Research power along the Danube

Confluence of Sava river and Danube in Belgrade (c) Wikipedia


Between its source in the Black Forest and its mouth on the Black Sea, the Danube traverses 2,872 kilometres and shares shores with ten countries. The Danube Rectors' Conference (DRC) is a strong network of almost 70 universities in this region. Our aim is to improve higher education in teaching and research, and the advancement of our member universities by establishing sustainable contacts.


The DRC is Affiliate member of the European University Association (EUA)

© European Union, ECDC
© European Union, ECDC


We are experiencing extraordinary and difficult times. All European countries and their institutions, including universities, are currently tackling with the spread of the COVID-19 disease.


How are the DRC member universities responding to the current challenging situation? They share with us their experience, know-how and good practices regarding distance learning and E-learning. Click here for more information on the measures introduced at the universities.


News from our network

See below the latest news and browse in our archive.


For news from our Presidency, please click here.

Danubius Young Scientist Award 2021: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS!

In 2021, for the eight time, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBFW) and the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM) honour young researchers with extraordinary achievements in their scientific activity and output in relation to the Danube Region with the
Danubius Young Scientist Award 2021


This award will be granted to 14 young scientists - one from each country (citizenship is crucial) that is part of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Romania and Ukraine).


The award will be endowed with 1.350 EUR for each winner of the Danubius Young Scientist Award.

It is expected that the award ceremony will take place in October/November 2021. The details will be announced in due time.

Moreover, thanks to the ongoing kind support by the JRC, the awardees will be invited by the European Commission´s Joint Research Centre to visit the JRC in Ispra, Italy in 2022.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, 30th April 2021 at 23:59.

More information on the award criteria, submission of documents as well as selection process can be found in the official Call for Applications below or on the IDM website.

Call for applications - Danubius Young Scientist Award
DYSA_2021_Call_for_nominations (1).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 485.3 KB

OeAD Summer Universities Scholarships



The Green Building Solution - GBS Summer University is back online from July 17 to August 08, 2021, for its 11th edition! Here is an opportunity to get first-hand ecological knowledge and engineering expertise in a three-week program, hosted from the capital of energy-efficient building, Vienna.





Participants will earn 7 ECTS university credits while learning about sustainable buildings in an intercultural environment. They will also benefit from the insight of experts from various background. Those will share the latest developments from research and practice in ecological building. Especially during these challenging times, we must develop knowledge on sustainable buildings, passive houses and renewable energies to an ever expanding international audience of students and professionals.


This year, the program includes:

  • Inspiring talks about sustainable architecture, ecological building alternatives, passive house technologies, renewable energy production and integrated urban planning
  • Virtual onsite tours demonstrating Vienna’s best practices in low energy housing
  • Engaging building simulation workshops
  • Interdisciplinary real life case study project work in international groups with dedicated tutorship
  • Certificate of 7 ECTS and the modules of the curriculum after a successful completion

This summer university is carried out by the OeAD student housing, the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, and TU Vienna.


Applications for the scholarships possible until May 1, 2021. Registration to the summer university can be done here.




OEAD is also hosting a unique online summer school on the economy of the future, the Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems summer school, from July 19, 2021 to August 6, 2021


Do you want to explore different approaches and new ideas with regards to the current growth-based economy and unstable financial system? The AEMS will be back in an upgraded online version in 2021 to discuss alternative approaches! AEMS focuses on ways to restructure economic systems to embody sustainable use of resources and a more collaborative society overall.




At AEMS you learn about:

  • Ecological sustainability, population growth and the long-term management of natural resources and energy.
  • The variety of alternative economic and monetary systems that are already in practice worldwide.
  • Business ethics, consumerism, solidarity and the common good: The need for a new philosophy.

This year, the AEMS 2021 program will include exciting lectures and exchanges on:

  • Financial markets serving the broader interests of society 
  • The solutions to the financial crisis triggered by COVID-19
  • The alternatives to the current economic and monetary system
  • The role of economic and financial systems in the global climate crisis

With this summer school, you can get an official certificate worth 5 ECTS from BOKU University upon completion of the program. The summer school is organised by the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Economy for the Common Good, and OeAD student housing.


Applications for the scholarships possible until May 1, 2021. Registration can be done here.

DRC Presidency congratulates EUA on its 20th Anniversary

The DRC Presidency, on behalf of the Danube Rectors’ Conference, would like to express the most sincere congratulations to the European University Association (EUA) for the 20th Anniversary from the year when the two rectors’ conferences of that time, the European Rectors’ Conference and the European Union Rectors’ Conference, merged to the present European University Association.


As an associated member, the Danube Rectors’ Conference is especially interested to discuss co-relations between regional and European wide topics and to assure the holistic approach to our common challenges, as regional and local topics constantly become European wide issues sooner or later.


We see the most value of EUA to be a place for the exchange of views and discussion, a link of individual topics and common larger scaled issues, a union of higher education institutions and their national or regional representations for the realisation of the Magna Charta Universitatum.


In this connection, Danube Rectors’ Conference shares EUA values regarding UN SDGs with emphasis on knowledge-based society, respect for regional diversity and inclusion.


We believe that EUA shall continue to defend and foster these values and be the voice of its members in front of not only EU policymakers, but also globally towards other higher education areas, where these values might be considered differently or might even not be in the foreground. The actual topics of resilience, digital transformation, and especially foresight of the future challenges for the EHEA and ERA will be very welcome. In this aspect, we are also interested to see how in the future EU Programmes, macro-regional topics may be integrated into central EU Programmes to a certain extent. Especially cohesion policy is challenged, as in the past, differences between regions have increased, not decreased as was hoped for.


