The key to fighting a global crisis like a pandemic is gathering as much knowledge as possible in the shortest amount of time: knowledge about the virus itself, about effective therapies, as well as their social, economic, and legal impacts. The far-reaching effects of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak are currently turning the lives of billions of people upside down. The knowledge and methodological expertise of basic researchers are indispensable in the struggle against such crises and for coping with their consequences. New research projects in Austria are intended to enhance the existing potential, contribute to the rapid gain in knowledge, and thus prepare for future challenging situations.

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is calling on researchers to submit project proposals for research into humanitarian crises such as epidemics and pandemics within its existing programmes but as part of a new fast track procedure. The goal is to initiate, as quickly as possible, additional high-quality scientific and scholarly projects at research institutions throughout Austria and thus expand capacities and structures, thereby contributing to overcoming the current humanitarian crisis as well as future ones. In the interests of open science, further pioneering discoveries of Austrian basic research are to be made available worldwide to the scientific community and the public and thus promote the global exchange of knowledge. As part of this urgent funding initiative, the FWF will give priority to processing and assessing the quality of these proposals in order to get promising projects up and running as soon as possible.

Expertise of all disciplines sought after

The fast track procedure is open to all research proposals that deal with the prevention, early detection, containment, and research into the causes and effects of epidemics and pandemics such as SARS-CoV-2. This also includes projects that focus on the technical, ecological, economic, political, legal, medical, cultural, psychological, or ethical implications of SARS-CoV-2. The current situation calls for the expertise of nearly every domain of basic research, and this urgent funding aims to further strengthen this valuable resource. 

Key features of the urgent funding

  • Proposals on relevant topics can be submitted to the following programmes on a rolling basis: Stand-Alone Projects, Clinical Research Programme, International Projects (FWF as the lead agency), Lise Meitner Programme, as well as Erwin Schrödinger Fellowships Abroad
  • The application and funding guidelines of the respective programme apply
  • Submissions will be accepted from 6 April to 30 September 2020
  • The relevance of the proposal for the theme of the call must be explained on an additional form which must be uploaded to the online application portal elane
  • The processing, quality assessment, and funding decision on the proposal will take place within just a few weeks

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