The UNESCO Chair for the Sustainable Management of Conservation Areas (MCA) shall provide excellent research and inspiring learning experiences for nature conservation in the 21st century. In particular, the Chair shall contribute to empower and enable personalities, institutions and societies to face the future challenges in the management of conservation areas. The Chair has been established in spring 2020. It shall become an internationally visible hub for excellence, innovation and new technologies in nature conservation. Activities of the Chair are based on an interdisciplinary, holistic and integrated understanding of conservation areas, as advocated and exemplified by UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, (natural) UNESCO World Heritage sites and UNESCO Geoparks.

Unesco Chair

The UNESCO Chair is rooted at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences where it is established at the Centre for Further Education (WBZ), an interdisciplinary institution for lifelong learning.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has launched the UNESCO Chairs programme in 1992. Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. As per now 114 UNESCO Chairs have been established worldwide, nine of them in Austria. They work within a framework of over 700 institutions in 116 countries. Find more information here:


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Center for Further Education
Management of Conservation Areas

Virtual tour promoting ‘Management of Conservation Areas’ through Europe

In September 2020, our master programme ‘Management of Conservation Areas’ goes on a virtual tour through Europe to spread the word about this…

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Center for Further Education
Management of Conservation Areas


The first UNESCO chair at a university of applied sciences in Austria is established at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences: Chair is to…

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Center for Further Education
Management of Conservation Areas

Outstanding opportunity for world bank scholarship

We have fantastic news for all students of the master’s programme Management of Conservation Areas. You can apply for a fully-funded World Bank…


Michael Jungmeier is chairholder.  Throughout his career, the ecologist and human geographer has been focusing on biodiversity research, concepts and tools in nature conservation, on human-nature-relationship and environmental history. He worked extensively with inter- and transdisciplinary research designs and methods and has a long track of academic lectureships at different universities.  Jungmeier has worked in planning and consulting of conservation areas, as well as in research and education, capacity building and training for more than 30 years.

Dr. Michael Jungmeier
Chair for Nature Conservation and Sustainability

FH Kärnten – Campus Villach
Europastraße 4, 9524 Villach

+43 5 90500 4314

Alexandra Liegl is head of the Centre for Further Education. With her team of experts, she is responsible for the quality of the educational offers at the UNESCO Chair. She has long-term experience in conceptualising, administrating and evaluating curricula and individual courses as well.

Mag.a Alexandra Liegl 
Head of Center For Further Education

FH Kärnten – Campus Feldkirchen and Villach
Hauptplatz 12, 9560 Feldkirchen
Europastraße 4, 9524 Villach

+43 5 90500 4311

Monika Auinger is scientific assistant at the UNESCO Chair. She is geographer with a focus on the management of landscapes, rural and urban areas and has specific qualifications in geo-informatics. Monika is responsible for developing and conducting research projects together with partners and stakeholders.

Monika Auinger, MSc.
Junior Researcher for Nature Conservation and Sustainability

FH Kärnten – Campus Villach
Europastraße 4, 9524 Villach

+43 (0)5 90500-7041


“To our students we offer unique learning experiences on nature conservation and sustainable development. We want to inspire students and teachers as well by exiting learning formats, innovative settings and a professional learning environment. We learn indoor, outdoor and in virtual space.” All educational offers are conducted in cooperation with partners from different sectors and with an interdisciplinary bunch of teachers and trainers.

    All, one needs to know about conservation areas, their preparation, planning and management – is provided in this comprehensive master programme. The unique educational offer shall enable participants to:

    • achieve conservation goals effectively,
    • use new ways of communication and,
    • deal with stakeholders in a better way

    The course of study is based on profound theoretical bases, international standards and principles on one hand and on practical tools, lively experiences and best practice on the other. Particular emphasis is put on innovative technologies, trans-transcultural learning, the mechanisms of development cooperation and the personal competence to conduct inter- and transdisciplinary dialogues.

    • Title: Master of Science “Management of Conservation Areas”
    • ECTS: 120 (“Full master”)
    • Duration: 2 years, part-time (64 days of attendance in 4 blocks), blended learning
    • Partners: International Scientific Board, Institutional Advisory Board, Austrian Experience Pool, E.C.O. Institute of Ecology


    Learn, exchange, enjoy. This is the mission statement of a summer university that takes place annually one week in July in the Lakeside Campus in Klagenfurt. It is an advanced training for decision makers and persons responsible for conservation areas.
    The academy is comprised of an introductory conference, three intensive seminar days and a two-day field trip. The seminars’ focus changes each year, the workshops are conducted by international experts. This format provides the opportunity for extensive sharing of experiences and discussions at a high level. Participants bring their own showcase or problem. In an intensive 3-days seminar innovative solutions are developed in discussion with peers and internationally renowned experts.

    EPA offers outstanding intercultural learning opportunities for executives of conservation areas.

