The foundations for this network were laid by informal contacts between Innsbruck University and Thai Universities that date back to the late 1970s. Official visits followed, and partnerships were concluded in the 1980s between the University of Innsbruck and Chulalongkorn and Mahidol in Bangkok, the University of Vienna and Chiang Mai, the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna and Kasetsart in Bangkok. In 1992 Innsbruck/Chulalongkorn/Vienna/ Chiang Mai included one another in their cooperation. A partnership agreement was concluded with Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta (1990) and university relations also developed substantially with Vietnam. Interconnections were established between Austria’s partner institutions in Thailand and other countries in the region. The idea of ASEA-UNINET was born.
With the target to unify all these bilateral partnership agreements into one multilateral partnership, the initiator, Prof. B. M. Rode, invited interested universities in Austria, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to participate in the 1st Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City. At this time the infrastructure of the organization was laid down jointly by the participants.
In 1994 this network comprised 25 universities from Austria, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. From 1997 to date universities from further countries have joined the network:
Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the U.K. Pakistan as well as Iran have an associated status for specific projects.
Presently (July 2017), 20 countries comprising a total of 80 universities are members of ASEA-UNINET.