Science in action

The podcast about security and disaster research in practice

DCNA Podcast Wissenschaft im Einsatz

In the DCNA podcast, we give a voice to "science in action".

We take a closer look at crisis and disaster research from different perspectives, we look behind the scenes of scientific work and give concrete insights into the work of researchers and emergency services.

How are research results transferred to the relevant authorities? Which disciplines belong to disaster research? What does the work of scientists and emergency services look like? Answers to these questions (and many more) are provided in our podcast “Science in action” (which is currently only available in German).

Do you have questions, suggestions or any criticism about the podcast? Would you like to suggest a guest? Reach out to us at

Season 3

In late May 2024, a tornado made people in Graz hold their breath. However, tornadoes in Austria are not as rare as you might think: on average there are three to five per year. In this episode of "Science in Action", we look at how tornadoes form, whether they are becoming more frequent due to climate change, and how well the population and emergency organizations are prepared for extreme weather events like these. We also look at the lessons learned from the severe tornado in the Czech Republic in 2021. And we have the latest information about cell broadcast – i.e., about disaster warnings sent to smartphones. Our guests are Alois Holzer (ESSL - European Severe Storms Laboratory) and Stefan Kreuzer (Fire and Civil Protection Department, State of Lower Austria).

Many people in Austria have little or no insurance against certain natural hazards - including flooding. In a new episode of “Science in Action”, we talk about the insurance gap in disaster protection. We show what is going well in the insurance sector, where there is still room for improvement and what results science is providing. Our guests are Thomas Hlatky (Head of Reinsurance, GRAWE- one of the largest Central European insurance companies) and Thomas Hartung (Professor of Insurance Economics at the University of the Bundeswehr Munich).

25 years after the devastating avalanche accident in Galtür (Tyrol), we look at how avalanche protection in Austria has changed ever since. In this episode of "Science in Action", we also talk about the role of protective forests and what is currently happening in avalanche research. Our guests are Michaela Teich (Snow and Avalanche Department at the Federal Forest Research Center in Innsbruck) and Florian Rudolf-Miklau (Torrent and Avalanche Control and Protective Forest Policy Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management).

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) can be activated if individual states can no longer cope with a crisis or disaster. In 2023, this was the case more than 60 times. The rescEU system, EU civil protection exercises and training, and the EU knowledge network UCPKN are also part of this mechanism. In this episode of "Science in Action", we look at how the mechanism works exactly. Our guests are Michael Felfernig (Austrian Ministery of the Interior) and Hans Ulrich Goessl (DG ECHO, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department).

Season 2

VR headsets, tablets, huge databases ... Many processes in crisis and disaster management (but not all) have become digital. In this episode of "Science in Action", we look at what this digital transformation looks like, what the challenges are and how emergency organizations might exchange important data in the future. Our guests are Mario Rauch (Vienna Professional Fire Department) and Helmut Leopold (Austrian Institute of Technology).

We are celebrating our podcast’s 1st birthday with a special episode recorded at our disaster research conference at Montanuniversität Leoben. In this episode, our guests take a closer look on why the exchange between science and practitioners in the area of ​​crises and disasters is so important, how it actually works and where there is still room for improvement. Our guests are Siegried Jachs (Head of Unit at the Federal Ministry of the Interior), Harald Kainz (former rector of TU Graz and chairman of DCNA), Eva Schulev-Steindl (rector of BOKU Vienna), Eva-Maria Kern (president of the University of the Bundeswehr Munich) and Christian Resch (DCNA’s managing director).

Industrial disasters no longer happen as often as they used to but the consequences of these accidents can still be devastating today. In order to prevent industrial disasters, prevention and a good safety culture are needed, says Harald Raupenstrauch (professor at Montanuniversität Leoben) in this episode on industrial hazards.

Robots and drones can support firefighters in forest fires, among other things, and ensure greater safety. In this episode of "Science in Action" we look at which tasks automated helpers can still take on, why science and practice have to work closely together in this area and what the voluntary fire brigade of Graz University of Technology is all about. Guests are the President of the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association Robert Mayer and Gerald Steinbauer-Wagner - Professor at Graz University of Technology and expert in the field of robotics.

Epizootics such as bird flu can spread quickly and then become a huge problem, especially for farms. In this episode of "Science in Action" we discuss, among other things, why these diseases are managed in a similar way to crises and disasters, why dogs are soon to be used to track down African swine fever and why climate change might soon bring new animal diseases to Austria. Our guests are animal health experts Christina Riedl and Florian Fellinger.

Further severe earthquakes in Turkey are likely in the coming years but it is generally not possible to precisely predict when earthquakes will hit. Find out why and how we can protect ourselves from the effects of earthquakes nevertheless in the first episode of Season 2. We talked to GeoSphere Austria seismologist Rita Meurers and the former geophysics head at the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics Wolfgang Lenhardt.

Season 1

Barbara Juen, psychologist at the University of Innsbruck and renowned expert in the field of crisis intervention, talks about mental health as part of public health - especially in the context of crises and disasters.

Unfortunately, we cannot protect ourselves 100 percent from catastrophes of all kinds. But we can better understand and assess the corresponding risks and thus react better in the event of a disaster. In this episode, we discuss how this can be achieved in concrete terms and what role risk research plays. Our guest is André Gazsó from the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Mass movements can be sudden and devastating, or they can be very slow. We talk to Barbara Schneider-Muntau from the University of Innsbruck about mass movements, their effects on Austria's natural and urban areas, and how research is carried out on them.

In this episode, we talk to Helmut Habersack, Head of the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering, Hydraulics and River Research at BOKU Vienna, about floods in general and what research and practice have learned from the 2002 flood disaster.

Harald Vacik (BOKU Vienna) talks about how many forest fires there are in Austria and how emergency services and research deal with them, why there are more forest fires in Austria, and what we have to expect in the future.

Stefan Rass (Johannes Kepler University Linz) and Günter Gruber (Technical University Graz) on modern critical infrastructure, intelligent systems in use and the role of waste water - and what happens when the waste water disposal does not work.

Intro music:
"Rollin at 5" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License