Private practice

September 19, 2003

Europe's second private medical university opened its doors in the Alpine city of Salzburg this week to a group of 42 students.

Those starting their first term at the Private Medical University Salzburg were selected from 408 applicants from several countries, including the UK.

The PMU, founded by a group of 50 private investors, took just under four years to set up. Local government is also providing financial support.

University administrator Gottfried Stiener said: "The PMU is not only Austria's first private medical university, but it is the first medical university in the city of Salzburg in 198 years. A group of doctors from three Salzburg hospitals finally got the ball rolling and, although there is no shortage of doctors in Austria, we are hoping those who study at the university will be among the country's top graduates and remain in Salzburg to practise."

A budget of €7.8 million (£5.48 million) a year will be needed. Mr Stiener said 33 per cent of this would come from public funding, with the rest provided through private investors, research projects and tuition fees of €8,000 (£5,600) a year.

"By the end of the first five years, we expect to have 210 undergraduates," Mr Stiener said.

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