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:Provisional Bylaws

Provisional Bylaws of the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria resp. of the Interdisciplinary Transformation University (IT:U)

At its meeting on January 29, 2024, the Founding Convent of IT:U adopted the following parts of the provisional Bylaws on the basis of Section 6 para. 5 no. 4 of the Federal Act on the Foundation of the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria, Federal Law Gazette I No. 120/2022:

Preamble

Based on and within the framework of the Federal Act on the Establishment of the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria (hereinafter: IDSA Establishment Act), these Bylaws determine the regulations that, from the current perspective, are primarily necessary for the foundation and establishment phase of IT:U (hereinafter: University). The Articles will be  supplemented subsequently.

The resolution of the Founding Convent of 15 June 2023 contains further principles for the orientation and organization of the University: „Orientation points and guidelines for the orientation, organization and further development of the IDSA“.

Part I of the Bylaws
General provisions and communication

§ 1 Foundations and principles

(1) The University shall conduct its affairs autonomously within the framework of the law (Art. 81c B-VG).

(2) The University is committed to equality within the meaning of the Federal Equal Treatment Act (B-GlBG), to gender parity and diversity and to safeguarding the interests of people with disabilities. All bodies and advisory committees must take into account these aspects in all procedures and decisions. This also applies to the composition of bodies and committees.

(3) The University and all its institutions are subject to the Federal Public Corporate Governance Code (B-PCGK).

§ 2 Communication and information platform

(1) The University shall set up a communication and information platform (KIP) that is accessible via Internet. The KIP shall be designed in such a way that the authenticity and integrity of the published documents and the chronological traceability of the publications are ensured. The following are to be be published on the KIP

1. the statutes, including any amendments thereto

2. the advertisements for professorships and members of the first management level

3. the educational programs and curricula.

(2) The announcements published in the KIP shall be kept available there for information in the currently valid version.

(3) Until the KIP is established, the announcements shall be made on the IT:U website. The KIP shall be established by the beginning of the summer semester 2024 at the latest.

§ 3 Communication principles, services and processes

(1) The University also aims to act as a role model with regard to the integration of digital tools and digital governance in research, teaching and administration. For this reason, the University will make extensive use of digital tools and media to carry out its tasks and acts especially by the principles of „data once only“ and „mobile first“.

(2) The working language of the University is English. Thus, all offers and services of the University are to be provided in English. This does not apply to offers that are primarily aimed at the general public.

(3) All offers and services of the University shall – as far as reasonable, possible and legally permissible – also be offered and designed digitally and barrier-free. A high level of data protection and data security has to be ensured.

(4) For meetings of university bodies and other committees, formal formats, working meetings and resolutions, communication shall also take place via digital media. The means of electronic communication and documentation may be used to record meetings for the purpose of taking minutes. Further details are to be regulated in the rules of procedure of the respective bodies and committees, whereby in particular the secure identification of members, the reliable determination of the fulfillment of decision requirements (attendance and voting), the confidentiality of applications, discussions and votes in hybrid formats must be ensured.

(5) The bodies and other committees are quorate if at least half of the members are present and take their decisions by a simple majority of the valid votes cast. Abstentions and invalid votes count as not cast. Members who are present via electronic communication systems are deemed to be present in person. Resolutions on the rules of procedure and their amendment require a majority of two thirds of the votes validly cast and must be brought to the attention of the Founding Convent.

(6) The bodies and other committees may adopt their own rules of procedure. If no separate rules of procedure are issued, those of the Founding Convent shall apply mutatis mutandis. The rules of procedure for the first management level (see below) have to be approved by the Founding Convent. In particular, the rules of procedure must contain provisions on incompatibilities, partiality, confidentiality obligations and the protection of the interests specified in Section 1 (2) of Part I of the Bylaws.

