Universities in Austria are the living, learning and working environment for more than 75,000 employees and 300,000 students. As the most important tertiary educational institutions, universities are responsible for the education of future leaders, decision-makers and multipliers. In the evolving knowledge society, higher education institutions have the unique opportunity and responsibility to generate, share and implement knowledge and research results. From this position, they have the mandate to lead by example in the sustainable improvement of the health of society as a whole.
The Network of Health Promoting Universities Austria (hereinafter referred to as the network) is a non-profit oriented association of Austrian universities. Starting points for the Network of Health Promoting Universities Austria are the Ottawa Charter (1986)  [1]of the WHO and the Okanagan Charter (2015)  [2]. The network members are committed to the vision and concern of making the setting of the university a health-promoting living, learning and working environment for employees and students. In the spirit of sustainability and in line with the orientation towards the salutogenetic approach conditions that promote physical and psychosocial health are to be created and maintained for physical and psychosocial health. This is understood to mean the development of health-promoting conditions and individual behavior.

Strategic goals 

  • The network promotes the strategic anchoring of health management at the universities.
  • The network continuously develops university-specific quality standards for health promotion and supports its members in achieving them.
  • The network engages with all relevant interest and stakeholder groups on the topic of ‘health promoting universities’


Measures to implement the strategic goals

1.Supporting network members in integrating the issues of health and health promotion into the university culture, as well as into all academic processes and administrative processes.

2.Further development of health management concepts and recommendations for behavioral and behavioral measures for employees and students, for example:

– Health-promoting framework conditions for work and study
– Personnel and course planning
– Infrastructure / structural measures
– Working hours regulations, recreation, break and rest periods
– Offers for exercise and psychosocial health
– Offers for healthy communal catering

3.Further development of expertise in health management or health promotion for the university setting through:

– qualification offers for the network members
– regular working meetings of the network members for mutual consultation and support exchange of information on good practices, activities, strategies and challenges

4.Strengthening of the universities in their overall social commitment to the topic of health through:

– providing opportunities for communication of research findings and good practices.
– interfacing with policy makers across universities
– impulse discussions with stakeholders

Members and Membership

The Network of Health Promoting Universities Austria is open to all Austrian universities, that identify with the goals and strategies of the network, and have implemented health management or have already implemented or intend to implement health promotion at their own universities, in order to implement systematic health promotion in the university setting. The member university nominates and sends at least one person to actively participate in the network and to take part in the network events. A maximum of three delegates can be sent per university. Thereby members have the possibility to participate in the network work and to use the entire resources of the network. The basis for the joint work is a signed Membership Contract / Participation Contract, the Letter of Intent is an integral part of it. Membership is bound to a membership fee.

Management / Chair of the Network and Executive Board

The network is technically managed under the chairmanship of the health management of the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt (AAU), which also provides the necessary human resources. The chairperson is supported by the Executive Board as an extended management body. This consists of a maximum of four delegates from the member universities. Tasks of the Executive Board are content-related advice, controlling of finances, support in the context of public relations and the planning of network-related projects and events. The chairperson represents the network externally. If necessary, she can delegate this task to a member of the Executive Board.

[1] Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) (1986): Ottawa-Charta zur Gesundheitsförderung. Internationale Konferenz zur Gesundheitsförderung, Ottawa, Ontario, Kanada, 17.-21.11.1986.
[2] Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges (2015).
[3] Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unraveling the Mystery of Health: How People manage Stress and stay well. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.