FWF President Tockner: a big and important step towards strengthening Austria as a science and business location and boosting its aspirations as an innovation leader
Following the Council of Ministers, the Austrian Federal Government has announced implementation of a “research billion” package in support of science and research to be spread over several years. According to the Government's plans, the Austrian Science Fund FWF stands to benefit most from this “research billion”. An increase of EUR 281 million is to be provided, spread over the years 2018 until 2021, raising the annual FWF budget thereby from the current EUR 184 million to EUR 290 million by 2021.
The bulk of the funds are still to be allocated by the Austrian Government within the next financial framework for the period 2018 - 2021. Harald Mahrer, State Secretary for Science, who presented the package after the Council of Ministers, emphasised nevertheless that there was a strong commitment from the Government – particularly from the Federal Chancellor, the Vice- Chancellor and the Minister of Finance – to implement the package as intended.
The funds now in prospect will make it possible for some 1,500 additional people in the scientific field to be engaged in FWF-funded projects each year. At the moment, many such projects have to be rejected despite excellent reviews. The Council of Minister’s proposal also makes reference to the “1,000 Ideas Programme” initiated by FWF President Klement Tockner and provides for its implementation in the context of high-risk research as of 2018.
“I am delighted by the decision taken by the Council of Ministers and would like to express my special thanks to those members of the Government involved in this initiative”, said FWF President Klement Tockner in a first reaction. “The Government’s investment in the future through this research billion constitutes a big and important step towards strengthening Austria as a science and business location and boosting its aspirations as an innovation leader”, noted Tockner, adding: “The decision testifies to the great trust the government places in the FWF. We will respond with the utmost sense of responsibility and apply our well-proven, highest quality standards.”
The Austrian Science Fund FWF
The FWF is Austria’s central institution for the funding of basic research. The Fund supports research projects of international excellence devoted to the generation, expansion and deepening of scientific knowledge.