(7) If the framework of these Bylaws, the organizational plan, or agreements between the Founding Convent and the Founding President, contain obligations to submit documents for comment, approval or decision-making or stipulate opportunities for participation in design processes, these processes must be set up to provide for the possibility of a „qualified dialogue“ (see below) between the Founding Convent and the Founding President is given. This includes in particular

  1. regular information on the status of the processes and implementation activities in all fundamental matters as well as in matters for which this is expressly requested by the Founding Convent.
  2. in the case of a necessary resolution to be made by the Founding Convent, a prior mutual scheduling agreement between the Founding President and the Founding Convent, with a sufficient preparation period – generally at least six (6) working days – following the submission of proposals ready for decision.
  3. in cases where joint working groups with the Founding Convent are established to carry out one of the strategic tasks of the Founding Convent as outlined in the IDSA Founding Act, the possibility of preliminary coordination with the Founding President – while fully respecting the competences of the Founding Convent as a collegial body – serve to coordinate with the Founding President, as well as the possibility to conduct meetings to discuss the relevant work topic.
  4. In the event that a proposal by the Founding President is not accepted by the Founding Convent, a new proposal by the Founding President within fourteen (14) days is mandatory. When a resolution by the Founding Convent is necessary, this possibility must be adequately considered in the scheduling.

(8) All decisions of the bodies and other committees have to be documented in a comprehensible manner.

Part II of the Bylaws
Strategic management and performance agreement

§ 1 Strategic Development Document

(1) The strategic management of the University shall be based on a multi-year strategic planning document (Strategic Development Document). This document shall contain statements and information for a medium-term period of three (3) years as well as an outlook (vision) for further three (3) years on

1. the general strategic orientation and objectives of the University;

2. priorities in research, teaching and third mission;

3. the personnel strategy;

4. the plans for buildings and other infrastructure.

(2) A draft of the Strategic Development Document shall be prepared by the Founding President for the first time by February 28, 2024 at the latest. Following consultation with the International Strategic Advisory Board (Statutory Part III), the latter must draw up a statement within four (4) weeks of the consultation meeting. The Founding President shall then revise the Strategic Development Document as necessary and submit the revised draft to the Founding Convent for approval no later than four (4) weeks after receiving the ISAB’s statement.

(3) The provisions contained in the Strategic Development Document shall be reviewed annually as part of a standardized review process in a dialogue between the Founding Convent and the Founding President. If this process reveals the need for additional measures, specifications or other updates, these must be adapted. Any amendments of the planning document that are necessary must be approved by the Founding Convent.

§ 2 Performance agreement with the Confederation

(1) The Founding President shall submit a proposal for the forthcoming performance agreement to the Founding Convent, which shall include key objectives and projects and refer to the Strategic Development Document.

(2) After approval of the proposal by the Founding Convent, the Founding President shall negotiate it with the Federal Minister, whereby the Founding President shall report to the Founding Convent on the main results. The Founding President shall conclude the performance agreement and report on it to the Founding Convent without delay.

Part III of the Bylaws
International Strategic Advisory Board (ISAB)

§ 1 Tasks

(1) An International Strategic Advisory Board (ISAB) shall be established to advise the Founding Convent and the Founding President on strategic issues of fundamental importance. This board also has the task of encouraging contact with relevant institutions and organizations as well as companies.

(2) The ISAB advises the Founding Convent and the Founding President. Its tasks are

1. reviewing and advising on the Strategic Development Document drawn up by the Founding President, including discussion with the Founding Convent and the members of the first management level, and issuing a statement with recommendations on these;

2. participating in the periodic review processes („reviews“ – Section 1 (3) of Part II of the Bylaws) of the University;

  1. advising the Founding Convent and the Founding President on current issues of scientific strategy, in particular on issues relating to the positioning of the University, with regard to fundamental priorities in research and teaching, on strategic decisions at University level, in each case if and insofar as the Founding President or the Founding Convent involve the Advisory Board on these issues in individual cases;
  2. participation in the advertisement, search and appointment of professors. 

§ 2 Composition and activities

(1) The ISAB consists of at least three, five or a maximum of seven renowned researchers with excellent credentials who are active in Austria or abroad and who are not members of the University. The majority of the members of the Advisory Board should be internationally active. The members are appointed for a period of five years by the Founding Convent on the proposal of the Founding President; a reappointment of all or some of the members (partial renewal) is permissible for one further period. The Founding President must submit a proposal for the members of the ISAB to the Founding Convent. If no acceptable proposal has been provided to the Founding Convent, the Founding President shall request the Austrian Science Fund – FWF – and the Austrian Academy of Sciences – ÖAW – to nominate suitable persons from whom the Founding President shall select candidates for the renewed proposal.

(2) The members of the ISAB shall receive appropriate remuneration for their activities; they shall also be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in the course of their activities. Remuneration and travel expenses are subject to the principles of efficiency, economy and suitability. The regulations or agreements on the amount of remuneration and the general regulations on travel expenses require the approval of the Founding Convent.

