The FWF START Awards are aimed at emerging top researchers and offer the opportunity to carry out a promising research project with long-term financial security. START Awards are endowed with up to €1.2 million per person and, along with the FWF Wittgenstein Award, are among Austria’s most prestigious and highly endowed research awards.

Target group

The funding program is aimed at excellent researchers from all disciplines with between two and eight years of postdoctoral research experience.

Funding goals

Due to their generous endowment, START Awards offer researchers the ideal framework for carrying out long-term research projects at a top international level. By independently heading a generously endowed research project, START principal investigators earn the qualifications needed to take on high-level positions in research (especially as senior faculty in Austria or abroad) and the skills to assume leading roles in their field of research.

Funding period and funding amount

  • From €800,000 up to a maximum of €1.2 million for a period of five years
  • Continuation of the project depends on an interim review after three years


  • Doctoral degree; the date of the applicant's thesis defense or final examination must fall between a minimum of two and a maximum of eight years prior to the submission deadline (September 20, 2023). Possible exceptions are defined in the Application Guidelines (e.g. parental leave periods).
  • Excellent research proposal and exceptional international track record
  • Proof of academic independence; applicants should already have independently obtained competitively awarded third-party funding in the postdoc phase of their career.
  • One or more years of previous international experience is recommended
  • Individuals who hold a tenured professorship or have accepted an appointment to a tenured professorship are not eligible to apply.


  • Decision by the FWF Board based on the recommendation of the international START/Wittgenstein Jury; recommendations are based on an international peer review and a hearing on June 14, 2024.
  • Award winners are selected at the START/Wittgenstein jury meeting in June 2024
  • Awarded by the Federal Minister for Science
  • Continuation of the project depends on an interim review after three years

Application information

Submission during the application period using the online application portal elane

Number of awards 

About 6 awards are granted per call

Funding institution

Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Further information

Award winners are formally announced at the START/Wittgenstein Award ceremony in June 2024.


Currently no submissions

Inquiries and contact

Mario Mandl
+43 676 83487 8605

Application portal

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