    • Certificate: Issued by World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN/WCPA) and Carinthia University of Applied Sciences
    • ECTS: 3 (optional)
    • Duration: 1 week (including a two-day-excursion)
    • Partners: IUCN/WCPA, international institutions (depending on topic), E.C.O. Institute of Ecology


    How are nature conservation measures at extraction sites to be implemented? How can be provided optimal nesting and breeding facilities for different species? How are neobiota (invasive species) or communal green areas to be managed? How are conservation devices such as bat detectors, camera traps and drones operated? The newly developed job profile of a ‘Nature Conservation Engineer’ embodies the competence for all hands-on conservation issues that occur on construction sites, infrastructures and in settlement areas.

    Participants are, amongst others, employees of construction companies, of the energy, raw materials and transport industry, from planning departments, nature conservation organisations as well as from the public administration.

    • Certificate: Professional Certificate issued by Carinthia University of Applied Sciences
    • ECTS: 6 (optional)
    • Duration: 1 year, part-time (30 days of attendance)
    • Partners: Institute of Civil Engineering (Carinthia University of Applied Sciences), E.C.O. Institute of Ecology



    Conservation areas have turned more and more into model regions for both the conservation of biodiversity and equitable sustainable development. UNESCO sites such as biosphere reserves, world heritage sites and geoparks are based and directly interrelated to UNESCO´s goals and values. Hence, these sites have become learning sites for translating international policies and standards into real life contexts. This raises important and exciting research questions that shall be addressed by the UNESCO Chair for Sustainable Management of Conservation Areas.

    • Protected area research with a focus on UNESCO World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Geoparks, Nature and National Parks and Natura 2000 sites
    • Scientific support and accompanying research on the planning, establishment and management of protected areas and protected area systems
    • Applied nature conservation research with a focus on biodiversity, global change, ecosystem services and natural processes
    • Applied research and development of conservation technologies, concepts and standards
    • Scientific support for sustainability processes in organisations, regions and states

    Particular emphasis shall be given to trans-disciplinary and trans-cultural research designs, new methods and new technologies and fair formats of citizen science. Research activities of the Chair shall contribute to strengthening conservation areas locally, nationally, regionally and globally as well. UNESCO sites and UNESCO programmes shall directly benefit from enhanced capacities, research findings and experiences as generated in the Chair´s work.


    Cooperation Science_Linknockberge

    Cooperation Science_Linknockberge: Connecting a biosphere region and the scholarly world

    In 2020 the UNESCO Chair joins the Science_Link partnership with the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve (Carinthian part of the Salzburger Lungau & Kärntner Nockberge Biosphere Reserve).

    The long-term cooperation between the biosphere reserve (BR), Carinthia University of Applied Sciences and Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt aims at (1) building a bridge between excellent international research and everyday life in the region of Nockberge, (2) stimulating, triggering and scientifically supervising technical, economical, ecological and social innovations in the region, (3) giving access to international developments and trends and the scientific community as well and (4) to raise public awareness for the importance and potentials of the BR.

    In the course of the cooperation student works (bachelor, master, dissertations) are addressed to burning issues in the biosphere region. Relevant research questions are developed together with stakeholders from the region and implemented with technical and logistical support from the biosphere reserve management. The results are presented in the region and made accessible in meine biosphäre, the BR´s journal.

    Financed by: Nockberge Biosphere Reserve

    Further information:


    SMART_BR: Transdisciplinary research on virtual participation processes in Austrian UNESCO biosphere reserves

    This collaborative project uses a transdisciplinary approach to study the implementation and effects of novel designs for multi-stakeholder participation in the management of UNESCO biosphere reserves (BRs) in Austria. BRs are learning sites for sustainable development and test sides for trans- and interdisciplinary approaches to understand interactions between social and ecological systems. The three eligible BRs differ significantly in their physio-geographical profiles, size, economic and demographic structure, however, share participatory processes as an important pillar of their work. Reinforced by the experience of virtual communication methods during the COVID-19 pandemic BRs are beginning to use digital tools for participatory processes.

    This project has two principal aims: i) to study the implementation of multi-channel participation systems with new e-participation components being developed in transdisciplinary collaboration in order to broaden engagement opportunities; ii) to assess the role and effects of electronic support for civic participation (especially of previously underrepresented groups), the effects on BR management and decision-making, and the wider impacts on local democracy and sustainable development.

    In a first project phase there is the possibility to prepare the project in a (virtual) discussion process with stakeholders from Großes Walsertal BR, Salzburger Lungau & Kärntner Nockberge BR and Wienerwald BR. The project will be prepared by the UNESCO Chair at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institute of Technology Assessment; Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research), BOKU University and Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt.

    Financed by: #Connecting Minds; FWF Austrian Research Grant

    Goldene Unke

    Goldene Unke: Award for nature conservation beyond “business as usual”

    The Global business and biodiversity initiative, as launched by the Convention of Biological Diversity shall contribute to halt the dramatic loss of biodiversity. For this the involvement and the contributions of the corporate sector are considered to be of crucial importance ( The award Goldene Unke shall promote good solutions and increase awareness für this initiative on the local level.

