Funding amounts, approval rates, and gender distribution: the new FWF Dashboard allows you to see how the funding statistics on basic research in Austria have developed—online and for all FWF funding programmes.
excellent=austria is the funding programme of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to enhance Austria’s reputation as a top location for research among the international scientific community. The e=a funding tracks are managed by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and offer researchers new opportunities to conduct top-level research. Universities and other research institutions can consolidate their strengths in a sustainable way. The aim is to boost Austria’s innovative capacity and to find answers to the challenges of tomorrow.
During its press conference, the Austrian Science Fund FWF presented its performance figures for 2020. Last year, the FWF invested a total of €243.6 million in over 700 research projects. Thanks to FWF funding, 4,343 researchers in Austria are currently generating new knowledge in every field of basic research. Particular emphasis was placed on getting corona-related research projects up and running quickly. So far, 24 teams have received funding in this fast-track procedure.
A higher funding budget, longer project durations, and year-round submissions—the ESPRIT career advancement programme starts on April 27. The new programme promotes the careers of highly qualified postdocs and replaces the Lise Meitner and Hertha Firnberg programmes.
Over the last two years, 85 female researchers have been awarded funding as part of the FWF’s Elise Richter and Hertha Firnberg career development programmes. They and many other successful female researchers accepted the FWF’s invitation to get together and discuss women’s careers in cutting-edge research.
In its latest tranche of funding, the FWF has approved 155 excellent research projects to the tune of €53 million. This includes six new doc.funds, which will be established in Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Wien and specifically support doctoral candidates. 13 projects from the field of arts-based research received a total of €5 million in funding. Nevertheless, the funding situation for researchers remains challenging, as projects totalling €22 million could not be launched despite receiving outstanding reviews.
The digital transformation continues to advance. Algorithms determine our lives—with far-reaching cultural and economic consequences. A knowledge of programming is no longer enough to shape this rapid change; social issues must also be addressed. This is why the FWF, together with the international partners of the “CHANSE – Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences” network, is promoting research into the digital transformation from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences. International teams can now submit project proposals.
Understanding diseases, testing medicines, and producing vaccines—studies on animals are still an indispensable part of medical research. High legal and ethical standards apply in Austria. For instance, animal testing may not be conducted if other validated alternative methods are available. However, the number of these alternatives is limited; therefore, intensive research into alternative methods is required. To speed up the establishment of such alternative methods, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is awarding “Alternative Methods to Animal Testing” research grants. Proposals can be submitted to the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
For several months, Austrian funding organisations, including the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), have been calling attention to the negative consequences resulting from a loss of the National Foundation funding. Despite a parliamentary petition and negotiations on continued funding by the Austrian federal government, the FWF has been forced to take the first appropriate steps. Three funding programmes—the Young Independent Researcher Groups, doc.funds, and #ConnectingMinds—must be suspended to the detriment of outstanding researchers. Two additional programmes— the Special Research Programmes and the Research Groups—must be reduced.
Good research is based on critical examination and systematic exploration. The greater the transparency and reproducibility, the greater the trust in research. Integrity and ethics are essential parts of the research process and characteristic features of excellent research in accordance with the highest international standards.
Cutting-edge research always involves a risk, but if it succeeds, there is a good chance of making an innovation leap. Through the 1,000 Ideas programme, the FWF wishes to further enhance Austria’s innovative power by once again supporting high-risk research. Interest in the programme continues to be high during the second call, with 270 researchers submitting proposals. The new projects will be able to commence in summer.
The FWF Supervisory Board has appointed particle physicist Christof Gattringer of the University of Graz until 2024
On 21 January, seven applicants presented themselves for the position of FWF President at a virtual hearing before the FWF Assembly of Delegates. The delegates then held a secret ballot to decide on a shortlist of three candidates. On 10 February, the Supervisory Board of the FWF will elect the next president from the trio of Christof Gattringer (University of Graz), Sabine Schindler (University of Innsbruck), and Miranda Schreurs (Technical University of Munich).
The RTI Strategy 2030 recently adopted by the Council of Ministers paves the way for more investment in research and innovation. Through this strategy, the Austrian federal government aims to bring Austria closer to Europe’s innovation leaders. The excellence initiative contained within the strategy provides leading-edge researchers in Austria with extra momentum.
They are among Austria’s most highly endowed research awards, and their funding has been provided once again in 2021 by charitable foundations: researchers can now submit project proposals from the fields of cell research, anaesthesia, and the further development of the Internet as part of the new calls of the Herzfelder Foundation, the Weiss Award, and netidee SCIENCE. A total of €1.6 billion is thus available to cutting-edge basic research.