Students can always be relied on to drink...

October 11, 2002

Universities revitalise local economies, providing jobs and bringing students and their cash to town. The THES reports on their impact worldwide

One thing remains constant in Austria's rapidly changing university world - students spend a great deal of their money on eating, drinking and entertainment.

In Graz, bars and clubs are overflowing with students almost every night, and even in Vienna many cafes, pubs and restaurants depend on students.

Kevin Burns, manager of Charlie P's Irish Bar in the centre of Vienna, said that much of his business came from students. "During term-time there is rarely a night when students aren't clamouring over each other to get a drink or something to eat. And we have a steady influx of staff to help keep the place running," he said.

The town's Technical University (TUG) has strong ties with the local business community. Franz Holzer, director of the research and technology information unit at the TUG, said it was "not just a place of learning, but a public development service institute".

TUG helps local companies with research and development. "There are more than 7,000 full-time students and postgraduates at the TUG as well as about 800 scientific and academic staff, so the businesses in this area have plenty of scientific and technical resources."

A group of TUG professors and students is working on developing a diesel engine for one of the area's many car manufacturers, which include DaimlerChrysler.

The education ministry said that much of the €2.3 billion (£1.4 billion) spent on Austria's universities in 2001 - 3.9 per cent of the country's national budget - flows back into national and local economies.

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