Go to the Impact Labs programme page