Team of the Month 01/2019: Performance Agreement Task Force

The Universities Act 2002 requires all 22 public universities in Austria to conclude three-year Performance Agreements with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. The universities’ targets and budgetary framework are then based on these agreements for the three-year Performance Agreement period. The contractual agreements to be made between the universities and the ministry are drafted and developed in a comprehensive, step-by-step process. The 2019-2021 period will continue to focus on the university’s responsibilities to society and includes new impulses in teaching and research.

The first Performance Agreement after introduction of the amended university funding legislation was particularly challenging. A Performance Agreement Task Force was created to provide the Rector’s Council with optimal support during this process. The interdisciplinary Task Force, made up of members from a variety of different WU service units, namely Stefanie Errath, Martina Köscher, and Christina Kasess from the Rector’s Office, Georg Hanke from the Personnel Office, Markus Schelenz from Academic Controlling, and Katja Hornivius from the Financial Control Office, went over each and every step of the process and worked with the Rector’s Council all the way from the first drafts through to the preparations for the negotiations with the ministry.

The Task Force had one year’s time to familiarize themselves with the requirements for the new Performance Agreement in detail, in order to be able to support the Rector’s Council in its decision-making process. Key challenges included taking the new logic of the amended university funding regulations into account, making sample calculations, walking through a selection of what-ifs and different scenarios, and providing the Rector’s Council with suitable suggestions. “Our different approaches and areas of expertise were definitely a strength in the end,” says the team.

“What we appreciated most was the fact that we could always depend on each other. Every member of the team was always willing to have a look at and review the other members’ work, and on the other hand, constructive suggestions were always welcomed. That made it really enjoyable to work together,” the team agrees.

The team’s hard work paid off on November 12, 2018, after the Rector’s Council successfully concluded the negotiations with the ministry. They all have every right to be proud of their achievement.