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, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. At present, almost 70 higher education institutions from 14 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.
The Rectors' Conference of the Alps Adriatic Universities was founded in 1979 and includes the vice-chancellors and presidents of the universities and colleges of the entire region of the Alps Adriatic Working Community. At present, this comprises 48 universities or colleges.
The aim and purpose of founding the Rectors' Conference was to enable collaboration between the universities and colleges and to seize the diverse opportunities available for scientific, artistic and future-oriented cooperation. Issues of cultural, scientific, political or general importance are dealt with in the form of symposia and research projects.