The dramatic development of mechanical engineering and transportation at the beginning of the 19th century meant that Alpine mining and metallurgy needed to step up a gear. This was only going to be possible with academically trained experts and so the curators of the Joanneum, a technical university founded by Archduke Johann in 1811, submitted a proposal for the foundation of a university for metallurgy on 16 November 1814. This was suggested by Archduke Johann himself, the founder and protector of the Joanneum, but initially failed due to the lack of suitable teaching personnel; however, the plan was not allowed to fade away as it was urgently needed.
The curators applied once again for the establishment of a university for metallurgy in 1828. They proposed Vordernberg, the most significant Alpine iron mining site at the time, as the location for this university. In an amazingly prescient judgement of human character, Archduke Johann named the 24-year-old Peter Tunner as the future professor in 1833 and he was duly appointed in 1835.
Based on the 1975 Austrian University Organisation Act, the University of Mining has been known as Montanuniversität Leoben since 1 October 1975. Having crossed the 1000-student threshold in 1981, student numbers for 2012⁄13 reached approx. 3,300 – the highest since the university was founded. Montanuniversität has offered only Bachelors and Masters programmes since 2011⁄12. The Bachelors programmes run for 7 semesters, ending with the academic title “Bachelor of Science”, while the subsequent Masters programmes run for 3⁄4 semesters (depending on the subject chosen) and end with the academic title “Dipl.-Ing.”.
There have been major structural changes as the result of the University Law 2002, with the introduction of the governing bodies: the Rectorate, Senate and University Council.
In 1981 the university held more than 1000 students. A new record was reached with 3700 students in winter semester 2014. The old district court was converted into the Roh– und Werkstoffzentrum (RWZ) in 2006. The new IZW (Impulszentrum für Werkstoffe) was opened in 2007. This houses the academic organisational units, the MCL (Materials Center Leoben) and PCCL (Polymer Competence Center Leoben) competence centres and administrative organisational units for Montanuniversität, linked together via a glass bridge. The renovated lecture theatre wing, with its Erzherzog-Johann-Auditorium was reopened in Autumn 2009. The Polymer Engineering department relocated to the new Zentrum für Kunststofftechnik Leoben in Spring 2010. The former voestalpine research and data-processing centre has been converted into the Kunststofftechnik-Institute. The Impulszentrum Rohstoffe (IZR) opened in 2011, housing the research activities for the Mineral Resources Engineering and Petroleum Engineering departments.
The research profile of Montanuniversität – its unique selling point in Central Europe – covers the entire value-added chain: from extraction and processing of raw materials to metallurgy, high-performance materials, process and product engineering, right up to environmental technology and recycling. The new addition of energy technology as a specialist subject has expanded upon its traditional research areas even further. The university considers its central future aims to be the establishment of sustainability in its value-added chain and the promotion of the development of cutting-edge manufacturing and production processes.
As a higher education organisation, our employees with their knowledge and relationship and structural capacity represent the outstanding potential of Montanuniversität, alongside our students.
As of 31/12/2012, Montanuniversität employed 1,158 people. Of those, 756 were academic personnel and 404 were general personnel. A total of 461 employees from both groups are financed externally via R&D projects.
Research Clusters and Networks
Montanuniversität Leoben is uniquely linked in research clusters with business and scientific partners across Austria.
- MCL: Materials Center Leoben
- PCCL: Polymer Competence Center Leoben
- Erich Schmid Institute: Cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences
- TTZ: Technology Transfer Center
- CD Laborories: Christian Doppler Laboratories
- ZAT: Center for Applied Technology
- ÖGI: Austrian Foundry Institute
- MFI: Montanuniversität Leoben Forschungs– und Infrastruktur GmbH
MCL, with the K2-Zentrum “MPPE — Materials, Process and Product Engineering” started in 2008, and PCCL (K1-Zentrum since 01/2010, K-Projekt “PolyComp” since 01⁄2013) work on the basis of medium-term cooperation with business and scientific partners, and contribute to the constant further development and implementation of scientific knowledge as pre-competitive, business-friendly research companies.
The K1-Zentrum “K1-MET – Competence Center for Excellent Technologies in Advanced Metallurgical and Environmental Process Development” is also located in Leoben (with a second site in Linz).