Climate Research Center located in Graz – from its foundation 2005 to today...
Since the 1990ties researchers from several institutes of the University of Graz (UniGraz), both from the Faculty of Natural Sciences as well as at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, have achieved significant competences in various fields of climate- and global change research.
Building on this heritage, and recognizing the potential of putting the diverse climate-related activities under one umbrella, the UniGraz has started, with support by the City of Graz, the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WegCenter) as an interdisciplinary, internationally oriented research center. The center concept was highly approved in an international peer review conducted by the UniGraz Rectorate in 2004 before adopting the center as a future UniGraz research focus. The official foundation followed per 1st March 2005.
By decision of the Rectorate in November 2012, after seven years of successful development and a proven record of positive international evaluations, the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change was established as a (permanent) Institute at the Faculty of Environmental and Regional Sciences and Education. Nearly at the same time the Wegener Center moved from the Leechgasse 25 to the Brandhofgasse 5.
The WegCenter brings together research teams and scientists from fields such as geo- and climate physics, meteorology, economics, geography, and regional sciences. Within three thematic research groups about 35 scientists with the majority being young researchers (M.Sc. students, Ph.D. students, Postdocs) find well equipped work space and a stimulating atmosphere. In addition, about twenty scientists are closely associated with the WegCenter as so-called long-term affiliated partners. More than two dozen research projects ensure good and productive scientific work.
Gottfried Kirchengast, who already sketched the first ideas for a "Climate Centre at UniGraz" in 1998, was able to get this idea off the ground together with many supporters when he was appointed to the Geophysics Chair at UniGraz (Alfred Wegener's Chair) in 2003. In 2005, he founded the Wegener Center as an interdisciplinary center of the University of Graz together with Karl Steininger, an economist from Graz. The Center was elevated to the status of an institute in 2013. Since 2019, the Institute has been headed by Andrea Steiner, together with Karl Steininger as deputy director and the Wegener Center Board of Directors.