we4DRR members in focus: Susanna Wernhart

Srceenshot Sussanna Wernhart

On December 14th, 2022, the second edition of our autumn webinar series we4DRR members in focus was held online. Susanna Wernhart from the Disaster Competence Network Austria and BOKU Vienna gave insights about her career, research topics, and personal views at work and life.

Susanna has been a member of we4DRR since it's start in 2016. She studied mountain risk engineering at the BOKU in Vienna and works at DCNA as a research associate and as lecturer at the institute of mountain risk engineering at BOKU.

At DCNA, Susanna deals with challenges associated with natural hazards - before, during and after an event or disaster. As a research assistant, she surveys the needs of end users in the area of ​​risk and hazard analysis and accompanies and promotes the transfer of knowledge between research and practice. Currently she is working in a transnational project funded by the EU with flood and earthquake risks as well as multi-risk methods, called BORIS.


  • As a child I wanted to become: a circus artist or teacher
  • The three most important things on my office desk are: something to drink - coffee, a picture of my son and two screens
  • My perfect work day starts with: a coffee, some time to sort my mind and fresh air
  • I restore my energy by: playing with my son, sleeping, yoga and being outside
  • My secret of success is: being a positive person who can motivate others, focusing on special tasks and enjoying working on them

On networking and being honest

To survive a tough workday, Susanna recommends planning ahead and maybe being able to avoid stress in general. If it is inevitable though, take enough breaks, nourish your body with good and enough food and get enough sleep at night. It is essential for Susanna to be straightforward, and she lives this principle in her working environment. In the past, this has sometimes led to obstacles in her career, as the compatibility of family and career is not yet supported in all areas.

Her husband continually backs her up, also with critical feedback, as well as having a supportive employer and networks like we4DRR are both important because they allow you to learn new things and connect with people. Susanna describes success as being able to do the work that she is interested in and being appreciated for that.


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