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Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (IDSA) – A new, innovative University of Technology for Digitalisation and Digital Transformation in Austria
 

Digitalisation is transforming all areas of life at an unprecedented speed. The establishment of the new interdisciplinary Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (IDSA) in Linz will contribute to securing Austria's digital competitiveness by training practice-oriented and innovative digitalisation experts who ensure that the digital transformation is designed to the benefit of all and according to democratic values.

IDSA: Genesis and concept

In summer 2020, the Austrian government announced the founding of a new technical university as a flagship project of digitalization in Austria. Subsequently, a scientific concept (PDF, 472 KB) with detailed considerations for the structure of the new university was devised by an independent scientific concept group under the chairmanship of the IT-expert and former google-manager Gerhard Eschelbeck.

Based on the final, 71 pages concept-report, the university will (amongst other):

  • cover all aspects of digitalization, encompassing both the development of technical solutions and technological impact assessment by adopting an interdisciplinary approach in research and teaching
  • offer a “common core" for all bachelor students in which they learn the (technical) basics of digitalisation in the first three semesters, with the possibility to later specialize in either Digital Creativity, Digital Entrepreneurship, Digital Systems or Digital Engineering
  • be practice-oriented by design, by adopting a project-based teaching and research approach in “interdisciplinary labs” and by hosting regular events, thereby acting as a central hub for the exchange with business, industry and society, including NGOs or cultural institutions like Ars Electronica
  • strive for excellency and internationality with English as the working language
  • offer a more flexible legal framework and agile forms of organisation which will allow the IDSA to rapidly adapt to the constantly changing requirements of digital transformation

IDSA: Founding process

On the 1st of July 2022 the Federal Act on the establishment of the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (the Founding Act), the legal basis for the foundation of the Institute, entered into force.

IDSA: Founding Process

The first step was the appointment of the constituent convention, the strategic body of the University in the founding phase (§ 6 of the Founding Act), by the BMBWF. Two of its members were recommended by the Province of Upper Austria, three by the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), two by the Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), one by the FWF - the Austrian Science Fund - and one by the FFG, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency. Its member are:

  1. Dipl.-Ing. Christopher Lindinger, MAS – Vice-Rector for Innovation and Researchers at the University of Linz (BMK)
  2. DI Katja Schechtner, MSc - Member of the AIT supervisory board (BMK)
  3. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Helmut Fallmann – CEO of Fabasoft AG (Upper Austria)
  4. Dr. Christina Rami-Mark - Managing Director of Mark Metallwarenfabrik GmbH (Upper Austria)
  5. Dipl.-Ing. Claudia von der Linden, MBA (IMD) – Vice Rector for Digitalisation and Change Management at TU Graz (FFG)
  6. Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller – Professor for Informatics in the unit for Communication Systems and Systems Programming at LMU Munich (FWF)
  7. Dr. Gerald Bast – Rector of the University of Applied Arts (BMBWF)
  8. Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Martin Hitz – Deputy chairman of the Department of Informatics Systems at the University of Klagenfurt (BMBWF)
  9. Ass.Prof. DI Dr. Johanna Pirker - Assistant professor, software engineer, and researcher at the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science at Graz University of Technology (BMBWF)

IDSA: Founding president – call for applications until 24th of october

The founding president (§ 8 of the Founding Act) will be appointed by decision of the constituent convention by simple majority for a term of four years. It will lead and represents the University externally and will be responsible for tasks such as preparing the operating business of the University, concluding employment and service contracts, or establishing the GmbH in accordance with § 10 of the founding act.

The call for application is currently open

Applications are open until Monday, 24th of october 2022 and are to be addressed to alandgrebe@boyden.com. For further details, see the call for application. (PDF, 75 KB)

IDSA: Next steps

Together, the Constituent Convention and the Founding President, with the support of the advisory board, will establish teaching and research facilities and recruit research and teaching staff.

  • The first PhD students are to be admitted by the academic year of 2023/24.
  • By the year 2030/31 the further schedule stipulates for the university to have around 5000 students and about 150 professors by 2036/37.

IDSA: Financial framework

The cost of the IDSA will be shared between the Austrian Federal government and  the province of Upper Austria from the academic year 2023/24 via a so-called 15a agreement. The financial contribution of Upper Austria comprises 50 per cent of the construction costs of new buildings required for the purposes of the university, including the associated ancillary and external facilities. The Federal government provides the permanent financing of all obligations arising in research and teaching. For the foundation phase until 2025, 45 million euros are reserved. At its full expansion in 2036/37, the university shall have a yearly budget of 150 million euros allowing for excellent research, teaching and infrastructure.

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