With the Young Independent Researcher Groups, the Austrian Science Fund FWF is for the first time supporting excellent young researchers in Austria in cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). Six million euros are available for interdisciplinary postdoc teams in the pilot phase.

Interdisciplinarity, innovative research approaches and the networking of internationally outstanding young scientists are the focus of the newly launched research funding programme. The Young Independent Researcher Groups will provide funding for researchers up to a maximum of four years after their doctorate. In mixed teams, the postdocs are expected to work together across disciplines on a complex and innovative topic. The Austrian Fund for Research, Technology and Development, which is part of the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development, has provided six million euros for this purpose. The Young Independent Researcher Groups' first call for proposals will be issued in December 2017.

New opportunities for young scientists

“The Young Independent Researcher Groups close a gap in the Austrian research landscape in the area of promoting young researchers", explains FWF President Klement Tockner. “I am pleased we have succeeded in entering into a successful cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Such synergies show that new, joint approaches are also being pursued in research funding."

“Pioneering achievements in basic research through interdisciplinary cooperation between the best young minds in Austria - that's what the new Young Independent Researcher Groups of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and FWF stand for”, says Academy President Anton Zeilinger. “With the Young Independent Researcher Groups, we want to further increase the international attractiveness of Austria as a science location and open up new research opportunities for outstanding young talent in our country”.

Different disciplines and a higher share of women

A Young Independent Researcher Group gathers three to five researchers in a team, who come from different science disciplines and work for at least two different research institutions or at least two organisational units within an institution. This is intended to strengthen cooperation and networking in science. In addition, it offers young talent the opportunity to gain initial experience in the independent coordination of research groups.

The Young Independent Researcher Groups are designed to provide new insights, particularly in the humanities, social sciences and cultural sciences, which can only be gained through a multidisciplinary approach. FWF and ÖAW also want to significantly reduce the high drop-out rate of female researchers in the delicate transition from the doctoral phase to the postdoctoral phase, with a target women’s share of at least 40 percent.

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