University of Vienna

Process of Development Planning

Development Planning since 2015

The University of Vienna published its first Development Plan in 2005. This was the first time, in its 650-year history, that the University of Vienna presented a university-wide strategy paper.

On the basis of the Development Plan and the target agreements, the Rectorate of the University of Vienna prepares a draft for the performance agreement. This draft is approved by the University Board, while the Senate can provide an opinion. The performance agreement concluded with the Federal Ministry, in turn, ensures planning certainty with regard to the financial means available to the University for the following three years.

Steps in the Development Planning Process from 2004 to 2017


  • July: Announcing the principles of the development planning process
    After discussions with the deans, the Austrian National Union of Students, the employment committees, the Senate as well as the University Board, the Rectorate announces the “principles of development planning”.
  • Second half of 2004: Preparing questions and data for the faculties' development planning process.
    The faculties and centres are requested to prepare proposals for the development planning process under the supervision of the deans and heads of the centres and with the participation of staff members and students' representatives. The proposals should take into account the range of opinions within the faculty or centre.


  • January: The Rectorate collects all the results of the papers that were prepared by the faculties and centres and incorporates them into the university-wide Development Plan that is submitted to the Senate that has to provide its opinion.
  • The key purpose of the Development Plan is the definition of guiding principles in research and teaching: further improvements in teaching, specification of key research areas and subject dedication of professorships. 
  • 1 July: Following unanimous consent by the Senate, the University Board unanimously approves the Development Plan of the University of Vienna. The Development Plan is the benchmark for monitoring the realisation of the goals that have been defined for the upcoming years.


The development planning is carried out on a rolling basis. A planning horizon of several years also makes it possible to systematically pursue long-terms goals. Every year or every one and a half years, there is a review and, if necessary, an adjustment of the development planning process at the faculty/centre level as well as at the university level and, in particular, the subject dedication of professorships that will be advertised, whereas "minor" and "major" revisions have occurred on an alternating basis. The revisions were approved by the University Board on 28 April 2006, 14 March 2008 and 29 April 2009. The approval of 2009 was an integral part of the preparations for the target agreements for the years 2010 to 2012.
On 4 March 2011 the University Board approved another "minor" revision of the Development Plan that involved adjustments with regard to the subject dedication of professorships that will be advertised. 


The Rectorate led by Heinz W. Engl commenced work on 1 October 2011, with a key focus on development planning right from the start. The Rectorate compiled the draft of the Development Plan in close consultation with the faculties and centres. Thus, the target agreements concluded with the faculties in 2012 were devoted to the issue of development planning. The Development Plan of the University of Vienna, in addition to the sections addressing the faculties and centres, contains the University's objectives in the field of research and teaching up to the year 2015. The Rectorate drafted them simultaneously and compiled one proposal for the Development Plan on the basis of these individual parts. The University Board approved the document on 27 January 2012. The approved Development Plan formed the basis for the performance agreement concluded with the Federal Government for the years 2013 to 2015.


On 8 November 2013 the University Board approved another "minor" revision of the Development Plan that provides for specific adjustments regarding the range of master's programmes and determines the subject dedication of individual professorships.


The process associated with the compilation of the Development Plan already started at the turn of the year 2013/2014 with the monitoring talks for the year 2014 conducted between the heads of the faculties/centres, the faculty/centre conferences and the Rectorate. Following the planning activities within the Rectorate, which were carried out in the summer semester, coordination discussions between the Rector and the heads of the faculties and centres took place over the summer months of 2014. Moreover, discussions were held at the faculties and centres, sometimes also involving the scientific advisory boards of the faculties and centres.

On 18 November 2014 the Rectorate finished the draft of the Development Plan “University of Vienna 2020” and forwarded it to the Senate for its opinion. In accordance with the applicable legislation, the Senate has two months to read the Development Plan. The University Board finally approves the Development Plan. The approval was granted on 23 January 2015.

The Development Plan “University of Vienna 2020” formed the basis for preparing the draft of the performance agreement for the years 2016 to 2018 that was negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy in 2015.


In another "minor" revision of the Development Plan, approved by the University Board on 28 October 2016, the University of Vienna specified the number of professor positions pursuant to section 99 para. 4 of the Universities Act 2002 and introduced further minor adaptations to the Development Plan.


Development planning started in November 2016 with reports by the Faculties on the performance of their key research areas. These reports were transmitted to the rectorate and to the faculty conference. The rectorate gave feedback on these reports. Based on initial proposals by the Faculties and Centres and following several consultations, including consultations in the context of the monitoring talks between the rectorate, the deans and the faculty conferences, the rectorate compiled one proposal for the Development Plan on the basis of these individual parts. The rectorate presented this proposal to the senate by the end of September, 2017. Following approval by the senate on 23 November 2017, the university board unanimously granted approval on 15 December 2017.