Working Groups

The private universities are involved in various working groups (WGs) to push current challenges and developments in the sector across the universities. The following working groups are currently in place and others are being planned:

Data Protection

The working group of the ÖPUK promotes a competent and uniform appearance of the Austrian private universities in data protection matters, in particular vis-à-vis the Austrian data protection authority and AQ Austria. Contents include coordination between the private universities regarding the application of uniform standards in the interpretation of data protection issues, but also cooperation to contribute to the improvement of data protection framework conditions. Contents that are currently being worked on:

  • Necessary steps for the implementation and enforcement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and current (European and Austrian) data protection jurisprudence at private universities
  • Exchange of experience on procedural requirements in dealing with data subjects’ rights under the GDPR
  • Development of various documents, such as a data protection guideline – this is intended to provide students at private universities with assistance in dealing with data that is processed for theses. The contents presented in this guideline are to be understood as an orientation aid and are provided without guarantee (prepared in May 2021). In autumn 2021, an overview on the topic of retention periods was also prepared.


The working group deals, among other things, with questions of financing private universities, which are very heterogeneous due to the different legal entities; exchanges views on aspects of tax law, e.g. contract research, and coordinates with regard to aspects of labour law.

Research Management

The purpose of this working group is to provide a platform for professional support, sharing of best practices, knowledge and networking among the research support professionals of our member universities.

At the twice-a -year meetings current issues of the profession are discussed and stakeholders are invited to share information.

The ultimate goal is to enhance successful research proposals and projects at the private institutions for higher education, and to strengthen their presence in the Austrian research scene.

Equal Treatment

This central working group aims to promote diversity and inclusion in all Austrian private universities. The working group gives all private universities a common platform for exchange and mutual support regarding diversity, gender competence and inclusion in all relevant fields of action of universities and universities of applied sciences (research, teaching, management/governance, working culture/climate).

Higher Education Plan

The WG Higher Education Plan prepared the content of the ÖPUK statement on the “Strategic Positioning for Future Directions in Austrian Higher Education Policy” of November 2020, and is currently reviewing which points should be further discussed and demanded in the discussion on an all-Austrian higher education plan. The WG Higher Education Plan is concerned with a clear division of tasks between the types of institutions in the tertiary sector and the sharpening of profiles. The characteristics of the university and/or higher education institution, new since the transformation of the PUG into a PrivHG, the requirements for a change of the respective institution type within the overall structure are the focus of interest.


The Working Group Internationalisation is promoting and helping to advance the internalization of the private universities. International recruitment of faculty and students, academic networking and the exchange of best practice models in teaching and research serve, to constantly review and improve quality and contribute to raising the profile and reputation of Austria as an education location. In regular meetings, representatives of the private universities exchange views on the framework conditions and funding measures. Statements on strategies, laws and ordinances or amendment plans of the respective ministries are prepared (especially BMBWF, BMI, BMEIA). A subgroup of the working group is dedicated to the exchange of experience regarding student mobility (e.g. Erasmus+).

Marketing and Communication

The working group consists of the press and communication officers of all private universities. Within the framework of regular meetings, overarching PR concepts and events are planned and topics relevant to the press are discussed and implemented in order to inform the public about the private university sector.

Quality Management

The expert committee of ÖPUK serves the networking as well as the exchange of experience between the private universities on all questions of quality assurance. A special focus of its work is international market observation and comparative analysis on the subject and the implementation of innovative QM tools in the management processes of the domestic private universities. In addition, there is a regular exchange on current developments in university quality management and on experiences and best practice examples at the various private universities.


The objectives of the legal working group are:

  • Advising the ÖPUK and its committees in legal matters
  • Networking of the legal departments of the private universities and mutual assistance

This results in the following concrete tasks of the Legal Working Group:

  • Drafting and agreeing on statements on relevant amendments to laws or ordinances
  • Preparation/elaboration of legal opinions on higher education law/policy issues
  • Development of best practice models in (higher education, labour) law issues of general importance.
  • The Legal Affairs WG is not responsible for all data protection issues (subject to Data Protection WG).


The Working Group Sola supports the recurrent survey on the social situation of students in Austria initiated by the Minstry for Education, Science and Research. Members get together according to the periods of the survey. They supply input on the catalogue of questions submitted to the students, comment on the results and draft recommendations to the private sector based on those survey results.

Continuing Education

Goals of the working group are:

  • Positioning of the private universities with regard to continuing education
  • Achieving common rules for all higher education sectors in establishing continuing education programmes
  • Exchange of experience regarding continuing education across private universities
  • Coordination with other stakeholders (e.g. AQ Austria, BMBWF, etc.) as well as exchange with comparable organizational bodies in other higher education sectors
  • Cooperation with other WGs (e.g. WG Marketing, WG Quality Management)
  • Credit transfer possibilities and permeability with other studies (ECTS); credit transfer practice

Austrian Librarians

The committee focuses on the development of joint synergies for the procurement process and possible cooperation with publishers, as well as further development in the area of digitisation. The establishment of uniform and innovative recording systems for research documentation and plagiarism checks at private universities are further topics of the working group, as is the promotion of cooperation and knowledge exchange between librarians working at private universities.