New perspectives on teaching and research
Developing and implementing innovative and sustainable solutions, as well as training and education programmes that generate value regionally, nationally and globally are integral parts of our mission.
We take this educational mandate extremely seriously. The interdisciplinary topic of sustainability is firmly anchored in our teaching and research activities. In view of the university’s international outlook, we also focus on the subject of mobility in order to identify new approaches and reduce the footprint of our employees, lecturers and students in this regard.
Research fosters innovation, excellent teaching fosters know-how
We aim to promote innovation coupled with sustainable solutions through our research. In the process, we are committed to sharing our research findings with businesses and society, with a view to creating added value and highlighting new solutions.
As far as teaching goes, examining the opportunities and challenges associated with sustainable operations is an integral part of many courses. The significance attached to sustainability in our degree programmes enables us to enhance our expertise in this area and in connection with corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our highly skilled graduates are ideally placed to become employees who can critically analyse circumstances within companies and organisations with a view to devising solutions, and identify new, sustainable approaches.
International outlook – an opportunity and a challenge
Our international focus is one of the factors that sets our university apart. And it’s something we are particularly proud of – after all, students from more than 50 countries are enrolled at IMC Krems. We also offer students the chance to broaden their horizons during exchange and internship semesters.
This generates opportunities for our students as well as for society. But we are also well aware of the challenges this brings, primarily in relation to mobility, and we are constantly on the lookout for ways to minimise our footprint in this area.
Tip: check our Sustainability Report for further details
This section of our website is designed to give you an overview of our objectives for sustainable operations, and to outline the measures currently in place. You can find a detailed description as well as further indicators in our Sustainability Report, which will be published every two years from now on.
Sustainability in teaching
The question of how to shape a liveable future is regularly discussed with students, and is an integral part of curriculums and lectures. In this regard, alignment with the SDGs as a policy framework, which in turn promotes sustainable development, is a central consideration.
A dedicated master degree programme, Environmental and Sustainability Management, has been introduced, and in the past five years the topic of sustainability has been integrated into all accredited or revised degree programmes in the Department of Business.
Let us introduce you to some examples of degree programmes with a focus on sustainability.
"Ethics, Sustainability and Leadership" Business Base Course
Business base courses were implemented in the process of redesigning the degree programmes. The emphasis is on providing fundamental business and academic content in our bachelor programmes, which will be standardised in terms of content, scope and learning outcomes.
Students who take the Sustainability and Ethics in Leadership base course analyse the history and basic principles behind the concept of sustainable development, as well as current social, environmental and economic trends. They also look at aspects of business ethics and how they are applied in companies, as well as reflecting on their future roles as leaders against the backdrop of social challenges.
"Environmental and sustainability management" master degree programme
Sustainable development and corporate social responsibility have increasingly become the focus of public debate in recent years. This prompted our university of applied sciences to develop the Environmental and Sustainability Management master programme in 2011, as well as driving forward the development of a more professional approach to education in this subject.
The objective of the programme is to help students develop the expertise and methods-based skills required to support companies and organisations in the implementation of measures and strategies aimed at enhancing ecological and social sustainability, with a view to fostering a sense of corporate social responsibility.
"Occupational therapy" bachelor degree programme
The Sustainable Development Goals are an integral, practice-related element of the courses and workshops on the curriculum of the Occupational Therapy bachelor degree programme.
Theories and concepts of community-based rehabilitation, which also includes local social and healthcare needs, play a central role in this regard. Students analyse the planning, development and implementation of healthcare programmes within community-based rehabilitation initiatives, taking the SDGs into account in the process.
"Management" master degree programme
The Management master degree programme is aimed at prospective students who plan to assume managerial responsibilities at a company or other organisation in the course of their career.
The distinctive features of the programme are a focus on successful long-term management, and the inclusion of considerations connected with social responsibility and sustainable development in all core subjects on the curriculum. By taking these steps, the university aims to play a part in ensuring that sustainability is perceived as an interdisciplinary topic.
Lectures for Future
The interdisciplinary lecture series organised by Scientists for Future provides the public with insights into scientific findings related to the climate crisis, the environment and society. You can find a list of the scheduled events on the Scientists for Future website. Recordings of some of the previous lectures are also available.
Our university became one of the venues for the Lectures for Future series in the 2020/21 winter semester. The diverse range of topics covered in the series are integrated into courses on the Environmental and Sustainability Management master degree programme, but the lectures are open to all IMC Krems students and the general public.
Positive Impact Rating
The Positive Impact Rating (PIR) initiative is all about enabling business schools to make the greatest possible contribution for the good of the planet, instead of simply concentrating on gaining a place in rankings of the top business schools worldwide.
