June 17th 2023

Internationalization and sustainability, a contradiction?

Members of the IROICA network met at MCI and BOKU to discuss sustainability in the context of internationalization of universities

MCI is proud to have hosted this year's IROICA Staff Training at the Entrepreneurial School® with the same focus on sustainability like at the successful MCI Sustainability Week in May, 2023.

Starting at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna and then at MCI in Innsbruck, around 60 delegates from 15 nations from all over Europe met from June 12 to 16, 2023 under the motto "Internationalization and Sustainability", to exchange their latest findings and practical applications of  sustainable internationalization measures.

IROICA is a European network of international relations officers at universities in the field of agricultural and life sciences. The network is a permanent body within the ICA network - the network of life science universities. MCI, where internationalization has played a key role since its inception, has been a member since 2019 and had the privilege to host the annual IROICA Staff Training for the first time.

At the BOKU, Vienna, the participants focused mainly on how to effectively organize "green events," e.g. in the context of conferences and staff training. BOKU being an exemplary in this area in the Austrian university landscape, they were able to come up with numerous best practices.

After a joint train ride, the program continued in Innsbruck. Here in the lectures and interactive sessions, the participants discussed how internationalization and sustainability can be reconciled. As the staff members of the international relations offices are in constant contact with the students, their primary goal is to inform and provide students with the necessary tools to make their semester abroad as sustainable as possible without missing out on anything during their stay.  

The participants of the training also benefited from the event on a personal level. In a climate simulation, for example, they learned what impact our daily decisions have on the climate. The staff training was complemented by a varied social program such as a visit to a wine tavern (“Heurigen”) in Vienna or the Kofel Restaurant on top of the Patscherkofel Mountain with an impressive view of Innsbruck, a guided tour of the Tyrolean capital and, as a special highlight, an impressive visit to the construction site of the Brenner Base Tunnel.

We would like to thank all participants of the IROICA Staff Training for their interactive participation and hope that they enjoyed the time as much as we did and that the spark of sustainable internationalization will spread onto the students.


Statements of participants:

"Thank you for organizing the inspiring days at MCI. A good combination of content, networking and breath-taking views." (Wageningen University, Netherlands)

“It was a really good conference! So many people, so much interaction, and so well locally organised-with once in a lifetime experiences as the tunnel and the highest conference dinner!” (KU Leuven, Belgium)

“The IROICA Staff training week in Vienna and Innsbruck made it possible for me to meet over 20 of SLU’s partner universities, and most importantly build relationships and friendship with colleagues around Europe. I got to experience the cities and campuses of BOKU and MCI, take part in innovative and creative workshops and seminars on the themes sustainability and green mobility. Already looking forward to the next get together!” (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)

“It was a true pleasure participating as speakers at IROICA's conference reuniting many internationalisation officers of European Life Sciences programs.” Go2Rail


Green Event Austria

The IROICA Training 2023 at MCI and BOKU was awarded as a Green Event Tyrol/Vienna. Green Events are events where special consideration is given to environmental, social and economic sustainability. Green Events Tyrol/Vienna is an initiative of Climate Alliance Austria in cooperation with the respective provinces to promote an environmentally and socially conscious event culture.