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Action for a sustainable future

Call for key projects in the Open Innovation in Science Impact Lab
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What’s it all about?

We live in times of multiple crises: for instance, global climate change breaks new records every year, while worldwide biodiversity is shrinking, the gap between rich and poor becomes wider, and gender equality is still not achieved.

To address these crises, the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG) and the University of Applied Arts Vienna have jointly founded the “Action for Sustainable Future (ASF) hub”. This laboratory for open innovation in science aims at the practical implementation of sustainable change within society. 

To this end, the ASF hub is looking for key projects that will deal with the Unites Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in different ways. The major societal challenges of our time – such as resource scarcity, social inequality and global health – cannot be tackled by single scientific disciplines and through technological solutions alone. Therefore, citizens shall be actively involved in the key projects from the very beginning and artistic as well as scientific strategies and findings will be combined. The long-term continuation and impact of the projects after the end of the ASF hub is a clear goal.

To enable citizens with little project experience to participate in the call for proposals, the submission process for projects is divided into two phases. In a first step, actors from different societal sectors (e.g. activists, artists, NGOs, representatives from business and administration, or scientists) are invited to submit their innovative ideas on sustainable development in the form of an idea sketch (1-3 pages) by June 30, 2021. At a kick-off workshop on July 13/14, applicants will be connected and we will explore how the ASF hub can support applicants. In the second phase (July – September 2021), applicants can further develop their idea sketches into project proposals with support from the ASF hub in the form of workshops and individual consulting. Project proposals (10 pages) can be submitted until September 30, 2021. Participation in the kick-off workshop or the support programme is not mandatory for a successful submission. Supported projects will be selected in early November 2021, with the earliest possible project start in December 2021.

The total amount of project support by the ASF hub is € 500,000 for a maximum of 5 key projects. These projects will be financially handled by LBG and will receive constant content-related supervision and support from the ASF hub during its overall duration until December 31, 2023.

Selection Criteria

Key projects supported by the ASF hub have to meet certain selection criteria. These criteria were defined by the Sustainability Board, taking into account the aims of the ASF hub. The Sustainability Board consists in equal numbers of members of the University of Applied Arts, members of the UniNEtZ project (Universities and Sustainable Development Goals) and representatives of civil society organizations. It represents the content-related advisory board of the ASF hub and is also responsible for project evaluation and selection.

Criteria for key projects

Focus on Sustainability

The supported projects should pursue a holistic approach towards sustainability. Sustainability is defined by the SDGs and should be incorporated into the projects in several dimensions (e.g. ecological, economic, social, cultural). Positive and negative interactions as well as contradictions between the SDGs should be considered and can be addressed within the projects.

Citizen Participation

Citizens should actively participate in shaping projects. This can be done, for example, through applications or project consulting by members from civil society. It is also possible for citizens to contribute important topics and questions to the projects or to participate in research work. The composition of the project sponsors should be based on the different knowledge and experience of the participants and enable cooperation on an equal footing. The projects should deal with sustainability issues from a scientific and artistic perspective and pursue a unifying approach of scientific and artistic strategies.

Diversity and Inclusion

The project consortia should be diverse. This can become evident, for example, in a balance between participating institutions (NGOs, associations, universities, etc.) or in diversity in terms of age, origin, gender or previous experience of the people involved. The projects should be generally accessible to enable broad participation and involvement of different population groups. Accessibility should be considered on as many levels as possible.

Societal Impact

Concrete ideas on how societal impact can be achieved and how it will be ensured beyond the duration of project should be outlined. Strategies for societal impact can also be further developed during the supervision of the projects by the ASF hub.

Submission

To make the submission process as accessible as possible and to include smaller initiatives with little project experience, the selection process is divided into two phases. However, participation in phase 1 and the associated support programme is not mandatory for successful project development and application. 

Phase 1: Submission of idea sketches

In phase 1, idea sketches for projects and collaborations can be submitted until June 30, 2021. The idea sketch can be between 1 to 3 DIN A4 pages (Arial, 12 pt) and should outline the idea for a project that meets the above-mentioned selection criteria. It is not necessary at this stage to already have cooperation partners. 

All those who submitted project ideas that meet the selection criteria will be invited to a kick-off workshop on July 13/14. This workshop serves on the one hand to connect applicants with potential cooperation partners and to deepen and further develop project ideas. On the other hand, the need for support on the part of the applicants will be identified. All potential applicants can make use of the support programme offered by the ASF hub to refine their project ideas and write project applications.

Phase 2: Submission of Project Proposals 

The deadline for completed project proposals is September 30, 2021.

The project proposal should comprise a maximum of 10 DIN A4 pages (Arial, 12 pt, excluding references), take into account the selection criteria, and include the following elements:

  • Problem outline, research question and objective of the project in relation to sustainability

  • Implementation plan in relation to the objective as well as involvement and participation opportunities

  • List of the different project participants and explanation of the selection in terms of diversity

  • Outline of societal impact 

  • Timeline

  • Budget plan

Idea sketches and project proposals (in German or English) should be emailed as PDF files to asf.hub@uni-ak.ac.at.

Evaluation and selection

All submitted applications will first be checked for formal criteria. All formally valid applications are then evaluated and ranked by members of the Sustainability Board. The final decision on support rests with the Management Board of the ASF hub, consisting of members of the University of Applied Arts and the LBG. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection no later than November 2021.

Support programme offered by the asf hub

In order to enable accessibility, the ASF hub offers a diverse support program for applicants in regard to project submission, project management and project evaluation. Also, trainings and further education programs on the challenges of cooperating with diverse partners will be offered.

Kick-off and match-making

After the deadline for the submission of idea sketches, potential applicants are invited to a kick-off event, where the ASF hub is presented in more detail, potential cooperation partners get to know each other, and initial networks can be established.

Support during the application process

Applicants are offered support and advice during writing project proposals, for example when it comes to fleshing out project ideas, sharpening questions, or creating budgets and timetables.

Project support

The selected projects will receive individual and joint project coaching from a broad expert network consisting of artists, scientists, and other people with relevant expertise during their entire duration. This allows sharpening and improving questions or solving project-specific problems.

Peer network

An important goal of the ASF hub is the interlinking of the key projects. The peer-network enables networking and synergies between the key projects and contributes to their long-term continuation.

Capability Building

Researchers and experts involved in the ASF hub have access to various opportunities for capability building and education programmes in relation to transdisciplinary research, participatory methods, and collaborations between society, science, and the arts. 

Public relations

The homepage and the social media channels of the ASF hub will also be available to key projects to present themselves broadly during their duration and to be able to publish initial results.

Evaluation

All key projects supported by the ASF hub, as well as the ASF hub itself, will be continuously evaluated to ensure sustainable societal impact and to create opportunities for shared learning.

For further questions contact

Dr. Dorothea Born

Coordinator ASF hub

dorothea.born@uni-ak.ac.at