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On 21 April 2011, Karlheiz Töchterle succeeded Beatrix Karl as Austria’s Federal Minister for Science and Research. The change was part of a cabinet reshuffle in the conservative (ÖVP) faction of the coalition government. Although Töchterle is thus on the “ticket” of the conservative ÖVP, he is not a member of this party, nor any other.
The 61-year old Töchterle is a classical philologist. He held professorial posts in Graz and Munich and was elected rector at the University of Innsbruck in 2007. In an interview following his appointment, Töchterle announced he would work towards the re-introduction of tuition fees at Austrian higher education institutions. This is in line with his predecessor’s position, with the demands of his former colleagues in the country’s rectors’ conference and with those of his “host party”, the ÖVP. However, this result is unlikely to materialise in the present legislative period, in which the ÖVP forms a coalition government with the Social Democrats, who firmly oppose tuition fees.
Ministry for Science and Research (in German)