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, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT).
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.
- 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
- Target group oriented
The Federal Institute for Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB) was established in 2019 through the consolidation of the Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics (AWI) and the Federal Institute for Less Favoured and Mountainous Areas (BABF).
The Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics was founded in 1960. The main areas of research included business administration, market and food economics, agricultural policy, regional research and rural sociology. Other important tasks were the operation of a specialized agricultural library and documentation centre as well as the management of an extensive data pool. The directors of the institute 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 Less Favoured and Mountainous Areas (BABF) was founded as in 1979. The research topics were integrated regional policy, organic farming, EU mountain regions, rural social research, resource-efficient economy, biodiversity, genetic engineering, free zones, and gender. BABF was directed by Josef Krammer (1979-2007), by Thomas Dax (interim 2007-2009) and by Désirée Ehlers (2009-2018).
The interconnection of the working fields and the coordination of the applied methods are designed to further deepen the problem and future-oriented approach in the research tasks. A structural organizational as well as the strategy development was followed by a physical consolidation at the new location in the Dietrichgasse 27 in the 3rd district in Vienna in 2019.