(3) The ISAB shall elect a chairperson and a deputy chairperson from among its members. The person receiving the highest number of valid votes shall be elected; in the event of a tie, the election shall be decided by lot. Unless otherwise specified below, the election is valid for the duration of the elected person’s term of office. The Advisory Board may dismiss the chairperson without stating reasons. Even without significant cause, the chairperson may resign from their position before the end of his/her term by submitting a written notice to the Founding Convent. These regulations also apply to the deputy chairperson.

(4) The ISAB shall meet at least once a year. The Founding President shall issue invitations to the meetings after consultation with the chairperson of the Founding Convent. Persons providing information can be invited to the meetings. The chairperson of the ISAB, in cooperation with the Founding President and the chairperson of the Founding Convent, shall prepare the meetings, chair the meetings and sends statements from the ISAB to the chairperson of the Founding Convent and the Founding President. Usually, the agenda of ISAB meetings shall include the possibility of an exchange between the ISAB and the Founding Convent, the Founding President and members of the first management level.

(5) The assessments and recommendations of the Advisory Board are confidential.

Part IV of the Bylaws
Job advertisement and hiring resp. appointment

§ 1 Scientific staff members

(1) Academic positions can be filled at any time.

(2) Usually, academic positions are to be published on the KIP by the Founding President. These advertisements can also be formulated in a broad way, mission-oriented, in the form of several positions simultaneously, on a wider range of topics and at different seniority levels. The application period must be at least three (3) weeks.

(3) Positions for a period of less than one (1) year and for which suitable candidates are known can also be filled without publication.

§ 2 Professorships

(1) The basis for advertising and filling professorships is the Strategic Development Document and any additional agreements between the Founding President and the Founding Convent. The Founding President must inform the Founding Convent of any planned vacancies for female professors.

(2) The position shall be advertised by the Founding President on the KIP and internationally in an appropriate manner; this may also take the form of a reference to the advertisement on the KIP. The advertisements can be broad, mission-oriented and in the form of several professorships advertised simultaneously on a further subject area at different seniority levels. The application period must be at least three (3) weeks.

(3) In order to carry out the selection procedure for filling professorships, the Founding President shall appoint an Appointment Committee (Search Committee) for each call for applications under her chairmanship. The members of the Appointment Committee with voting rights are

  1. one member delegated by the Founding Convent;
  2. two qualified academics nominated by the Founding President, preferably members of the ISAB in accordance with Part III of the Bylaws;
  3. the member delegated by the Austrian Students‘ Union to the Advisory Board for the foundation phase (§ 7 IDSA Establishment Act) or a person otherwise nominated by the Austrian Students‘ Union.

(4) The Founding President may, in consultation with the Founding Convent, appoint up to two further members of the University as voting members. From the point when at least six professors belong to the University, these two members must be appointed from among the professors of the university by the professors themselves.

(5) In order to safeguard the aspects pursuant to Section 1 (2) Part I of the Bylaws, the Appointment Council shall also include a non-voting member who is to be appointed by the universities collegial body responsible for equality and diversity. Until such a collegial body is established, this member shall be delegated by the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research.

(6) The Founding President shall develop standard criteria and procedures based on internationally recognized quality criteria and procedures. The Founding Convent shall adopt these after submission by the Founding President.

(7) The Appointments Council decides on the assessment criteria and the selection process on the basis of the standard criteria and procedures defined under (6). These may, for example, be supplemented or adapted by specific criteria regarding the function and discipline. In any case, candidates who are particularly suitable for the position must be invited to a hearing by the Appointment Committee.

(8) Provision may be made for obtaining external expert opinions from renowned domestic or foreign researchers to support the Appointment Committee in forming its opinion. The requirement to obtain expert opinions can be partially or fully waived if it is anticipated that the subsequent process will enable a qualified and well-founded decision with sufficient clarity, considering the necessary competencies of the involved individuals. However, the member delegated by the Founding Convent may request the acquisition of expert opinions.

(9) The Appointment Council shall then draw up a ranking of suitable candidates for a professorship or, in the case of a broad call for applications, several appointment proposals and justify its selection or ranking.

(10) The Founding President does not have the right to vote on the Appointment Committee for decisions in accordance to (7) and (8). The Founding President may entrust a member of the Appointment Committee ((2) no. 1) with the chairmanship for the duration of the decision-making process.

