http://uv-net.uio.no/wpmu/hedda/wp-content/themes/hedda/styles/blue/head-bg.jpgBy Philipp Friedrich. Much has changed in the last ten years since Austrian universities were reformed by the Universities Act 2002. The idea behind this law was to prepare Austrian universities for a global future where a changing environment forces universities to flexibly respond  to new developments and demands, where the international dimension of science becomes more and more important and where funding of education becomes unstable and unpredictable due to public spending cuts. How can the Austrian universities act and succeed under these circumstances? How will they be able to deal with issues like massification, the implementation of the Bologna reform, while simultaneously guaranteeing high quality and performance in research, teaching and learning?  Less political interference, economic benchmarks and university autonomy are seen as a possible solution to these challenges.
The most challenging issue in the recent years has been the massification at Austrian universities, especially through a growing number of foreign students. Austrian universities are attractive for (European) students because they do not increase tuition fees[1] in general and provide free choice and access to higher education.