Verena Winiwarter is a professor for environmental history at the Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (BOKU), Austria. She was initially trained as a chemical engineer and, after years of working in atmospheric research, earned her PhD in environmental history at the University of Vienna in 1998. She was granted the venia legendi in Human Ecology in 2003. From 2003 to 2006 Winiwarter held a postdoctoral fellowship in environmental history (APART fellowship) awarded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the Institute for Soil Research (BOKU), Vienna and at the Faculty for Interdisciplinary Research of Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt (IFF), where she has held the first chair in environmental history in Austria since 2007. She has served several terms as head of the Centre for Environmental History at the IFF since 2003, and from 2010 until 2015 she served as dean of the faculty. She is among the founding members of ESEH, for which she served as president from 2001 until 2005.
She has been a member of the executive board of the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations (ICEHO) since 2011 and has been its president since 2016. She is a member of several editorial boards and of the advisory boards of the Centre for Environmental History (University Tallinn), the Deutsches Museum (München), and Technisches Museum Wien. A full member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, she has served there as chairperson of the Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies since 2016.
Her main research interests comprise the history of landscapes, in particular rivers, images, and the environmental history of soils. Winiwarter was elected “Austrian Scientist of the Year 2013” for her work in outreach and public communication.