Each semester, the University of Vienna poses its academics a question that is of particular relevance to today’s society. You can find all current contributions by the University of Vienna’s academics in the uni:view magazine or on our social media channels under #SEMESTERFRAGE. The University of Vienna runs this project in cooperation with the Austrian daily newspaper "Der Standard" – starting with online contributions and ending with a closing event at the end of the semester.
Please note: Detailed information about the individual semester questions is only available in German.
In 2018, Austria celebrates 100 years of democracy – time to critically analyse our democracy and talk about its future. Tendencies toward a European decline, Brexit, migration, fake news, right-wing populism – democracy has to cope with many challenges. How can we sustain or further develop democracy as the bedrock of our value-based society? This is what the University of Vienna’s semester question in the winter semester is about.
In the "post-antibiotic era", ordinary bacterial infections can become a lethal danger. At the same time, the microbiome provides us with unprecedented opportunities for individual therapeutic approaches to certain diseases. Today’s drug designers are working towards more efficient methods of drug production to keep our society healthy. Will they succeed, when, at the same time, more and more food comes from the lab? These issues are currently discussed at the University of Vienna.
How can we preserve human dignity and the quality of life when technologies take decisions for millions of people? This was one of the central issues discussed in the winter semester of 2016/17. What consequences can we expect when machines communicate with each other in the Internet of things, when robots support us in our daily lives and medical diagnoses based on data mining become day-to-day business?
In the summer semester of 2016, the semester question focused on Eastern and Western Europe drifting apart due to the refugee crisis in the autumn of 2015, requirements for a successful and sustainable integration in Austria as well as the impact of migration on the legal system and its limitations.