Research integrity and research ethics are key elements of the research process and determine the quality of excellent research according to the highest international standards.

Below, please find (1) the FWF’s general guide for all researchers, (2) our procedures in the event of a suspected violation of the guidelines for good research practice, (3) some statistics on suspected violations of the guidelines for good research practice, and (4) an affirmation of our commitment to responsible animal testing in research and education.


1. Guidelines for the standards of good scientific practice and the principles of research ethics

In October 2020, the Austrian University Conference developed Guidelines for the Standards of Good Scientific Practice and the Principles of Research Ethics. These guidelines are intended as a guide for researchers in all disciplines, meaning that they also apply to all FWF applicants. Part 1 of the guidelines deals with general principles of research integrity and research ethics. Part 2 lists the various ethics committees and research integrity committees in Austria. Part 3 describes the fields of action for good scientific practice and research ethics and offers some best practice examples.

2. Guidelines for good research practice when applying to the FWF

In research applications to the FWF, applicants are asked to describe all potential ethical, safety-related, or regulatory aspects of their proposal and how they plan to handle them. They are asked to focus particularly on the benefits and any potential stressors in the experiments and the effects these may have on research subjects. This should be addressed briefly even if the project does not raise any such concerns.

Applicants must also comply with the guidelines for good scientific practice of the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (OeAWI) when submitting the application and carrying out the project.

In the event of a suspected violation of the guidelines on good scientific practice, the FWF will initiate an investigation. This investigation serves both to penalize actual violations according to the existing rules and to protect researchers from unfounded accusations.

The FWF has established a whistleblower system for reporting suspected violations; reports can also be made anonymously.

3. Statistics on suspected violations of the guidelines of good research practice

The FWF documents all investigations as well as suspected cases and publishes statistics on the results in anonymized form. These statistics show that from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2022, out of more than 35,000 applications submitted, there were a total of 79 suspected violations in connection with individuals applying for FWF funding or individuals involved in these proposals. In 41 cases, the investigation showed no evidence of research misconduct. In 35 cases, the suspicions were confirmed and sanctions were issued in accordance with the severity of the violation. These sanctions range from written warnings, requests for corrections, and proposal bans by the FWF all the way to the termination of projects and the repayment of funds.

4. Animal testing

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