Fwf praesidium copyright fwf lusser
From left to right: FWF President Klement Tockner, Vice-Presidents Ellen L. Zechner and Gerlinde Mautner, Executive Vice-President Artemis Vakianis and Vice-President Gregor Weihs. © Use of this photo for editorial purposes is free of charge, subject to attribution: FWF/Lusser

Supervisory Board votes unanimously to reappoint FWF President Klement Tockner and his team for another term (up to 2024)

In a meeting held on 10 December 2018, the FWF Supervisory Board approved the reappointment of the current Executive Board for another term in office. Following the decision, which was taken ahead of schedule, the Board will remain in office up until August 2024. Under the provisions of the Austrian Research and Technology Funding Act (Forschungs- und Technologieförderungsgesetz, §8a paras 4 and 5), an existing Executive Board may be reappointed without a competition procedure, provided that the Board members express their interest in continuing in their positions. In this case, and prior to the Board positions being advertised, the Board members have to attend hearings before the Assembly of Delegates and the Supervisory Board, and their reappointment has to be approved by two-thirds majorities in both bodies.

Following the hearing and vote in the Assembly of Delegates, which had already taken place on 29 October and ended with 98 per cent of delegates voting in favour of the reappointment, the Supervisory Board gave its unanimous approval to the reappointment in its meeting on 10 December 2018. Supervisory Board Chairman Hans Sünkel and the Chairman of the Assembly of Delegates Josef Glössl said in a joint statement, “We want to pay tribute to Klement Tockner and his team for their extraordinary commitment to basic research and express our full confidence in the continued strong development of FWF. At the same time, this unanimous vote is an important signal for continuity in the FWF’s activities, both vis-a-vis policy-makers and in its relationship with the scientific community. We focus all our efforts on the massive and sustainable strengthening of top-level research in Austria, a vigorous dialogue between the scientific community and society at large, and the promotion of the most creative minds and best scholars in this country. Through its funding instruments, FWF generates a strong thrust forward for research in general and basic research in particular, and the evidence shows that this helps our country advance further, both nationally and at the international level.” 

Klement Tockner and his team thanked the Assembly of Delegates and the Supervisory Board for their unreserved trust. “The ambitious plans of the new federal government are marking a fresh departure,” the FWF President said in his first reaction, and asserted that “the FWF Executive Board will continue to do everything in our power to strengthen Austria’s international position as a land of research.” President Tockner is aware that there is often just a fine line between success and failure, and he firmly believes in joint action of all involved stakeholders. “Ambitious programmes and projects must build on strong trust and support from all sides – policy-makers, the scientific community and the general public – to be able to do whatever it takes, acting responsibly and courageously,” he said, underlining his optimism and high expectations for the future.

FWF Executive Board (2016-2024)

Klement Tockner assumed the position of FWF President in September 2016. He is a graduate of the University of Vienna, where he studied biology and aquatic ecology. After research abroad that took him to Rwanda, Uganda, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and the USA, he took up the position of a Titular Professor at ETH Zurich, Switzerland in 2005. In 2007 he was appointed Professor for Aquatic Ecology at Freie Universität Berlin and Director of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). He is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, among other institutions.

Gerlinde Mautner is the FWF’s Scientific Vice-President for Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to her appointment to this position in September 2016, she worked with the FWF Board from 2008 to 2016. A linguist by training, she holds the position of a Full Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), where she engages in research and teaches at the Institute of English Business Communication. Since 2014, she has also served as Honorary Visiting Professor at the Cass Business School at City, University of London.

Artemis Vakianis has been a member of the FWF Executive Board since September 2016, when she took up the position of Executive Vice-President. An economist and management expert with a focus on the art and culture field, she previously held management positions at several cultural institutions, including that of deputy managing director of Komische Oper Berlin and of commercial director of the “Steirischer Herbst” festival. Moreover, she is active as a teacher and speaker in the field of culture institutions studies and management. 

Gregor Weihs has been the FWF’s Scientific Vice-President for Natural Sciences and Technology since September 2016. He is a physicist and Professor at the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck. His previous career includes positions as Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University and Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo. He is a Fellow of the Quantum Information Science Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and was awarded a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2010. 

Ellen Zechner was appointed Scientific Vice-President for Biology and Medical Sciences of the FWF in September 2016. Prior to her present position, she served as a member of the FWF Board from 2011 to 2016. She is a molecular biologist and pursues her research work at the Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz. Her extensive international experience includes research work at Harvard, the Rockefeller University and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. Her primary research focus is on the molecular mechanisms of bacterial infections.

Austrian Science Fund FWF

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria’s central funding organisation for basic research. Applying international quality benchmarks, FWF provides funding for outstanding research projects and excellent researchers who work to generate, broaden and deepen scientific knowledge.


Marc Seumenicht
Head of Public Relations and Science Communication

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