NewsResearch & Development

Ecologisation & Digitalisation - Research Successes of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Cooperation with Companies

FH OÖ – Research at cutting edge that makes a significant contribution to ecologisation.

"Ecology and economy are not opposites, but rather turbo twins for Upper Austria as a business location. With its research successes, the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria is leading in this regard." emphasises Markus Achleitner, Minister of Economy and Research of Upper Austria.

With an R&D turnover of 20.49 million euros in 2021 and an order backlog at a record level of 40.1 million euros, the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria continues to be the strongest research university in Austria and a front-runner in the German-speaking region. "The research achievements of the university are even more remarkable in these times of crisis. The achievements prove that the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria plays an essential role in the research landscape and that its researchers are doing outstanding work together and in collaboration with numerous project partners," says Achleitner, who is convinced of the importance of this higher education institution.

In 2021, around 245 professors and 249 research assistants from various disciplines conducted research on 531 projects, 116 of which were newly launched. As a result, 455 scientific publications were published in international journals, books or at scientific conferences. "Around 600 companies and institutions from business and society benefit from this research output and the university’s know-how," emphasises the minister. The 13 completed dissertations and one habilitation in 2021 are evidence that the next generation of scientists is strongly supported, highly qualified and competent.

University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria research solutions for ecologisation and digitalisation

"The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria was once again able to launch numerous projects in 2021 with the support of the EU, the federal government and the province of Upper Austria. Research topics related to ecologisation and digitalisation are playing an increasingly important role," explains Johann Kastner, Vice President for Research & Development at the university.

The EU wants to become the world's first climate-neutral economic area by 2050. The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria is making a significant contribution to this strategy in numerous international and national projects. In 2021, 64% of the ongoing projects addressed environmental aspects and had Green Deal relevance. 39% of the projects dealt with digitization and digitalisation topics. "The strength and innovative power of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in its contribution to “greening” is particularly evident in the areas of clean energy, sustainable production, climate-friendly mobility and healthy food. In cooperation with numerous partners from business and society, the researchers work on future ecological solutions in an application-oriented and practical manner," says Kastner.

Successful and long-standing cooperation with Fronius International GmbH

The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria has numerous corporate partners in Upper Austria with whom ecological research topics are advanced on a national and international level. One of these partners is the company Fronius International GmbH, with which the university already has a long-standing cooperation. In the past 10 years alone, research and development has been carried out together with Fronius on 12 research projects with funding totaling over €4 million. Between 2017 and 2022, 31 Bachelor's theses and 33 Master's or diploma theses have been written in cooperation with Fronius.

High-quality circular economy in research focus

"At Fronius, sustainability is deeply anchored in the company's DNA. After all, the company itself was founded on the idea of sustainability. At the development sites in Thalheim near Wels, Vienna and Graz, more than 780 developers are working on products and solutions for the future," explains Harald Langeder, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Fronius International GmbH.

Fronius is committed to the high-quality circular economy through particularly durable products with a focus on further optimising reparability and recyclability. "With the 'Sustainability by Design' programme, we are pursuing the goal of ensuring that our products are designed in an environmentally compatible manner, over and above the legal requirements. To this end, we are developing methods and technologies to measure and reduce the ecological footprint of our products," says Langeder.

Fronius is taking the following steps to achieve its goals:

  1. Emphasis on generation, collection and analysis of data on Fronius products.
  2. Creation of further life cycle analyses of products.
  3. Optimisation of product service systems in terms of sustainability and circular economy derived from data-based analyses.
  4. Cooperation with upstream and downstream companies and customers.

Press conference on the R&D balance sheet 2021, on 29 April 2022 at Fronius International GmbH in Thalheim near Wels with Minister of Economy and Research of Upper Austria Markus Achleitner, Vice-President for Research & Development University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria Johann Kastner and CTO Fronius International GmbH Harald Langeder.

Harald Langeder (CTO Fronius), Markus Achleitner (Minister of Economy and Research of Upper Austria), Johann Kastner (Vice President for Research & Development at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria) at the Fronius International hydrogen filling station in Thalheim bei Wels. | Image Source: Land OÖ/Kauder

FH Oberösterreich Logo