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Austrian universities hit by efficiency drive

The Austrian science ministry has asked university rectors to come up with a plan to shave €300 million from their expenditure.

In a letter sent to institutions, the ministry promised universities that they would receive more funding for research over the next three years if they were able to come up with ways to save money by mid-May. As part of the savings plan, the ministry suggests a series of “efficiency improvements” including reducing phone and electricity bills, cutting down personnel costs and renegotiating staff’s pension fund contributions.

Austrian rectors met on 28 April to discuss the request. Speaking to the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, the rector of the University of Salzburg Heinrich Schmidinger said that the government needed to provide greater clarity on the process. As it stands, universities would have to undertake a significant amount of "guesswork" to determine how much and where the cuts were needed, he said.

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