The Rectors from the universities of Ulm, Linz, Vienna and Budapest established the Danube Rectors' Conference at a meeting in Vienna in 1983. Since then, the number of countries and institutions involved in its activities has grown considerably. The founding countries Austria, Germany and Hungary have been joined by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Italy, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Presently, 64 higher education institutions from 15 countries are active members in this regional network.
In the early years, the Danube Rectors' Conference has served as a forum for the articulation and initiation of a number of joint research projects, such as the "Ecology of the Danube" (natural and life sciences, environmental engineering and technology) and "Blue Danube," a trans-disciplinary project that involved the "harder" sciences as well as historical and cultural disciplines.
The Danube Rectors' Conference has grown considerably in recent years, and its agenda has expanded. The network articulated objectives to raise the general level of academic performance; to promote mobility, to reduce drop-out rates; and to lower the cost of tertiary education. Furthermore, it underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation in the region and expressly supported the establishment of the Central European Exchange Program for University Studies. Finally, the Danube Rectors' Conference endorsed an integrated university model based of institutional autonomy and established working groups to address the issues of university legislation, curricula and the evaluation of teaching and research.
In the recent times the DRC is determined to create groundwork for the formation of university networks joining academia and science among the network members for the creation of DRC doctoral studies.