WU's new Rectorate to boost expertise and visibilibility


Rupert Sausgruber and his team were inaugurated on October 10.

WU Vienna’s new Rector’s Council took office on October 1, 2023. The economist Rupert Sausgruber will be heading WU as new Rector in the coming four years. Sausgruber and his team – Harald Badinger, Bernadette Kamleitner, Margarethe Rammerstorfer, and Martin Winner – were officially inaugurated as WU’s new Rector’s Council during a ceremony held on October 10. The priorities that the new Rector’s Council has set for its work include strengthening WU’s expertise while boosting WU’s visibility and further developing its third mission activities. Respect and appreciation will also be central topics for the new Rector’s Council.

2023 marked the 125-year anniversary of WU Vienna and the 10-year anniversary of Campus WU. WU has achieved a great deal over the years, establishing a solid position among the world’s leading business and economics universities. Rector Sausgruber wants to build on this foundation, and in his inaugural speech he outlined the strategy he envisions for the future of WU.

Putting WU’s expertise at the service of society and the economy

“Back in the day, the University of World Trade, the institution that would later become today’s WU, was founded because there was a clear demand for a qualified education in business and economics. And there was also a clear commitment to provide the funding needed to provide this education. Today, WU plays an important role, not only due to its size but also because it trains the leaders of tomorrow who will go on to shape the future, and because it comes up with answers to the key questions of our time, thanks to funding provided to strengthen research and internationalization. It’s the people who work here – often the ones behind the scenes – who generate and disseminate this knowledge, and they deserve our appreciation,” says Rector Sausgruber. “One of our priorities will be boosting the visibility of these diverse achievements and their impact on society, the economy, and politics. To do that, we want to analyze the existing potential, bring it into focus and nurture it, and identify the right steps to be taken. We need to tell the people what research does, how it contributes to the common good, and why society always benefits from money spent on universities,” Rector Sausgruber points out. Engaging in knowledge transfer with the community is part of what’s known as the third mission, one of the core responsibilities of a university alongside teaching and research. “It was important to us to create a dedicated Vice-Rector’s portfolio for research and third mission to give a concrete name and form to our plans in this area,” Rupert Sausgruber explains.

Further priorities and challenges

Other strategic goals of the new Rector’s Council include measures for increasing academic activity levels among WU’s students, strengthening entrepreneurship, developing a comprehensive sustainability concept to turn WU into a climate-neutral university, and continuing on the path of digital transformation. “WU has a highly dedicated workforce in research, teaching, and administration. Together with my team, I’m looking forward to working closely with the members of the WU community to develop our university further in the coming years. Our main challenges will include the 2024 budget negotiations with the federal government and the Performance Agreement negotiations for the 2025–2027 period. Austria’s universities have recently been granted good resources for further development, but these resources were long overdue. Rampant inflation has now hit us hard, and our financial situation is precarious. Our financial situation is precarious, but we trust that the government wants to ensure that we can continue making positive steps forward,” says Rector Sausgruber.

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