Federal Institute

Federal Institute

The Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB) is a socio-economic research institute for agricultural policy, the food industry, farming and rural areas, particularly including mountain regions affiliated to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML).

The Institute analyses interactions between agriculture and society from different perspectives and draws up basic principles and approaches for the sustainable development of rural areas in a national and European context. A differentiated view of agricultural enterprises, structures and systems as well as a spatially differentiated analysis, with a special focus on the development of mountain areas, are in the focus. The collection, structuring and analysis of (geo)data on agriculture and rural areas as well as the development and implementation of IT systems form an important basis for data science projects. Systematic documentation of important specialist literature is also carried out in the Institute's own special library, which is a scientific resource for internal and external users.


Main Areas of Research

To implement our vision and to fulfil our legal mandate, BAB’s research activities focus on the following key research areas:

  • Agricultural Economics and Markets
  • Mountain Areas Research and Regional Development
  • Rural Sociology
  • Agricultural, Environmental and Food Systems

The research topics relate to a number of societal challenges that are becoming increasingly important due to the growing demands on the use and design of space, as well as the organisation and use of resources. All scientific studies focus on climate change, environmental development, resource conservation, social change and technological change, as well as digitalisation. Their critical nature requires that these aspects be addressed in all scientific research and that these issues be taken into account in the design of research projects and impact assessment.

Our research is focused on

  • an orientation of the research concept towards policy-relevant implementation in terms of agricultural policy as well as sector and spatially relevant policy areas of rural and mountain development,
  • the assessment of policy impacts on different social groups,
  • the differentiated consideration of policy effects in social and spatial terms,
  • the consideration of the acceptance of measures,
  • the goal of sustainable development as well as questions of resilience and necessary transformation processes.

Our Services

  • Data collection and access to data pool
  • Policy advice
  • Specific methodological knowledge
  • Research cooperation
  • Thematic library
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • IT (infrastructure, technical systems and software development)
  • Knowledge transfer (e.g., advisory documents, publications, lectures, social media)

Basic Principles of our Activities

Our research and scientific work is based on the following basic principles:

  • International, national and regional
  • Inter- and transdisciplinary
  • Systemic
  • Effect-oriented
  • Policy-oriented
  • Future-oriented
  • Target group oriented
  • Continuous

Our History

In January 2019, the offices of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT), the Federal Institute for Agricultural Economics (AWI) and the Federal Institute for Mountain Farming (BABF), were merged to form the Federal Institute for Agricultural Economics and Mountain Farming (BAB), which was headed by Thomas Resl until August 2023. Following interim management by Klaus Wagner (from September to December 2023), Martin Schönhart was appointed head of the BAB in January 2024.

In 1960, the "Agricultural Institute" was founded, which was renamed the Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics (AWI) in 1983 and enshrined in the Federal Institutes Act. Research focussed on business administration, market and food economics, agricultural policy, regional research and rural sociology. Other important tasks were the operation of a specialised agricultural library and documentation centre and the management of an extensive data pool. The heads of the Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics were Otto Dornik (1960-1966), Hans Alfons (1967-1995), Hubert Pfingstner (1995-2012), Klaus Wagner (interim 2013-2014) and Thomas Resl (2015-2018).

The Federal Institute for Mountain Farming was founded in 1979 as the "Mountain Farming Institute". In 1982 it was renamed the Federal Institute for Mountain Farmers' Issues (BABF) and its legal establishment. Research topics were integrated regional policy, organic farming, EU mountain regions, rural social research, resource-conserving economics, biodiversity, genetic engineering and genetic engineering-free zones, gender. Josef Krammer (1979-2007), Thomas Dax (interim 2007-2009) and Désirée Ehlers (2009-2018) were the heads of the Federal Institute of Mountain Agriculture.

The interlinking of the thematic areas and the harmonisation of the applied methods should further deepen the problem- and future-oriented research approach in future research work. A strategic and organisational reorganisation was followed by a move to a new location at Dietrichgasse 27 in Vienna's 3rd district in 2019.



Dietrichgasse 27
1030 Wien
 +43 (1) 71100 - 637415

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