July 1, 2022

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Natural Hazards: Susanna Wernhart is FEMtech Expert of the Month

© Boku / Susanne Wernhart at work



BMK’s FEMtech initiative empowers women in research and technology and is committed to equal opportunity.


VIENNA – Susanna Wernhart is the FEMtech Expert of the Month for June. She works as a research assistant at the Austrian Disaster Competence Network (DNCA) and also shares this teaching experience at the Institute for Alpine Natural Hazards at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. Through the FEMtech initiative, the Federal Ministry of Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) promotes women in research and technology and advocates for equal opportunities in industrial and non-university research.

Global warming and natural disasters work together to affect the lives of millions of people around the world. Also in the Alpine region, scientific projections assume that some natural hazards will continue to increase in frequency and intensity. This area has a particular focus on large-scale, but also localized flooding with occasional major damage and avalanche events.

At DCNA, Susanna Wernhart deals with the challenges associated with these risks – before, during, and after such an event or disaster. She is particularly interested in networking different departments and people in the field of tension between natural hazards and climate change. As a research assistant, you investigate the needs of end-users in the field of hazard and risk analysis and accompany and promote knowledge transfer between research and practice.

“I am currently working, for example, on an EU-funded multinational project with flood and earthquake risks as well as multi-hazard approaches. I work with a variety of data sources, risk maps and use GIS,” Wernhart says of her current work. In addition, she is the focal point for the DCNA Flood Expert Working Group and is responsible for collaborating with the Women’s Exchange Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (We4DRR).

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As a research assistant and lecturer at BOKU Vienna, I have gained a wide range of experience working on interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects, in engineering and documentation of results and in the field of knowledge transfer.

“On the one hand, I have the opportunity to work on complex scientific issues, and on the other hand, I have the function of collecting practical needs, for example from emergency organizations, and integrating them into concrete projects.”

She makes this expertise available in workshops at the regional and local levels of crises and risks. In addition, she and her team also prepare this complex knowledge as simple and exciting content for activities such as Long Night of Research for an interested audience.

by initiative FEMtech The Federal Ministry of Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) encourages women in research and technology and advocates for equal opportunities in industrial and non-university research.



Article put online by: Doris Holler