applicable to all grant proposals received by the FWF after April 1, 2016 in the programme categories listed below
On the basis of recent developments and discussions at the FWF as well as new provisions introduced in the amendment to the Austrian Research and Technology Funding Act (Forschungs- und Technologieförderungsgesetz – FTFG) in the autumn of 2015 (effective October 1, 2015), the FWF has made a number of changes to its funding guidelines.
As a consequence, the FWF has also had to adapt its application guidelines; the new guidelines will take effect on April 1, 2016. The most significant change is a limit on the number of ongoing projects that can be funded for a single principal investigator in the following programmes: Stand-Alone Projects (P), International Programmes (I), Clinical Research (KLIF) and Arts-Based Research (PEEK).
Overview of changes from April 1, 2016 onward
- Each researcher will be allowed to serve as the principal investigator in a maximum of two projects in the programmes listed above.
- In addition, the amount of funding that can be requested in those programmes will be limited to a maximum of €400,000.00 per project.
- At the same time, the maximum duration of projects in the programmes will be extended from 36 to 48 months,
- while the option of extending a project's duration (without additional costs) will be shortened from 24 to 6 months.
These measures have become necessary in order to maintain stable rates of approval within the FWF's current budgetary constraints. The changes are also related to research policy considerations: A smaller number of research projects – but with higher funding amounts and a longer project duration – can help to relieve the burden on all of the parties involved (applicants, reviewers, etc.).
Another change, which is related to the FWF's funding of project-specific research equipment, has become necessary due to an amendment to the Austrian Research and Technology Funding Act (Forschungs- und Technologieförderungsgesetz – FTFG). In effect, the amendment requires the FWF to maintain an inventory of all equipment whose acquisition cost exceeds €400.00 including VAT (in accordance with Art. 13 of the Austrian Income Tax Act 1988, Federal Law Gazette No. 400/1988). Given the large number of devices funded, this requirement will require significant implementation efforts on the part of the FWF. Therefore, in projects approved between October 2015 and the end of 2016, the FWF will enable funding in the form of usage fees and rental expenses for equipment with an acquisition cost between €400.00 and €24,000.00 (including VAT). From January 1, 2017 onward, it will again be possible to fund the full acquisition costs of such equipment using FWF grants.
Detailed description of changes to take effect on April 1, 2016
1) Rules on maximum number of concurrent projects, funding limit and submission of additional projects
a) Stand-Alone Projects (P), International Programmes (I), Clinical Research (KLIF) and Arts-Based Research (PEEK) programmes:
Each researcher may serve as the principal investigator in a maximum of two projects in the P, I, KLIF and PEEK programmes. From April 1, 2016 onward, the maximum amount of funding that can be requested will be limited to €400,000.00 per project over a duration of 48 months. The option of extending projects without incurring additional costs will be shortened to 6 months. Projects submitted outside of the programmes listed above are not subject to this limit.
b) Special Research Programmes (SFBs):
For all newly submitted SFB projects from 2017 onward (i.e. outline proposals submitted from autumn 2016 onward), applicants will be allowed to lead only one sub-project, while spokespersons may lead one sub-project and the coordination project. However, this new rule does not apply to ongoing SFB projects and SFB extensions.
c) Women's and Mobility Programmes, START Programme:
Principal investigators in projects funded under the Women's and Mobility Programmes as well as the START Programme are allowed to lead one additional project in the P, KLIF, I or PEEK programme. Projects in other FWF funding programmes are not counted toward this limit.
d) Co-applicants (Meitner and Firnberg programmes):
Co-applications are limited to a total of two ongoing projects (either one Firnberg and one Meitner project, or two Meitner projects).
For applications submitted on or after April 1, 2016 (by a principal investigator or co-applicant) in the P, I, KLIF and PEEK programmes (PEEK: from the 2017 call onward) and in the Firnberg oder Meitner Programme, the new rule will have the following consequences:
a) If an applicant does not have an ongoing project in the programmes mentioned above: Two new applications may be submitted.
b) If an applicant has one ongoing project in the programmes mentioned above: One additional application may be submitted.
c) If an applicant has two or more ongoing projects in the programmes mentioned above: Applicants with no more than 2 ongoing projects may submit an additional application (or co-application) no earlier than 12 months before the end of the oldest project and/or co-application.
The examples above apply analogously to co-applications.
Any additional programme-specific requirements are also to be observed (e.g. only one co-application is allowed in the Firnberg Programme).
The programmes not listed above are not subject to limits on the number of simultaneous projects (e.g. FWF Doctoral Programmes, Science Communication Programme, etc.).
2) Number of reviews required for an approval decision
For all applications submitted under the new rules for the P, I, KLIF and PEEK programmes on or after April 1, 2016 (PEEK: from the 2017 call onward), at least two reviews will be required.
3) New rules for equipment funding
In applications submitted on or after April 1, 2016, applicants can request funding for equipment required specifically for their projects (where the acquisition cost exceeds €400.00 including VAT) as in the past – that is, by requesting the entire acquisition cost. During the initial transition period, the following rule will apply:
a) Transitional arrangement for projects approved between October 2015 and the end of 2016:
The purchase of equipment with an acquisition cost of €24,000.00 or more (including VAT) will continue to be handled according to the usual procedure. However, during this initial transition period, equipment with an acquisition cost between €400.00 and €24,000.00 (including VAT) which the research institution purchases specifically for the project can only be funded by way of usage fees or rental costs.
b) Full funding from 2017 onward:
From January 1, 2017 onward, the full acquisition costs of project-specific equipment can be funded using FWF grants. To this end, the research institution will first have to acquire the equipment, after which the equipment costs incurred will be refunded by the FWF.
During a second transition phase (January–February 2017), the full acquisition costs of project-specific equipment acquired by the research institution from October 2015 onward – regardless of whether or not usage fees were claimed in the statement of accounts for 2016 – can be funded retroactively using FWF grants (less any usage fees claimed in 2016).
4) Proposal bans
Proposals that are revised and resubmitted twice and are rejected upon the third submission will be barred from resubmission for at least 12 months from the date of the third decision. This rule does not apply to applications that are rejected for Reason C1 or C2 upon the third submission.
5) Research integrity
The rules regarding research integrity have been revised: The new Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice published by the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (OeAWI) must be observed in any case.