On 4 March 1968, the then Minister of Science Theodor Piffl-Percevic established the Austrian Fund for the Funding of Scientific Research (known as FFWF at the time) based on the Austrian Research Funding Act adopted in October 1967. While the institution’s legal basis has undergone two major amendments – most recently in the shape of the Research and Technology Funding Act (FTFG 2014) of 2014 – the remit of the FWF, usually referred to as the “Science Fund” in the scientific community, has remained unchanged. Today, the objectives of the FWF, as laid down in Section 2 para 1 of the FTFG, are still focused on “supporting the promotion of non-profit oriented research which serves to support the generation of knowledge and the broadening and deepening of scientific insights”.

Over the past 50 years, the FWF has always stayed true to its founding principles. A bottom-up approach to funding (ensuring that all scientific disciplines are treated on an equal footing), international peer-review processes and a rigorous focus on scientific quality form the three main pillars of the FWF. Today, funding from the FWF is acknowledged by the scientific community as being a recognised seal of approval for the highest standards of international excellence.

Having consistently set new quality standards in the field of basic research over the last 50 years, the FWF is still a pioneer – both nationally and internationally – in many areas. In the spheres of open science and cross-border co-operation, for instance, the FWF’s activities are considered to be an international paragon.

Countless careers both within and outside of science, in Austria and abroad, started with a research grant from the FWF. Since the Fund’s inception, the FWF Board has approved projects worth almost four billion Euros. These funds provide massive leverage and substantial windfall gains for the Austrian science world.

What lies ahead?

The current government programme contains numerous measures – supported by all political parties – to create new momentum for science and research in Austria. These include an excellence programme for Austria, a continuous increase in competitive research funding, a research funding act, internationally competitive R&D infrastructure, as well as other measures designed to enhance the power of innovation. The scientific community has hailed all of these planned activities as a very positive signal. The FWF is convinced that the swift implementation of this vision is essential to ensure that Austria becomes and remains one of Europe’s leading countries in the areas of research, education and innovation.

be open Festival: how new ideas are generated

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the FWF is hosting Austria’s largest open-air science festival as part of the country’s EU Presidency. Cutting-edge research “made in Austria, funded by FWF” will be presented at Maria-Theresien-Platz in the heart of Vienna from 8 to 12 September 2018.

The be open Festival is aimed at anyone who likes to be curious. It will offer the opportunity for everyone to engage in discussions with some of Austria’s best researchers, conduct experiments and take a glance into the world of tomorrow. The festival will also offer numerous dialogue events to discuss future issues at the interface of science and society. The festival will conclude on Wednesday, 12 September with an award ceremony for Austria’s most prestigious science prizes, the Wittgenstein Award and the START Prizes.

The entire programme will be available as of mid-April at https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/beopen/.

FWF - the Austrian Science Fund

The FWF is Austria’s central funding organisation for basic research. Applying international quality benchmarks, the FWF provides funding for outstanding research projects and excellent researchers who are dedicated to the generation, broadening and deepening of scientific knowledge.


Marc Seumenicht
Head of Public Relations and Science Communication

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