With a Special Research Area grant, 5 to 15 researchers can form an internationally visible research network and explore research questions in greater depth at one location. The program is aimed particularly at multi- and interdisciplinary research. With Special Research Area funding, research institutions have the opportunity to create excellent working conditions for promising researchers and to sharpen their own research profile.

Target group

The program is aimed at teams of 5 to 15 internationally outstanding researchers from all scientific disciplines, in particular from the humanities, social sciences, and cultural sciences, working at Austrian research institutions.

Funding goals

The main is to facilitate the establishment of research networks based on international standards through the autonomous creation of key research areas at one university location, or under certain conditions, at several universities.

The Special Research Area funding program supports the development of extremely productive, tightly interconnected research units for generally long-term and inter- or multidisciplinary work on complex research topics.

Funding period and funding amount

  • Funding period: 4 years, a second funding period is possible after an interim review (8 years in total)
  • Funding amount: about €1 million/year


  • Consortium of 5 to 15 active researchers with outstanding research records by FWF standards
  • A target of 30% of the underrepresented gender in the consortium; the composition of the consortium is one of the deciding factors in the review and evaluation process.
  • At least 50% of the researchers must be located at one research location (as defined in the application guidelines)
  • Existing research potential
  • For further details, please see the application guidelines.


  • Decision by the Scientific Board based on international peer review
  • Decision on pre-proposal in the spring of the year following submission
  • If the pre-proposal is approved, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal.
  • Funding decision on full proposals usually made at the last Scientific Board meeting of the same year, after a hearing with international reviewers

Funding institution

Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (financed with funds from the Fonds Zukunft Österreich)


Apr. 15, 2024 to Sep. 30, 2024 (02:00 pm Vienna local time)

Inquiries and contact

Dr.in Sabine Haubenwallner
+43 676 83487 8603

Application portal

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