    The new award scheme aims at identifying and highlighting innovations in nature conservation on construction sites, infrastructures and in the communal area. An interdisciplinary jury shall award outstanding nature conservation projects and thus motivate companies to implement projects that are closer to nature and increase biodiversity. Students of the certificate course Nature Conservation Engineers will have the possbility to learn for these projects as well.

    The certificate course for Nature Conservation Engineers has been offered at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences since 2017. The education comprises an introductory part (e.g. nature conservation biology, nature conservation law, nature conservation professions), equipment knowledge and technology (e.g. telemetry, drones, geo-information) as well as a practical main part. There, central competences are shared and trained in the field. For the final thesis, a small practical nature conservation project will be prepared, implemented and documented.

    Financed by: Land Kärnten

    Further information:

    Fun toys or professional devices?

    Fun toys or professional devices? Testrun for species identification apps

    A clear identification of species is a basic requirement for conservation work and the implementation of conservation measures. The determination is so far only reserved for experts. But what can the various identification apps for plants, fungi and animals do today? This question is the subject of a small project, which is implemented by research interns in summer 2020 within the framework of FFG funding.

    Three high-school students and graduates with an interest in science are testing apps such as Pl@ntNet, iPflanzen, Flora Incognita, LeafSnap, BirdNet, Picture fish and Picture Insect. The aim is to determine the potentials of these technologies, their informative value and the need for further development.

    Among other things, the results are to contribute to the development of a new course of study "Future Technologies for biodiversity". The survey will allow a better understanding and consideration of the requirements and expectations of future students

    Financed by: FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency



    Looking inside the toolkit of nature conservation engineers (October 2020). Participants of the educational programme present their final seminar work, reaching from protection of biodiversity up to adaptation strategies of forests to climate change.

    ´Conservation Engineer' III

    Making of a short image clip in August 2020 with students from CUAS for the Master "Management of Conservation Areas", in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Nockberge.

    Making of an MCA Imageclip

    Skill-oriented education for nature conservation in the 21st century (May 2020). Significant steps of the relaunch of the international Master "Management of Conservation Areas", such as "Little Sidney" in Donauauen National Park, the work of the Austrian Experiences Pool and the official presentation of the master in the Dobratsch Nature Park on September 18th, 2018.

    Master programme Management of Conservation Areas

    Encounters in exciting environments (May 2020). Selected hightlights from the European Parks Academy (EPA) in Carinthia from 2016 to 2019, indicating that this summer university really is a format to learn, exchange and enjoy.

    European Parks Academy

    Nature conservation engineers out and about (May 2020). A kaleidoscope of pictures from field excursions, university sessions and workshops.

    Certificate Course 'Nature Conservation Engineer'

    Looking inside the toolkit of nature conservation engineers (May 2020). Participants of the educational programme present their final seminar work, reaching from conservation monitoring, experiments for vegetation control to ibex tracking and bat nesting facilities.

    Certificate Course 'Nature Conservation Engineer' - Success Stories

    Outstanding universal values (May 2020). The travelling ecologist and photographer Michael "Mike" Huber documents UNESCO world heritage sites around the globe.

    UNESCO sites around the world  (c) Michael Huber

    Magic moments in Carinthian conservation areas (May 2020). Selected parks and protected sites in the Chair´s surrounding, seen through the lenses of the Carinthian photographer Christopher Rossmann in spring 2020.

    Carinthian Sites (c) Christopher Rossmann

    The UNESCO Chair´s brownbag session - ‘Have lunch with us’

    Conservationists shall never eat alone. The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Management of Conservation Areas at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences invites partners and friends to lunch. We meet virtually every Wednesday at lunchtime (12.15 CET) with our brown bags. Different representatives of grassroot initiatives, international organizations, and the scholarly world as well give a short impulse on nature conservation in the 21st century and contribute to our lunchtime discussion. The statements are recorded and made available for download far beyond lunchtime. If you would like to take part virtually in a brownbag session, please contact Lilia Schmalzl via e-mail l.schmalzlfh-kaerntenat

    “How can we keep nature connected when planning transport infrastructure, Cristian?”
    Presentation by Cristian-Remus Papp

    “How to fight the devil’s tree, Jean-Marc?”
    Presentation by Jean Marc Dufour-Dror

    What is so exciting about a BRIM, Mike?
    Presentation by Michael Huber

    “What are the biggest threats for biodiversity loss in West Bank, Iman?“
    Presentation by Iman Al-Hirsh

    “What do students need to know about Science_Link, Alex and Selina?”
    Presentation by Alexander Thamer and Selina Strasser

    "What is the taste of a harvestman, Chri?”
    Presentation by Christian Komposch

    “How to play a Game of Clones, Anneliese?”
    Presentation by Anneliese Fuchs

    “What is a landscape-lab, Lilia and Thomas?”
    Presentation by Lilia Schmalzl and Thomas Schauppenlehner

    Book launch: Biosphäre 4.0
    Presentation by Axel Borsdorf and Michael Jungmeier