Universities warn: it's all or nothing


The explosion in costs for energy, rents and staff is tearing a huge hole in the universities' budgets.

uniko President Sabine Seidler described the universities' financial plight as “dramatic”. According to current calculations, the universities expect a shortfall of around 1.2 billion euros for the current performance agreement period (2022-2024). An amount of this magnitude - despite all efforts - cannot possibly be offset by internal savings and would bring serious damage to the entire system, the Austrian universities warn. Without these financial resources, there is a threat of massive cuts that would have serious consequences not only for research and teaching:

  • Cutbacks in central service areas (research, teaching, staff).

  • Savings at the expense of the young generation: poorer supervision conditions and employment opportunities for students and doctoral candidates

  • Labour shortage: pedagogical, medical and technical staff will not be available or trained in time.

  • Science and business locations in danger (“brain drain”), deterioration of the international reputation; participation in national and international tenders is at risk.

What is needed?

The Dean of WU, Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, warns: “The additional demand of 1.2 billion euros serves to maintain the status quo, otherwise there is a threat of cutbacks, especially in personnel. Especially the latter would be fatal in view of the already poor supervision conditions at WU in international comparison and would undo the successes of recent years. Universities bring much more than they cost, because they are large employers, train highly qualified workers and provide answers to urgent social questions with their research. We demand a concession from the government to secure Austria's universities in these difficult times. Savings and regression, especially at the expense of the young generation, would be momentous.”

In order to secure teaching and research in Austria and prevent drastic cutbacks in key service areas, the universities therefore need additional funding of around 1.2 billion euros for the years 2022 to 2024 - an investment in the future that benefits society as a whole:

  • Positive value-added balance: every euro invested in science, research and education pays for itself many times over.

  • Universities as employers: More than 63,000 people are currently employed at Austrian universities. This makes universities - depending on the province - among the largest employers.

  • Universities as training institutions: Universities train highly qualified workers who are urgently needed in many industries. This makes them a critical factor for the future competitiveness of the country.

  • Universities as innovation laboratories: With their research activities, universities make concrete contributions to solving current social and political issues (climate change, energy crisis, Corona pandemic, etc.). Numerous examples at: or

  • Positive development in current rankings: investments and efforts of recent years bear fruit.

More information (in German):

Back to overview