With "Research Groups”, the Austrian Science Fund FWF supports the networking of researchers independent of location and thus closes a gap in the funding portfolio between Stand-Alone Projects and Special Research Programmes. The basis for this is formed by innovative, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary questions in all scientific disciplines, especially in the humanities, social sciences and cultural sciences. €6.2m is available for Research Groups in the pilot phase.

The cornerstones of Research Groups are medium-term nationwide cooperation, innovation, inter- and multidisciplinarity as well as the integration of junior researchers and international researchers. The National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development has provided €6.2m for this purpose. The first call for around four Research Groups to be funded will be launched in spring 2018 (deadline for submissions is 30 September 2018).

Strengthening Austria as a Research Location

“The Research Groups close a clear gap in the Austrian research landscape,” explains FWF President Klement Tockner. “I am pleased that here we have succeeded in opening up a new option to sustainably support the synergy potential at smaller locations and in scientific disciplines that cooperate primarily in numerically smaller formats. The programme specification for the development of an internationalisation strategy additionally supports the profile of the Research Groups and thus also strengthens their view of the outside world.”

Involvement of Junior Researchers and Possible Formation of Research Structures

Three to five outstanding researchers can work together in a research group. The aim is to carry out research on complex, medium-term (up to five years) research questions that require cooperation between different areas of expertise and innovative research approaches. Cooperation in mixed teams (share of under-represented gender 40%) and the involvement of academically junior researchers strengthens the development of human resources at various locations in Austria. At the same time, the next generation of junior researchers will benefit from cooperation with established national and international researchers as well as the joint scientific output on complex issues.

The medium-term cooperation in these Research Groups facilitates a nationwide deepening or reconsolidation of a research topic. Not least, these Research Groups act as a crystallisation point for long-term research cooperation, for example within the framework of the FWF’s special research areas, and thereby also support the sustainable profiling of research institutions.

Further information on the programme will be announced in January 2018, and the guidelines will be made available in March 2018. The submission deadline is 30 September 2018.

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