Mission Statement

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) is the largest extramural research institute in its field in Austria. It advances human rights research, fosters a human rights-based approach, and contributes to improving the human rights realities of individuals in Austria and abroad. Its interdisciplinary outlook and commitment to applied research and the third mission set it apart. The institute conducts basic and applied research which is current, international, inter-disciplinary, and translational. It intends to ensure the positive societal impact of its research; at the same time, its staff are committed to the highest standards of academic excellence. The LBI-GMR promotes diversity among its staff and partners and supports training activities for lifelong learning.

Human rights-related challenges change as human society evolves and the institute, in order to fulfil its mandate, has to be responsive with respect to a broad array of questions. Accordingly, it has identified core topics which define its research and to which its programme lines, gathering staff members and expertise, are dedicated: Asylum and Migration, Human Dignity and Public Security, (In-)Equalities and Non-Discrimination, Rule of Law and Public Sector Reform, and Sustainability, Development, Business and Social. The institute also has long-running expertise in the field of children’s rights and the prevention of trafficking in human beings. Furthermore, the LBI-GMR is committed to investigating issues that lie outside these main focus areas but are pressing and require well-founded scientific attention from the discipline of human rights. These activities are bundled in the programme line General Human Rights Issues.

The institute champions the merits of national and international research consortia, in both its basic and its applied research. LBI-GMR is well-versed in the international as well as in the European human rights regimes and has contributed to dozens of research projects promoting the exchange and joint improvement of human rights knowledge and experience. The institute’s international outlook is reflected in the composition of its staff who come from numerous countries. In addition, the institute’s renown attracts guest researchers from a broad range of countries and academic backgrounds.

In investigating human rights issues, the LBI-GMR’s main focus is on legal analysis, as reflected in its affiliation with the law faculty of the University of Vienna. At the same time, the institute recognizes the need to enrich its legal expertise with strong interdisciplinary perspectives from social science and the humanities. Therefore, the research staff combines various backgrounds, such as political science, international development and international relations. By virtue of its interdisciplinary outlook, the institute is in a position to pursue a well-rounded research agenda which takes into account both legal realities and conceptual critiques.

Finally, the LBI-GMR is committed to a translational approach to research, intended to translate academic results into societal relevance and, conversely, to take societal concerns as starting points for basic research (translational research cycle). The reliance of the institute’s applied research on methods like the Theory of Change and Open Innovation reflects its determination to engage in ongoing discourses and joint knowledge production processes together with a broad range of experts and societal actors. As part of this approach, the institute is involved in international and national teaching activities; its researchers teach at the University of Vienna, in the framework of several human rights master’s programmes (including the Human Rights Master Programme of the University of Vienna hosted by the LBI-GMR) and in programmes that strengthen the human rights knowledge of judges and executive agents.

The LBI-GMR is linked to the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna through a partnership agreement as well as through the position of its scientific director, who is also a university professor for fundamental and human rights at the Institute for Constitutional and Administrative Law.

The Institute reports to the Partner Board and is advised by the Scientific Advisory Board and supported in scientific as well as research strategy issues.

Umbrella Organisation

Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) is an institute of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG Association). Founded in 1960, the LBG is a non-university research organisation with a thematic focus on medicine and the life sciences as well as the humanities, social and cultural sciences. Together with academic and applied partner organisations, it operates the Ludwig Boltzmann Institutes (LBI) and the Ludwig Boltzmann Research Groups (FG) at various locations in Austria. These institutions are established according to a strict selection procedure, initiate new research topics, can react flexibly to current social and scientific developments and conduct interdisciplinary pioneering research. At the same time, they offer scientists the freedom to try things out and think outside the box.

In 2020, the LBG was included in the new Research Funding Act (FoFinaG) as a “central research institution”. The FoFinaG names ten central research and research funding institutions that are guaranteed long-term, growth-oriented research funding by law. This gave LBG more long-term funding and planning security.

Institutional Partner

University of Vienna

The University of Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Society signed a partnership agreement on 24 September 2020 for the joint continuation of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights. The two institutions are thus pooling their expertise in a sustainable manner and continuing to develop the LBI-GMR as the central interface between the academic research of the University of Vienna and the proven application-oriented human rights research and work of the LBI-GMR in the sense of joint excellence.

The close personal connection to the University of Vienna through Michael Lysander Fremuth, who is at the same time University Professor for Fundamental and Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Scientific Director of the LBI-GMR, enables an ongoing exchange as well as synergies and diverse cooperations, especially with the Institute for Constitutional and Administrative Law under the direction of Executive Director Univ.-Prof. Ewald Wiederin.