The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) places particular importance on an inclusive funding procedure, in which people with different requirements can participate on an equal footing. The funding offers are designed in a way that best supports the scientific careers of all researchers. As shown below, the FWF has various approaches for appropriately advancing the topic of equality and diversity in the area of the FWF organization, the review procedure, the application, in the execution of the projects, and in the area of making female scientists visible. Current measures and work priorities of the Staff Unit for Equal Opportunities can be found in the FWF equality plan.

Equal opportunity measures in the FWF’s research funding at a glance:

  • set up the Staff Unit for Equal Opportunities in Research Funding and created the FWF equality plan to anchor it in the organization,
  • integrated mandatory reflection on sex and gender aspects when describing the research strategy in project applications,
  • the FWF uses gender-appropriate, inclusive language in internal and external communication,
  • signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and called on reviewers to dispense with the use of journal-based metrics in the evaluation of research achievements,
  • provided bias awareness measures to FWF board members, FWF employees (training courses) and external reviewers (information and recommendations) so they have more information on bias for the decision-making process,
  • collect current gender-specific statistics through online equal opportunities monitoring,
  • career development programs for women: supporting measures such as, for example, a child package, a qualification package, specific events for networking among scientists; 50% of the funds in the ESPRIT program for young scientists are reserved for women,
  • inclusion and equal opportunities: consideration of breaks or delays in the career progression of researchers that have led to publication gaps, non-linear career paths or limited international research experience (mobility).

Measures to promote young talent and women

The FWF supports researchers on their diverse career paths with programs on career development and gender mainstreaming in every area. Thus, for example, the postdoc career program ESPRIT contains competence and career development measures such as integrated mentoring. The FWF also makes a special effort to promote women. The implementation of the new program is therefore run scientifically by the “Horizon 2020” project GRANteD (GRant AllocatioN Disparities from a gender perspective) under the leadership of Joanneum Research (focus on the topics of equal opportunities and gender bias in the peer review and decision-making process).

Senior postdocs can further pursue their own career in the context of the START, Elise Richter and Elise Richter PEEK programs and become further qualified in the national academic environment. Woman can apply to both the START and Elise Richter programs in parallel in order to increases their chances of success.

Target agreements for the participation of the underrepresented gender in the context of the national research environment (30-40%) have been implemented for research teams from the “cooperative programs” Clusters of Excellence, Emerging Fields, special research areas and research groups, as well as the programs from the pool “Promoting talents”, namely doc.funds and doc.funds.connect. This resulted in a more balanced composition of the research teams in terms of gender and expertise.

Measures for including people with disabilities and alternative career paths

In order to offer everyone an equal opportunity in the scholarly competition from the outset, breaks and delays can be explicitly cited in the application. Within the scope of their academic curriculum vitae, researchers have the possibility to explain justified career breaks (e.g., parental leave, care obligations, extended illness) and deviations from straight-line career paths (due to disability or chronic illness) in their academic career, and thus disclose these reasons to the FWF committees and the international reviewers. Where there is doubt, the committees of the FWF are responsible for making the final judgment as to the sufficient scientific qualification and thus the eligibility of the applicant to submit the application. This presentation makes it possible to appropriately consider a disability or chronic illness or a necessary career delay or career break in the overall evaluation of the application with regard to the scientific career and publication output to date.

In addition, the Austria Science Fund (FWF) also provides advice for disabled or chronically ill people, or people with challenging life circumstances in submitting their application. If you have any questions about the requirements for submitting an application in connection with your particular situation, please contact the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (Staff Unit for Equal Opportunities in Research Funding).

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