With the current amendment to the Universities of Applied Sciences Act (FHG), a number of innovations were implemented that are of great importance for the future development of universities of applied sciences. In particular, the introduction of the option to use the designation "University of Applied Sciences" (HAW for short) in future was an important step that came at the right time. Today, universities of applied sciences are broad-based academic institutions that can no longer be reduced to one "subject", but instead cover a wide range of topics in research and teaching. Alongside public universities, they are the second largest higher education sector in Austria in terms of research and the number of university students and graduates.

"We welcome this new designation. At the same time, we regret that the logical step of finally giving universities of applied sciences the opportunity to submit doctorates for accreditation was not taken. There are no logical reasons for this. On the contrary: there is no way around the accreditation of doctorates at universities of applied sciences if you want to remain competitive in science and research. As universities, we cannot meet the high demand for research services from industry and society if we are not allowed to train researchers ourselves as part of doctoral programmes. As universities, this is part of our work with young talent and careers, which generates a high output for society," says FHK President Ulrike Prommer. Looking abroad, she adds: "We are losing valuable time here in Austria, as more and more European countries, above all Germany, are allowing their universities of applied sciences to offer doctoral programmes. Politicians in Austria are now called upon to act quickly and finally utilise this unused potential. A doctorate at universities of applied sciences would be a simple way to strengthen Austria as a centre of science and business!"

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