First, Martina Nagyova, working at the EU Agencies Network, introduced the students to the world of EU agencies. The EU has a total of 48 network members, 39 of which are decentralized agencies operating in different areas such as health, security, finance, or data collection. The EU Agencies Network navigates negotiations and communication between the various agencies and between EU institutions and agencies. It works on finding solutions to avoid future problems and anticipating potential implications stemming from crises or political decisions. Despite the size of the network, its impact often remains unseen by citizens. In the past, new EU agencies were created in response to major crises such as the SARS outbreak (2002) or the financial crisis (2008). Our current health crisis is no exception – the future European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority will be the 40th agency aiming to increase the preparedness and response to serious health threats across the European Union.
The second talk was given by Lena Gansterer from the Impact Hub in Vienna which offers co-working and event spaces to people who have an idea that impacts society. The Impact Hub community consists of many different parties like founders, creators, or investors. Following the idea that „impact cannot happen in isolation; it requires collective action“, the overall goal is to give a space where people get together, share their skills, and help and support each other to foster social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship describes entrepreneurial ideas that can change society for a better through their social impact and profit potential. Such ideas tackle some of the biggest problems of our society – climate change, pollution, inequality, or migration. While Lena talked about the hub in Vienna, the Impact hub network is growing on a global scale. We thank both guest lecturers for their attention-grabbing presentations and for giving the students an insight into their fascinating fields with a focus on the current developments under COVID-19.