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The new Minister of Science Iris Rauskala is a profound expert in basic research. President Tockner also expressed his thanks to outgoing Minister Heinz Faßmann and his team.

The appointment of Iris Rauskala as Austria’s new Minister of Science in the interim government headed by Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein was warmly welcomed by FWF President Klement Tockner. Ms Rauskala, previously a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Education and Science, is very familiar with FWF, having been deputy chairperson of the FWF Supervisory Board since 2015. “Iris Rauskala, an expert with wide-ranging knowledge in the field of science and research, is taking on this position at a time of transition which is not without challenges,” commented President Tockner, who also expressed his conviction that Minister Rauskala “is highly familiar with the needs and challenges facing science in this country and in Europe. I am looking forward to collaborating with her in the coming months,” a collaboration which Mr Tockner expects to be “positive, issue-centred and constructive.”

Keeping up the momentum

Meanwhile, plans for the next FTI summit to be held in autumn 2019 have been scrapped because of the upcoming general elections, and it is unclear as of now when – or indeed, if – the summit will take place. The planned agenda would have included issues of paramount importance for science in Austria, such as the 2030 FTI Strategy, the excellence initiative and a new law on science funding. FWF President Tockner, who also acts as spokesman of the excellence initiative expert group, pointed out these issues and said: “In the interest of Austria’s scientific community, I hope we can resume our work where we left off,” underlining that efforts made up to now and plans for science and research considered by the previous government ought not to fall by the wayside. “We have come far indeed, and we have reached fundamental agreement on initiatives that will prepare Austria for successful future development as a country of research. A standstill would be fatal, as would be a ‘back to square one’ approach in starting talks with the next federal government after the autumn elections. I want to keep up the impetus that could be felt during the last few months and move forward on it. FWF is ready to continue improving the working conditions for excellent researchers in the future,” President Tockner concluded.

Thanks to outgoing Minister Faßmann and his team

FWF President Tockner specifically pointed to the fruitful collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research during the last few months, saying that “it is important to me to thank outgoing Minister Heinz Faßmann, his cabinet and all members of his team for their excellent work and support. I am very sorry that our joint efforts to advance basic research in Austria came to such an abrupt end.”

The Austrian Science Fund FWF

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria’s central funding organisation for basic research and arts-focussed research. Applying international quality benchmarks, the FWF provides funding for outstanding research projects and excellent researchers who work to generate, broaden and deepen scientific knowledge.

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