Cutting-edge research is an expedition into the future. Clusters of Excellence (COE) funding supports large teams on their journeys to new discoveries in promising research fields. The program gives outstanding researchers the opportunity to strengthen long-term collaborations across regional, thematic, and institutional borders. Clusters of Excellence are characterized by a combination of cutting-edge research, research-led education, and the promotion of young researchers.

Target group

This funding program is aimed at top-class consortia of five to eight researchers from all disciplines, working at at least three Austrian research institutions.

Funding goals

Clusters of Excellence enable groups of researchers at Austrian research institutions to achieve outstanding cooperative research or arts-based research results in one area or in interdisciplinary teams and to firmly establish this research area in Austria long term and at a top international level. They play a key role in shaping and strengthening core research areas at the participating research institutions.

Clusters of Excellence provide outstanding training opportunities and research-led education to junior researchers, ensuring that the next generation of researchers is well prepared for internationally competitive careers. COEs are committed to equal opportunities and diversity in all their activities. They have an impact beyond the realm of science and actively pursue the exchange of knowledge and technology through cooperation with social and/or economic partners.

Funding period and funding amount

A minimum of €10 million to a maximum of €35 million over a period of 60 months, with participating research institutions contributing 40% of the funding; continuation of funding depends on an interim evaluation before the end of the 60-month period (total possible funding period: 120 months)


  • A consortium of 5 to 8 researchers or arts-based researchers with an outstanding research record according to FWF standards
  • Balanced gender ratio, or at least a gender ratio representative of the respective discipline
  • At least three Austrian research institutions must be involved, one of which must be entitled to award doctoral degrees pursuant to the Universities Act (UG).
  • The number of applications in which a research institution can act as a lead research institution is limited.
  • For further details, please see the application guidelines.


Decision by the Scientific Board based on the recommendation of an international multidisciplinary jury; recommendations are based on an international written review and a hearing, where applicable.

Number of eligible projects

Approximately 3–5 projects

Funding institution

Austrian Science Fund (FWF)


Currently no submissions

Inquiries and contact

MMag. Dr. Stefanie Linsboth
+43 676 83487 8613

Application portal

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