The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is responsible for the management of university sport across Austria. This includes Austrian universities’ participation in international university sport and the coordination of university sport at national level, which are administered by Unisport Austria.
Unisport Austria is the organisation which takes responsibility for the overall management of university sports and Austrian universities’ participation in international competitions, plus the coordination of university sport at national level, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). Its mission includes establishing university sport as a corporate sports programme run jointly with the universities, as well as organising and running Unisport Austria championships and sending student competitors to international student sporting events.
The long tradition of university sport in Austria
University sport was first established in Austria at Vienna University in 1848 (by order of the Kaiser), and has continued ever since: this is one of the longest traditions of university sport in the world. The current legal provisions on university sport can be found in Section 40 of the Universities Act (UG 2002), and seven University Sports Institutes (USI) have been established to provide courses to all universities within their catchment areas.
The universities which fulfil this legal obligation are the University of Vienna, the University of Graz, the University of Innsbruck, the University of Salzburg, Linz University (JKU Linz), the Montanuniversität Leoben and the University of Klagenfurt (AAU).
List of university sports institutes:
- University Sports Department Vienna
- University Sports Department Graz (in German only)
- University Sports Department Innsbruck (in German only)
- University Sports Department Salzburg (in German only)
- University SPORTS Department JKU Linz
- University Sports Department Leoben (in German only)
- University Sports Department Klagenfurt
The University Sports Departments provide over 5,500 courses in over 70 established sports and countless other physical activities. They serve over 140,000 participants every year. Students and employees at all higher education establishments can participate in their courses. The University Sports Departments normally also allow graduates to participate (at a higher cost).
Some universities of applied sciences also operate their own sports facilities.
Austria is a founding member of the International University Sports Federation FISU (established in Prague in 1949, 180 member countries) and the European University Sports Association EUSA (established in Vienna in 1999, 45 member countries). Dr Hemma Angerer is Austria’s representative in both organisations.
As part of these memberships, the BMBWF facilitates student participation in the following competitions:
- The European Universities Championships in up to 23 different sports
- The European University Games
- The World University Championships in up to 60 different sports
- The Universiade (= World University Games), and
- Other international student sporting competitions.
Students in Austria regularly achieve great success while representing their university or establishment at these events. Here are some examples:
|Multi-sports event||Austrian participation|
|30th Summeruniversiade Neapel / Italien 2019
6.600+ participants from 112 nations
18 different disciplines
|41 students from 19 universities
1 world champion (Gold medallist)
2 runners-up (Silver medallists)
|29th Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia 2019
3,000+ participants from 58 nations
11 different disciplines
|25 students from 11 universities
3 world champions (Gold medallists)
3 runners-up (Silver medallists)
Placed 4th in the medal table
|4th European University Games Coimbra, Portugal 2018
4,000+ participants from 40 nations / 350 universities
13 different disciplines
|82 students from 8 universities
2 European champions (Gold medallists)
2 runners-up (Silver medallists)
The aims of sport in higher education
University sport is part of BMBWF’s educational remit.
- It raises awareness of universities’ involvement in society (Third Mission - in German only)
- It helps students’ personal development
- It promotes health management and healthy living among students and university employees
- It promotes health education through university sport as a means of compensating for high stress factors
- It helps participants to integrate and build networks of contacts
- For more information about Unisport Austria’s various activities (in German only).
- International University Sports Federation FISU
- European University Sports Association EUSA
Department I/7 – School and University Sport
T +43 53120 5637