WSA Global Congress 2021 PATRONS
Guy Berger, Director for Strategy & Policy, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO:
"UNESCO recognizes that future innovation requires knowledge-based societies and lifelong education ecosystems that nurture and reward imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and a culture of collaboration, empathy and inclusion. Innovation also will depend upon creating new economic livelihoods and opportunities aligned to a green and sustainable planet. Even as we close the global connectivity gap, education on digital skills will be needed, in every community across the world, to help address the spread of online disinformation, which acts in direct opposition to the right to universal access to information, as well as so many of the Sustainable Development Goals: including health, education, cultural diversity, peace building and the health of our climate. "
Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth:
"Last year we saw how the multidimensional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting socioeconomic crisis, and the ongoing climate emergency have revealed how far we are from creating a truly equal and sustainable future. But these unprecedented crises have also revealed how integral innovation and technology are to the continuity of our lives. Connected to each other like never before, young people are at the center of this effort. Young people want to and already contribute to the resilience of their communities by proposing innovative solutions. Innovation in digital technology will only become more relevant as we look to recover better together, with youth-led innovation in particular playing a central role in ensuring we collectively deliver on the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"
Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital Economic Affairs
"For all of us, the Covid 19 Pandemic has drastically changed our way of life and work environment in an incredibly short amount of time. Digitalisation saw a tremendous boost and will continue to do so. Digital tools have become ever more valuable and indispensable. Moreover, it looks like many of these changes have come to stay and will shape our economic and social environments in the future. Digitalisation therefore constitutes a huge opportunity in this day and age.
One of the core tasks of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is to further advance digitalisation and digital transformation in Austria. Widespread mobile phone signature and other reliable authentication methods are of crucial importance in this regard. Furthermore, key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Biotechnology will contribute to the success of Austria as a business location, due to their broad field of application.
In order to further push these key technologies, a number of tailor-made research promotion programmes have been set up. They support fundamental and applied research, partly in cooperation with companies. A small number of institutions, such as the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), the Austrian Promotional Bank (aws) and the Christian Doppler Research Association (CDG) have been defined as core research promotion institutions by the Research Funding Act (Forschungsfinanzierungsgesetz). This Act was passed in July 2020 and improves planning reliability and predictability for research institutions and for the research community as a whole.
In parallel, we prepare individuals to adapt to new technologies, which should in turn benefit our economies in the future. The platform “Fit4Internet” is a good example of this.
I am convinced that we are thus well prepared to meet present and future challenges.
I am happy to support the WSA as Austrian initiative, selecting digital solutions for the UN SDGs and want to cordially congratulate the winners of this year."
Leonore Gewessler, Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology:
" We live in an ever-more digitalized and connected world with automated devices and algorithms influencing our daily lives in one way or another. This development is set to continue - whether we like it or not - but it is for us to decide how we shape it.
Specifically this year the global pandemic demonstrated how much we need digital tools and content to stay connected, collaborate or teach our children.
Young inspiring innovators participating in the World Summit Awards teach us that digitalization can contribute to a more sustainable future; that it is possible to turn the digital revolution we are facing into climate action. They show us that digital transformation can be shaped to ensure it supports transitions towards more sustainable societies and towards taking climate action.
What it takes is inventiveness and courage to walk off the beaten track. Qualities also decision makers sometimes need to be reminded of. I would like to thank WSA winners for this reminder - for showing us that digitalization offers countless opportunities helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, if we take the right steps – now. "
Dr. Andreas J. Ludwig, Executive Chairman Umdasch Group:
"BIM, VR, AR…These terms are not dreams of the future, but current technology trends that affect the way we as a company operate and act in our day-to-day business. The Covid-Pandemic is not stopping us, but has shown that global challenges are accelerating the use of innovative technologies.
At Umdasch Group, with many different companies and branches under one umbrella, we are continuously involved with new technological trends. Therefore, we need stimulus from within the company, where the Umdasch Group is working on new technologies with numerous projects and initiatives. I believe that change also needs impulse from the outside and the WSA network is an excellent chance to reach a broad audience and open up to external ideas.
I am particularly pleased that the youngest member of the Umdasch Group family, our innovation hub Umdasch Group Ventures, has developed this year's challenge and is awarding the Josef Umdasch Research Prize."