In order to ensure that they continue to be perceived as productive members of society in this age of major social challenges and increasing conflict, business schools are having to adapt the focuses of their teaching, research and services. This also entails adjusting their structures, their self-perception and their culture.
The PIR is an assessment produced by students for students, with the aim of supporting this realignment. IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems will take part in the ranking for the first time in 2021 and will use the results to make concrete improvements in the university’s sustainability-related performance.
Sustainable and interdisciplinary
Our research is geared towards developing solutions with strong academic foundations for businesses and organisations.
The varied research focuses and projects of the departments of Business, Health and Life Sciences contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to highlight these contributions more clearly, we are currently working on a methodology designed to provide a structured, transparent evaluation of how research contributes to achieving the SDGs.
The diverse nature of our research projects ensures interdisciplinary research activities covering a wide range of topics. These projects and the findings generated deliver economic, medical, pharmaceutical, technological and social benefits.
Let us introduce you to some of our research projects with a focus on sustainability.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and innovation management
As a strategic and managerial approach, CSR can help companies to capitalise on opportunities for innovation arising from current and future social and environmental challenges.
In practice, though, CSR is only rarely - or to a limited extent - coupled with innovation management. This research project examined the effects of CSR on the various phases of the innovation cycle, and developed suitable instruments and tools designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family businesses.
This fed into research-based recommendations on how SMEs and family businesses can optimise and implement innovation processes based on their CSR strategy and their objectives.
Bottom-up Energy Transormation – socially innovative approaches and new actors
One of the core questions related to achieving climate protection targets is how to bring “exhausted” potential for climate protection more closely into line with what is theoretically possible. Established policy instruments such as legislation, regulations, subsidies, information and advice do not appear to be sufficient.
The ‘Bottom-up energy transformation’ project looked at how social innovations and bottom-up initiatives can contribute to speeding up the Energiewende. It also investigated who the civil-society sponsors of these innovations are, and how their plans can be supported.
The project assessed energy and climate protection-related social innovations and bottom-up processes, as well as potential key actors. The findings were adapted to enable them to be put to practice use. Action areas were identified in which social innovations and bottom-up processes can play a part in bringing about the energy transformation.
Sustainable biological recycling of environmentally hazardous rare earth elements from electronic waste and wastewater
Rare earths are used in electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers and energy-saving bulbs. However, they are scarce and cannot be recycled using eco-friendly methods
Complex and expensive mining, coupled with scarce supply, means that the prices of rare earths on the world market are rising steadily. Due to continuous technical advances, we can already predict that the supply situation for rare earth elements will become critical in future, which in turn could pose a threat to the development of innovative technologies.
However, an approach that has never been used before – recycling by means of microorganisms (bacteria and algae) – could help to avert this. The goal of the project is to develop a practicable recycling technology in collaboration with regional industry, with a view to reclaiming rare earths from electronic waste and subsequently making the technology available to businesses.
Environmental impacts related to mobility
Travel by students, employees and teaching staff which is induced by teaching and research activities creates environmental impacts such as emissions, noise and land use. Due to our university’s international outlook, employee travel related to international activities is also relevant.
Appropriate processes have been put in place to ensure efficient travel schedules and support the switch to alternative, more eco-friendly forms of transport. In addition, there is an emphasis on increased use of digital communication, which has been accelerated and intensified due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CO2 emissions in kg CO2 (sample student at IMC Campus Krems)
Degree programme related emissions
In recent years, various studies by IMC Krems have shown that the majority of emissions generated by students are attributable to travel to and from the university.
In order to quantify these emissions, as part of a master thesis emissions accounting was carried out for the degree-related activities of a typical student in the university setting at IMC Krems; the accounting process included individual travel and other Scope 3 emissions.
The calculation was carried out in accordance with the GHG Protocol based on data from the 2016/2017 financial year, and is due to be updated for the first time in 2021/2022.
Erasmus and other mobility programmes
We are an Erasmus network partner and was awarded the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) for 2014-2020. This means that the university is committed to observing the requirements of the European Commission and promoting the European and international dimension of education.
We offer students various options for completing an exchange semester in Europe, as well as a range of possibilities for gaining academic experience outside Europe. At present, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems has a network of more than 150 partner universities spread across six continents.
Transnational programmes and projects
Education is absolutely crucial in this age of globalisation. Particularly in the emerging economies of Eastern Europe and Asia there is strong demand for qualified specialists from a range of different backgrounds.
Over the past few years, we were able to position ourselves in these regions as a leading provider of education services in fields related to its core competences. By initiating and extending partnerships with private and public universities abroad, we support our partners in their efforts to meet the growing demand for higher education in their respective home countries.
It also makes a significant contribution to satisfying the requirements of the labour market, assisting countries as they make the transition to a highly developed knowledge economy.