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University sport

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

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 eight 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 the University of Klagenfurt (AAU) and the University for Continuing Education Krems.

List of university sports institutes:

  1. University Sports Department Vienna
  2. University Sports Department Graz (in German only)
  3. University Sports Department Innsbruck (in German only)
  4. University Sports Department Salzburg (in German only)
  5. University Sports Department JKU Linz
  6. University Sports Department Leoben (in German only)
  7. University Sports Department Klagenfurt
  8. University Sports Department Krems

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.

International cooperation

Austria is a founding member of the International University Sports Federation FISU (established in Meran 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
Chengdu 2023 FISU World University Games
6.600+ participants from 112 nations
18 different summer disciplines
34 students from 16 universities
1 world champion (gold medallist)
1 bronce medaillist
Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games
1.500 participants from 46 nations/ 540+ universities
12 different winter disciplines
22 students from 10 universities
3 world champion (gold medallist)
4 runners up (silver medallist)
1 bronce medallists 
placed 12 in the medal table
6th European Universities Games Lodz / Polen 2022
6.000+ participants from 47 nations / 950 universities
20 different disciplines
56 students from 8 universities
3 European champions (Gold medallists)
7 runners up (Silver medallists)
8 Bronce medallists
a total of 18 medals placed 12 in the medal table

Innsbruck 2022 FISU World University Championship Sport Climbing

The World University Championship in Sport Climbing took place in Innsbruck from 13-17 June 2022. A total of 120 athletes from 20 nations worldwide competed in the three disciplines of lead, boulder and speed.

The event was a cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research - Unisport Austria, the University of Innsbruck and Austria Climbing.

Within the framework of the World University Championship, several student projects were implemented with great success. In the accompanying course "Volunteer Programme" of the University of Innsbruck, 90 students were able to gain practical experience during the event in addition to the theoretical content. Together with the University of Art and Industrial Design, a student competition was organised for the design and production of the winning medals. The Mozarteum Salzburg organised the musical accompaniment at the Opening Ceremony and was able to gain professor Martin Grubinger and his students. The student group "Timbreroots" performed at the Closing Ceremony.

The World University Championship was also accompanied scientifically in the Research Seminar. Various aspects of social psychology, training and material sciences, biomechanical topics and therapeutic possibilities in sport climbing were examined.

At this home Student World Championships, Tobias Plangger (University of Innsbruck) won a gold medal and Lukas Knapp (MCI Management Center Innsbruck) a bronze medal in speed climbing for Austria.

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




Hemma Angerer
Department IV/4/UniSport
Minoritenplatz 5, 1010 Vienna
T +43 53120 5637