3 min

St. Pölten UAS becomes a European University

Huge Success in the European Excellence Programme for Higher Education Institutions

St. Pölten UAS becomes a European University
Copyright: Martin Lifka Photography

The St. Pölten UAS is the first Austrian higher education institution to head a European University. These transnational alliances are part of the European Union’s flagship initiative to establish and expand the European Education Area. European Universities shape the universities of the future, promote European values and European identity, and revolutionise the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.

The St. Pölten UAS, in partnership with the Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal in Portugal, the Polytechnical University Timisoara in Rumania, the Szent Istvan University Gödöllö in Hungary, the UC Leuven Limburg in Belgium and the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences in Latvia, proposed the joint concept “E³UDRES² - the Engaged and Entrepreneurial European University as Driver for European Smart and Sustainable Regions”. On the basis of the assessment of international experts, the EU Commission selected 24 new European University Alliances out of the 62 applications received. Within the next three years, E³UDRES² will be awarded around five million euros, around 1.1 million euros of which will go to the St. Pölten UAS. The project aims to develop and implement innovative cooperation projects in research, teaching, knowledge transformation and innovation with the involvement of society and in close collaboration with partners from the economy.

First Austrian Higher Education Institution to Head a European University

The St. Pölten UAS is among the first European universities of applied sciences to join the European University initiative and the first Austria higher education institution to head one of the 41 European Universities. “Our success in this excellence programme of the European Commission represents a great opportunity for the St. Pölten UAS and for Austria as a location for higher education, and strengthens our position as an innovative university of applied sciences with close ties to society and the economy. I am particularly honoured by the trust placed in the St. Pölten UAS to be the first Austrian university of applied sciences to head a European University”, says Hannes Raffaseder, Member of the St. Pölten UAS’ Executive Board and designated Head of the new European University. “At the same time, it is a mission that brings great responsibility and creates an incentive to consistently pursue our path”, says Raffaseder.

Regional – European

Under the slogan “Regional solutions with a European perspective“ E³UDRES² aims to further intensify research and knowledge transfer between these higher education institutions and countries, develop and test new concepts for learning and teaching of the future, and support student and staff mobility as of autumn 2020.

The programme seeks to substantially strengthen regional innovation systems, make important contributions to the digital, environmental and sustainable transformation of small and medium-sizes cities and rural areas to “smart and sustainable regions” to increase the life quality and promote the diversity of European regions in light of the competition from large metropoles and international centres of innovation.

“Large universities are usually located in urban areas. At the same time, the European regions have enormous potential for innovation. Small and medium-sized higher education institutions are usually deeply rooted in their local community and are therefore able to quickly react to current developments in society and the economy. We want to exploit this potential more intensively in the future. To this end, we develop methods, formats and contents to further flexibility and digitalisation at our institutions and to rapidly accelerate the necessary transformation to future-oriented higher education institutions. As European University, we now have plenty of opportunities”, says Raffaseder.

European University Initiative

Diverse social transformations, climate change, rapid technological advancement and economic challenges, and, not least the current pandemic call on higher education institutions to undergo transformation as quick as possible to fulfil a central role in tackling the large challenges society is facing and be able to provide answers to urgent questions, in addition to their core mission of teaching, research and innovation. For this purpose, European universities bring together a new generation of creative Europeans to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines.

The European University initiative was launched in 2017 as part of the Erasmus+ Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport. The initiative aims to promote bottom-up networks of universities (of applied sciences) to make European higher educational institutions more competitive internationally. In two calls, 41 projects involving around 180 European higher education institutions were selected.

Congratulations from the Provincial Government of Lower Austria and the City Administration of St. Pölten

“It fills me with pride that the St. Pölten UAS will be the first university of applied sciences in Austria to take the lead of a European University. This is truly another milestone in the extremely successful history of our local university. We wish the St. Pölten UAS all the best for this project and will definitely watch the results with keen interest. This great success will certainly help to improve the international standing of Lower Austria as a place of higher education even further.  For the St. Pölten UAS, the European University will bring enormous opportunities, and it emphasises the institution’s leading role as a partner of the industry and society”, emphasises Johanna Mikl-Leitner, State Governor of Lower Austria.

“This outstanding success means that the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences can once more expand its reputation as a university of applied sciences with outstanding teaching – not only in Austria but far beyond the national borders as well. Located at the heart of Europe, the St. Pölten UAS combines future-oriented education possibilities with unique know-how and takes the right steps to overcome the challenges of the future”, says Mayor Matthias Stadler who is obviously pleased with the positive development of the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences.


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FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Raffaseder Hannes

FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Hannes Raffaseder

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)