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Rector Seidler gives an account at the end of her term of office

Rector Sabine Seidler will step down as Rector of TU Wien (TUW) on 30 September 2023 after 12 years. A balance sheet.

Gruppenfoto Rektorat 2011-2023: Kurt Matyas, Anna Steiger, Sabine Seidler, Josef Eberhardsteiner, Johannes Fröhlich

© Raimund Appel

Raising the profile in research, reforming the study entry and orientation phases in teaching, positioning the TU Wien as an attractive employer and, last but not least, securing funding. These goals and more were set by mechanical engineering professor Sabine Seidler and her colleagues in the rectorate when she took office in 2011. From the beginning, she focused on strengthening cooperative partnerships with other universities, universities of applied sciences, industry and business, and non-university research institutions.

Successes despite crises

Sabine Seidler's three terms in office were marked by two veritable financial crises (2011, 2022), the COVID pandemic, debates on higher education policy that were both explosive and forward-looking, and intensive internal development processes. Seidler negotiated four performance agreements for the TUW with four science ministers. In addition, she served four times as President of the TU Association TU Austria and chaired the Austrian Universities Conference (uniko) from 2019 - 2023. The dozen TUW years under Rector Seidler's leadership are impressive:

Research and innovation

Over a period of 12 years, the TU Wien generated third-party funding revenues (according to intellectual capital reports) in the amount of 1 billion euros, which is made up of funds from the FWF, the FFG, the EU, the CDG and corporate cooperations. An appointment policy geared towards excellence and the promotion of excellent young researchers at the TUW have also been successful: since 2011, this has resulted in 1 Wittgenstein Prize, 20 FWF Start Awards, 55 ERC Grants and the establishment of 37 Christian Doppler Laboratories, 24 of which are currently active. The Rectorate's Excellence Programme, which serves, among other things, as an incentive for extraordinary research achievements by young researchers in temporary positions and is an attractor especially for female researchers, made 75 excellence positions possible - 39 of them for women. For the efficient use and strategic development of research infrastructures, high-end equipment and instruments were bundled in Core Facilities. This also includes the Cell Culture Core Facility, which is currently being set up in a new building on the Getreidemarkt campus.

Study and teaching

In the years 2011 - 2023, around 33,000 graduates graduated from TU Wien, 61 of whom obtained their doctorate Sub auspiciis Praesidentis rei publicae. The Rectorate succeeded in offering fair study conditions for students and the best possible working conditions for teachers with a large number of measures. These include the development of an effective and fair study entry and orientation phase, the mentoring programme for first-semester students, the the redesign of curricula in terms of studyability, or the offer of new fields of study such as environmental engineering. With the 2017 "Best Teaching Awards", TU Wien honours the remarkable achievements of TUW teachers, whose work forms the basis for the excellent reputation and worldwide success of TU graduates.

Infrastructure and digitalisation

The infrastructure development project "TU UniverCity", initiated in 2006, formed the 5 campus areas of the TU Wien and established them as part of the city. The creation of optimal conditions for research, teaching and administration and the spatial consolidation of the faculties, including the establishment of large-scale and specialised laboratories, as well as the identification of development areas, was a tour de force for the users of the buildings. The opening of the world's first plus-energy office tower, which aims to feed more energy into the power grid than is needed for the building's operation and use, marked a milestone in 2014. The establishment of the Centre for Micro- and Nanostructures (ZMNS) (2018) and the construction of a lowest-energy building (2020) next to the Atomic Institute are further examples of TU Wien's structural development. The TUW responded to the volatile processes of digital transformation by establishing the first vice rectorate for digitalisation at an Austrian university. Digitisation has been and continues to be an integral part of the entire university, from the concept of a digital campus, the development and establishment of distance learning and student self-service to the human resources sector, where, among other things, the electronic personnel file was established at an early stage.

Gender and Diversity

With the establishment of the Vice Rectorate for Human Resources and Gender in 2011, a reorientation of human resources management including human resources planning and controlling took place at the TUW. The professionalisation of reporting (including "gender monitoring") had an effect and the establishment of the area of personnel development and workplace health promotion made a significant contribution to improving the working environment at TU Wien. The topic of "New Work", i.e. flexibilisation of working hours and location as well as homeworking (since 2013), was a fixed component of the rectorate's strategic planning. This is also reflected in the TUW's multiple awards as a family-friendly company.

No melancholy, lots of joy

The past twelve years were not only working years, but also provided an occasion to celebrate anniversaries. The TU Wien celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2015 under the motto "Future Celebrates Anniversary". In the anniversary year, the balance sheet result, the increase in third-party funding, publications and patents, and TUW's 67th place as the only Austrian university among "Europe's Most Innovative Universities" gave cause for celebration. During the anniversary year 2015, TU Wien also completed its first quality audit and received certification of its quality management system (QMS) in March 2016. In 2019, TU Wien celebrated "100 years of women's studies", because it was not until 1919 that the university's lecture hall doors opened to women.

"All these successes would not have been possible without the participation of the staff and students of TU Wien, the constructive and solution-oriented discussion culture that we cultivate. Therefore, our thanks go to all employees and students. We are convinced that TU Wien will continue on its successful path," summarises Rector Sabine Seidler.

Enquiries and interview requests:

Bettina Neunteufl
TU Wien
Press spokeswoman
M: +43 664 484 50 28