The Austrian Science Fund stands ready to help Austria embark on the path to becoming an innovation leader opened up by the research billion.

The Austrian Science Fund FWF has welcomed the “Work Programme 2017/2018” presented by the Austrian Federal Government earlier this week. At the start of the “research chapter” the Government refers to the proposal submitted to the Council of Ministers on 8 November 2016 in which the “research billion” was presented. The introduction to that proposal includes the following statement: “Research, technology and innovation are prerequisites of growth and employment. The Austrian Federal Government has set itself the ambitious goal of making Austria one of Europe’s most innovative countries by 2020. The path towards becoming an innovation leader requires additional, significant commitment. Hence, the strengthening of competitive funding elements in research is a core issue.”

The Government's work programme also announced the creation of a legal basis for an annual endowment of EUR 100 million to go to the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development for the next three years. Buttressed by these funds, the “research billion” represents a major step towards a joint initiative for excellence.

„Die Bestätigung des Ministerratsvortrags durch das nun aktualisierte Arbeitsprogramm der Bundesregierung ist ein Zeichen der Verlässlichkeit an den FWF und die wissenschaftliche Gemeinschaft“, so FWF-Präsident Klement Tockner, und weiter: „Wir sind bereit, den Aufbruch, den uns die Forschungsmilliarde ermöglichen wird, zum Wohle der Grundlagenforschung in Österreich einzuleiten. Der Weg zum Innovation Leader liegt vor uns, jetzt müssen wir ihn gemeinsam beschreiten.“

“The endorsement of the proposal to the Council of Ministers in the new work programme of the Federal Government demonstrates reliability to the FWF and the scientific community”, comments FWF President Klement Tockner, and he continues: “We are ready to go, with the research billion enabling us to work for the benefit of basic research in Austria. The journey towards becoming an innovation leader is mapped out before us, now we have to undertake it together.”

FWF Strategy 2017-2020

In its strategy paper published in mid-December 2016, the FWF already presented measures and initiatives ready for implementation as of 2017. The “research billion” will enable the FWF to embark on necessary measures sought by the scientific community:

  • An increase in the FWF’s grant budget is the most urgently needed step, enabling the FWF to provide funding for as many as 1,500 young scholars per year having submitted proposals reviewed as excellent.
  • The “1,000 Ideas Programme” is an innovative format that will close an existing funding gap in Austria by supporting scholars conducting particularly innovative and high-risk research.
  • The creation of “future chairs” for the best young scientists will boost Austria as a science location and immensely heighten its research profile at the international level.

“The work programme is an important step at the right time”, notes FWF President Tockner in his analysis. “The research billion sends out an incredibly powerful signal to the entire scientific community. It provides a sustainable boost to Austria as a science and business location. Moreover, it demonstrates to the general public that the Federal Government considers science and research to be issues of central importance”, Tockner concludes.


Marc Seumenicht
Head of Public Relations and Science Communication

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