Founded in 1996 with 60 students and one study programme, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences has developed over the past 20 years into a significant educational institution. Today more than 2,600 students are being trained in a total of 17 study programmes and numerous continuing education courses. In addition, St. Pölten UAS is now one of the strongest research universities in Austria.
This successful journey was recently celebrated at a ceremony in the grand festival hall of the university with approximately 350 guests including many guests of honour: such as, Mag. Johanna Mikl-Leitner representing the governor of Lower Austria, Department Head Elmar Pichl of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and St. Pölten Mayor Mag. Matthias Stadler.
Copyright: Josef Vorlaufer
In September 1996 St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences with at that time the only study programme "Telecommunications and Media", began operations in Herzogenburger Straße: a milestone in the Lower Austrian educational landscape.
Over the years a steady growth followed, and in 2007 UAS moved to the new campus in Matthias Corvinus-Straße. From that time on, the then 1,400 students were trained in state-of-the-art equipped laboratories and lecture halls. To date the number of students has increased to more than 2,600. In addition, the range of courses has been steadily expanded to a total of 17 bachelor and master programmes and numerous continuing education courses.
Copyright: Josef Vorlaufer
At the ceremony this successful development was celebrated together with guests of honour, cooperation partners, employees and graduates. The welcoming addresses were given by UAS Executive Directors Gabriela Fernandes and Gernot Kohl, who offered thanks in particular to the many supporters and companions for the continuous positive development of the university.
"St. Pölten UAS has grown steadily over the first 20 years and has developed itself very successfully. It has become an important educational and research institution. Of this we are very proud. We are a dynamic university with an innovative training program that is strongly oriented to the needs of the labour market. In the area of innovative teaching methods, we are today pioneers in the German speaking world", said UAS Executive Director Gernot Kohl.
"Moreover, today St. Pölten UAS is one of the strongest research universities in Austria. Our research revenue has risen sharply over the years. In addition, we have continuously internationalized the research, interwoven it in an interdisciplinary manner and networked it with the domestic research landscape ", said UAS Executive Director Gabriela Fernandes.
Henrietta Egerth, Executive Director of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) delivered the keynote of the evening on the theme "Success Factor Innovation - what contribution do universities provide?"
Panel discussion "Incubator University: From Project to Start-up?"
In a panel discussion, experts analysed the importance of universities in business start-ups. Panelists included: Josef Bruckschlögl, Executive Director of kwak-telecom and graduate of St. Pölten UAS; Helmut Miernicki, Executive Director of the business agency ecoplus; Hannes Raffaseder, Authorised Signatory and Head of Research and Knowledge Transfer at St. Pölten UAS; Thomas Salzer, President of the Federation of Austrian Industries Lower Austria and Max Schlereth, real estate entrepreneur and Lecturer at St. Pölten UAS.
Presentation of innovative start-up projects
After an introduction by Doris Agneter Executive Director of tecnet equity, three teams from the "creative pre-incubator" presented their business ideas on stage. The "creative pre-incubator" is the start-up support programme at St. Pölten UAS in cooperation with the "accent Gründerservice" and has supported students as well as graduates with business formation since 2014.
The following start-ups at the 20-year-ceremony had the opportunity to present their business ideas: "MotEx", a virtual reality driving simulator which should enable a higher quality and more advanced driver training; "physiobox", a mobile management and documentation multitool for physiotherapists and related professions and "city birds", a travel-app for urban and cosmopolitan travellers with similar interests.
In the Innovation Lounge in the auditorium of the university, guests then had the opportunity to learn about different projects of the research institutes at St. Pölten UAS.
The successful growth of St. Pölten UAS in recent years is paving the way for an equally successful future. An increase in the number of students is anchored in the strategy of the university. Thus, the space requirement will increase in the coming years, which is why an annexe to the existing university campus is being planned. By the winter semester 2019 the expansion should be completed.
"We are looking very positively into the future. With the expansion of our UAS buildings, we will create in the years to come a modern 'campus of the future ', which should become a flagship campus in terms of innovative teaching and learning spaces as well as jobs", according to UAS Executive Directors Gernot Kohl and Gabriela Fernandes.