(11) The Founding President can accept the appointment proposal(s), change the order in which they are presented and reject them. Reasons must be given for any rejection. After the Founding Convent has confirmed that the procedure conforms to the Bylaws, the Founding President must conduct the further procedure and conclude the employment contract. If the Founding Convent does not confirm the procedure in accordance with the Bylaws, the procedure must be supplemented or repeated after consultation between the Founding Convent and the Founding President.

§ 3 Chairs of Excellence

(1) If the opportunity arises to attract particularly highly qualified, internationally renowned and excellently recognized researchers and lecturers to the University who can make a significant contribution to its establishment and further development (“Chairs of Excellence”), such a person may be appointed without a call for applications and without the establishment of an Appointment Committee. Chairs of Excellence are tied to the incumbent.

(2) In such a case, the Founding President and the Founding Convent shall inform each other and reach agreement on how to proceed. The establishment of a Chair of Excellence requires the prior approval of the Founding Convent (decision in principle).

(3) The Founding President shall manage the further procedure and – following approval by the Founding Convent – conclude the employment contract.

§ 4 Dual Professorships and Professors of Practice

(1) Dual professorships are professorships with an affiliation at IT:U and another university. The aim is to promote cooperation between IT:U and a partner institution in joint teaching and research areas and to enable renowned scientists to work at IT:U while maintaining their other obligations. Double professors are involved in research and teaching at both partner universities, supervise students and doctoral candidates at both universities and have access to internal sources of funding. When establishing a dual professorship, the Founding President and the Founding Convent must define the expectations regarding research, teaching and other contributions of the person to be appointed. The establishment of a dual professorship requires an agreement between the two partner institutions to ensure that the strategic interests of both partner institutions are safeguarded.

(2) Dual professorships are tied to the holder of the position. The professorships shall end due to termination of the employment relationship, upon retirement of the person or their departure from the partner universities, unless the Founding Convent decides otherwise at the proposal of the Founding President; they shall also end upon appointment in accordance with Section 1 or Section 2 of Part IV oft the Bylaws.

(3) Professorships of practice may be established in order to recruit individuals with proven excellent knowledge and skills as lecturers even without academic publications and during active employment in a non-academic institution or at the University itself. The number of these positions may not exceed two full-time professorships or 10% of the University’s full-time professorships. 

(4) Professorships of practice are tied to the holder of the position and are generally limited in time.

(5) With the consent of the Founding Convent, persons may be appointed to professorships of practice without a call for applications. In all other respects, the provisions for professorships apply accordingly, with the stipulation that after the opinion of the Appointment Commitee, the Founding Convent decides on the appointment.

§ 5 External lecturers

(1) External lecturers are highly qualified individuals who are entrusted with conducting courses; they have a temporary teaching license related to these courses.

(2) An external individual is entrusted with a teaching assignment by the Founding President, who must inform the Founding Convent about the lecturing assignments awarded for the respective semester and the lectures involved.

§ 6 Members of the first management level

(1) The Strategic Development Document, the organizational plan and any additional agreements between the Founding Convent and the Founding President form the basis for job advertisements and the filling of positions at the first management level. Calls for applications are issued by the Founding President after the Founding Convent has approved the proposed text of the advertisements. The Founding President is responsible for deciding on the number and timing of the job advertisements. The application period must be at least three (3) weeks.

(2) The positions must be advertised on the KIP and also internationally in an appropriate manner; this can also take the form of a reference to the advertisement on the KIP. The advertisements may also take the form of several simultaneously advertised functions with a broad range of competencies and responsibilities. Functions in the university administration can also be combined with tasks in the area of research and teaching.

(3) The Founding Convent shall be involved in the selection process led by the Founding President by nominating an individual who shall be involved in an advisory role at the latest in the phase of final decision-making among the pre-selected candidates. The Founding President is also authorized to engage an external consultancy firm with the personnel selection processes, and shall propose a well-founded appointment proposal.

(4) The Founding President concludes the employment contract subsequent to receiving approval by the Founding Convent.

(5) If a member of the first management level is appointed to a professorship, the provisions on the establishment of dual professorships shall apply analogously.

Part V of the Bylaws
Final provisions

These Bylaws shall enter into force at the end of the day on which they are published on the website https://it-u.at/, shall be evaluated by December 31, 2024 and shall expire at the end of February 28, 2025.

For the Founding Convent:

Claudia von der Linden

Chairwoman of the Founding Convent