Mission Statement

The Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering (MRE) is part of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria. It mainly deals with hazard assessment and mitigation concepts for mountain risks, including forest and land management, technical and biological measures as well as disaster and risk management and hazard mapping. The hazards considered include torrential floods, sediment transport, debris flows, snow avalanches, land slides and rock fall.

BOKU/MRE has seven permanent academic staff members, several PhD and diploma students, and three technical and support staff members. Additionally about a dozen university graduates are working on projects supported by third-party funds. Based on event documentation BOKU/MRE has performed many case studies analysing mountain hazards. Simulation models for hazard assessment of torrential flows, debris flows, snow avalanches, and rock fall have been developed and tested. The institute operates a laboratory including different types of rheometer, water basin for modelling purposes and a climatic chamber. Five experimental torrential catchments and a field site for avalanche and snow studies are instrumented by the institute. Three monitoring sites aimed on rock fall-forest interrelations are installed in Lower Austria and Upper Austria.

The institute participated in several EU projects (ROCKFOR, CADZIE, THARMIT, DISALP and IRASMOS). Since 2004 BOKU/MRE leads a Master course on 'Mountain Risk Engineering'. The institute is responsible for the education of engineers at the Austrian federal torrent and avalanche control service and of civil engineers dealing with mountain hazards on an international level.