START Programme

Current status of the START program 
Applications are not currently being accepted. The next call will open in early July 2023 and is expected to close on September 20, 2023, 2:00 pm (Vienna local time).

Please also note that in the future, the date of an applicant’s successful thesis defense or the date the applicant’s dissertation was officially accepted will be used as the basis for calculating compliance with the academic age limit in the START program (min. two to max. eight years after graduation).

Target group
The START programme is open to excellent researchers from all disciplines with between two and eight years of post-doctoral research experience.

Due to its high level of funding, the START Programme offers researchers ideal conditions for carrying out long-term research projects at a top international level. By independently managing a generously funded research project, START principal investigators should acquire the necessary qualifications to assume a top position in research (especially as a professor in Austria or abroad) and play a leading role in their field. 


  • The doctoral degree must have been completed (award of certificate) no less than two years and no longer than eight years before the deadline for submission of applications (20th September 2022). Extensions to this period may be allowed in case of eligible career breaks (see guidelines).
  • Excellent research proposal and exceptional international track record
  • Proven ability to conduct independent research; applicants should already have independently acquired competitive third-party funds since earning their doctoral degree. 
  • in addition it is desirable that applicants have completed a research stay abroad of at least one year.
  • Applicants who hold a permanent professorship or who have already accepted an appointment to a permament professorship are not eligible to apply.

5 years (instead of 6 years as before), an interim review after 3 years serves as the basis for the decision on a continuation of the project

Minimum €800.000 up to maximum €1.2 Mio. 


Via the FWF’s electronic application portal (elane)

  • Start of the call for proposals: 1 July 2022
  • End of the call for proposals: 20 September 2022; the possibility to submit via Elane ends at 14:00 (2 pm) CEST.
  • in English


  • Decisions are taken by the FWF Board based on recommendations of the International START-/Wittgenstein-Jury; recommendations are based on an international review process and a hearing
  • 16–17 June 2023 
  • Awarded by the Austrian Federal Minister for Science

Approx. 6 grants per call


Electronic application portal