For the 20th anniversary of EUA, we therefore wish for prosperity and deepening of the relations among the members and, of course, health to all of us.

DRC Presidency

Introduction of the new DRC President Rector Prof. Zdravko Kačič

We are pleased to introduce you the new DRC PresidentProf. Dr. Zdravko Kačič, Rector of the University of Maribor, Slovenia, as he shares his first words since he assumed the charge on the 1st of January. Let's discover more about our new President and his vision for the role of the DRC in the region!


Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič was born in 1961 in Maribor. He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 1986, the M. Sc. Degree in 1989 and the Dr. Sci. Degree in 1992, all from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, Slovenia.


He is currently a full professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor and head of the Laboratory for Digital Signal Processing. He gives courses at undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. Up to the present, he was the supervisor of 17 doctoral students. His current research interests encompass digital signal processing, speech processing and analysis, speech recognition and synthesis, audio-visual content processing, and development of automated and content based initiated communication services in the framework of IP television, ambient intelligence and supportive living environments.


His bibliography includes 634 units, from which he authored or co-authored 97 articles published in scientific journals, 45 of them published in journals with impact factor. He is the author or co-author of 190 articles published in the proceedings of national or international scientific conferences. He is the author of two textbooks, co-author of eleven chapters in scientific monographs, co-author of scientific monography published by an international publisher, and author or co-author of four patent applications. He was guest editor of the journal International Journal of speech technology, New York: Springer Verlag, and from 2003 member of the same journal's editorial board. In years from 1994 to 2007, he was editor or co-editor of fifteen international workshops' proceedings Advances in speech technology. In the last ten years, he was several times a member of the scientific committee of international conferences from the field of speech and language technologies – Language resources and Evaluation and Interspeech, the latter being organized by the International Speech Community Association – ISCA.


In 2019 he was general co-chair of the international conference Interspeech, held in Graz. In the last five years, he served as peer-reviewer for international journals like Journal of Sensors, Journal of Engineering applications of artificial intelligence, Journal of Digital Signal Processing, and International Journal of Speech Technology. He had invited lectures at different universities in Germany, Spain, Croatia, and Sweden. He was visiting professor at the University of Umea, Sweden, a guest researcher at the University of Technology Berlin, Germany and two times at the University of Technology Munich, Germany.


From 2010 to 2014, he was a member of the COST Domain Committee for Information and Communication Technologies (DC ICT). In 2013, he was appointed to the working group for the preparation of the Higher Education Financing Act at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2016, he joined the working group to support the project Peer Counselling for Performance Based Funding of Higher Education in Slovenia at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2019, he was appointed to the working group for the preparation of the Higher Education Financing Act at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia.


Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič is President of Slovenian Rectors’ Conference, an active member of EUA Council and strongly engages in the Slovenian Higher Education Reform process. Being aware of the challenges put forward to universities by the on-growing process of negation of research and science-based knowledge, he entered the newly formed network of Universities for Enlightenment and stands for truth, honesty and openness. It is Prof. Kačič’s strong belief that universities have to re-assure their position in our dramatically changing global society and are the best solution for a knowledge-based and reason-driven handling of today’s and future societal challenges. In the same way, the motivation for his application for President of DRC is the cognition that an active contribution of DRC in the process of design and progress of the Danube Strategy and strong involvement in the matters of the common European Higher Education and Research Area shall be continued and even enforced, especially Danubius Young Scientists award, contributions to the discussions on the future of Europe, cooperation with neighbouring areas and other actual themes of the DRC. It is about our most multi-cultural, multi-national and also vulnerable Danube region to become a valuable and added-value region of united Europe that we all strive for. Actual topics of the European Higher Education Area come to the agenda, as there are European University Initiatives, where DRC should envisage the potentials and impact on this, as well as the setting up of cooperative mechanisms for brain circulation of master and especially doctoral students within the Danube region and finally, tackling the improvement of innovation potentials of our region for more added-value jobs and incentives for young people to live and work in the Danube region.


Upon his appointment as rector of the University of Maribor Prof. dr. Zdravko Kačič emphasised that “with its performance, the University has to justify the confidence of the broader society in fulfilling its mission".

DRC in the revised EUSDR Action Plan

The Danube Rectors' Conference has been included in the revised Action Plan 2020 of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). This initiative adopted by the European Commission in 2011 aims to improve the cooperation in areas of fundamental importance for the development of the region like education, culture, infrastructures, and environment. In this perspective, the new action plan targets to upgrade existing programmes of cooperation and it is set to reinforce the collaboration with the DRC in the field of education and research.


In general the scope is "to strengthen cooperation among universities, research organisations and SMEs in the Danube Region" and " contribute to stronger cooperation in various fields, such as developing joint programmes of common interest, mobility schemes, common research projects, and exchange of best practices" (Action 3, pp. 57).


The revised EUSDR 2020 action plan is available here!

New DRC Presidency 2021-2022

Following the elections of the new presidency that took place during the DRC General Assembly on 6th of November 2020, we gladly announce the new DRC Presidency for the period 2021-2022. Beginning with the 1st of January 2021 Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič, Rector of the University of Maribor in Slovenia, assumed the role of DRC President. The new Vice-Presidents are former DRC President Prof. Dr. Ivanka Popović, Rector of the University of Belgrade, and Mag. Friedrich Faulhammer, Rector of the Danube University Krems. 


Hopefully the year 2021 is going to impact positively all areas of higher education and we are very much looking forward to contributing to the new developments with our newly appointed presidency. We are confident we will continue our mission to strengthen the ties among our members, and, by doing so, to increase our presence in the Danube Region.