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Gruppenbild im freien, an einem blauen Seil ziehend: FWF-Präsident Klement Tockner, Sektionsleiterin Barbara Weitgruber, CDG-Präsident Martin Gerzabek, BMBWF-Fachreferentin Sandra Allmayer, FHK-Generalsekretär Kurt Koleznik und Wissenschaftsminister Heinz Faßmann.
They are working in line with the doc.funds.connect funding programme to offer doctoral students a new career path: FWF President Klement Tockner, DG Barbara Weitgruber (BMBWF), CDG President Martin Gerzabek, BMBWF expert Sandra Allmayer, FHK Secretary General Kurt Koleznik and Science Minister Heinz Faßmann. Not in the photo, but part of the cooperation: uniko President Sabine Seidler.

Doctoral students are being offered a new career path in Austria: the funding programme doc.funds.connect enables universities of applied sciences and universities to offer joint doctoral training. Initiated by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), the programme is open to mixed teams from both institutions. In cooperation with the Christian Doppler Research Association, the Austrian Science Fund FWF is launching a first call on 21 September 2020.

Science and research, tertiary education and research-based innovations are building blocks in preparing Austria for the future. In this context, the quality and excellence in research and teaching provided at Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS) are indispensable. If researchers from UAS and universities join forces to advance an excellent research project, they will from now on be able to enjoy full funding from the Austrian Science Fund FWF for a period of up to four years under the new doc.funds.connect programme. This new option opens up opportunities for researchers and institutions to engage in fruitful cooperation in the field of application-oriented basic research.

New FWF funding programme doc.funds.connect as from September 2020 

In its programme, the Austrian Federal Government already announced the cooperative doctoral degree provided jointly by universities and UAS in order to harness further synergies in the domestic research landscape. Not only designed to intensify the cooperation between Austrian research institutions, the programme will also develop the research competence of UAS at a high international level and offer more flexibility and opportunities to researchers. 

Expanding excellent research at universities and UAS

“The Federal Government’s aim is to further intensify research cooperation between UAS and universities and to promote excellent research in both realms. The new offer provides researchers with an attractive career option and offers Austria more opportunities to generate research-based know-how,” notes the Austrian Science Minister Heinz Faßmann on the occasion of the programme’s launch. 

“The close cooperation between UAS and universities will create attractive conditions for young researchers,” says FWF President Klement Tockner, and he adds: “More than ever, we need an open and creative research environment.” 

“The programme offers the opportunity to foster a convergence of research on specific subjects between UAS and universities through joint doctoral students without the partners having to give up their respective strengths, and that is exactly what counts,” says uniko President Sabine Seidler.

“In recent years, visible results in research and development have shown how strong the UAS are. This means that the time is now right for this cooperative doctoral training at UAS under the doc.funds.connect programme,” says UAS Secretary General Kurt Koleznik, and he adds: “We very much welcome the fact that academic staff are now enjoying new prospects and career paths. This serves above all the advancement of research.”

“The doc.funds.connect programme is a milestone in the cooperation between UAS and universities and it strengthens application-oriented basic research. The Christian Doppler Research Association is delighted to be involved in this programme, which enriches and strengthens all partner institutions,” emphasises CDG President Martin Gerzabek.

The call for proposals runs until the end of November

The Austrian Science Fund FWF is launching a call for proposals under the doc.funds.connect programme from the end of September to the end of November 2020. The funding volume of five million euros will be allocated through the FWF's international quality assurance process. Experts from the Christian Doppler Research Association are involved in the review process in order to provide a link to application-oriented research projects.

Once approved, the cooperation projects will be developed and implemented jointly by the partners. Each institution will contribute its specific expertise and provide infrastructure in order to ensure the scientific excellence of the doctoral education offered. In this manner, the doc.funds.connect programme will further strengthen both universities and universities of applied sciences in their scientific and/or arts-based research focus and in their research activities.

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