Research quality as the top priority – the FWF makes its funding decisions based on an international peer review process
The FWF offers all researchers and their ideas equal opportunities to receive funding. All of our funding decisions are based on international reviews, ensuring a fair and transparent selection process. Whether or not an application should be approved for funding depends on the results of the peer review. The FWF obtains nearly 5,000 reviews per year from around 65 countries, the majority of which come from leading research nations such as the USA, Great Britain, and Germany. Reviewers are selected on the recommendation of our Scientific Consultants, who have a high level of expertise in their respective fields. Applications are assigned to reviewers[KK1] according to strict procedural rules to avoid any bias or conflicts of interest. Reviewers must be professionally active experts based outside of Austria, be at an academic level at least equal with the applicant, and have expertise in the field of the proposed research.
Review and evaluation criteria
Creating a level playing field for all applicants is a top priority. Proposals are evaluated by the reviewers based only on their potential to generate knowledge; non-scientific criteria such as age or gender play no role in the review process. At the same time, the FWF aims to include as broad a spectrum of research achievements as possible. Career breaks can also be taken into account, to help the FWF accommodate a wide diversity of career paths.
Generally speaking, reviewers are asked to focus on the following aspects of a proposal:
- Research quality of the proposal
- Degree of innovation and potential gain in knowledge
- Research qualifications of all researchers involved
As a signatory to the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, the FWF also instructs reviewers to refrain from using journal-based metrics such as journal impact factors, Article Influence Scores, or the h-index when assessing research performance.
Any program-specific review criteria can be found in the application guidelines for each individual program.