The alpha+ Foundation was created as a non-profit federal foundation by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in November of 2019 with the aim of providing additional support to researchers through private funding. One year later, seven researchers from the Erwin Schrödinger Fellowships Programme have received a “Rückenwind funding bonus” of the alpha+ Foundation for the first time. The goal of this funding initiative is to promote international knowledge transfer.

Philanthropy in science and research has a longstanding tradition in countries like the USA, UK, as well as in Germany, Sweden, or Switzerland. In Austria, private commitment is growing from year to year thanks to the initiatives of domestic universities and research institutions. With the alpha+ Foundation, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has initiated this cultural change on a nationwide level and is building bridges between those who provide private non-profit funds and those who would like to implement research ideas.

The alpha+ Foundation was able to grant privately raised funds for the first time with the Rückenwind funding bonus in the amount of up to 5.000 EUR 5,000 euros per person. The funding bonus is available to researchers in the Erwin Schrödinger Fellowships Programme and is used for activities to promote international networking in basic research. In the first round, researchers from the fields of biology and medicine were selected. Further rounds of awards will follow.

"With the Rückenwind funding bonus, the alpha+ Foundation is beginning its cooperation with private supporters. I am pleased that internationally active researchers can use the funding bonus to expand and exchange their knowledge with the best colleagues worldwide", said Foundation Chairman Georg Winckler, describing the intention of the first funding activity of the alpha+ Foundation.

The following seven researchers have received a Rückenwind funding bonus:

Barbara Bayer

University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “The influence of nitrifiers on the oceanic carbon cycle”

“The Rückenwind funding bonus enables me to participate in a research cruise to the Pacific Ocean in order to study the marine carbon cycle.”

Mathias Mayer

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL-Institut)
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “Succession and soil carbon cycling after forest disturbance”

“The Rückenwind funding bonus allows me to learn and apply new analytical methods to better understand microbial processes in forest soils.”

Michael Stiboller

University of Potsdam, Institute of Nutritional Science
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “Toxicity and metabolism of arsenolipid mixtures”

“The Rückenwind funding bonus enables me to present my research results in the form of participation in an international conference and travel to project partners, thereby supporting my further scientific development.”

Bernhard Englinger

Harvard Medical School, Departments of Medical Oncology and Paediatric Oncology
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “Single-cell RNA-sequencing of paediatric ependymoma”

“The Rückenwind funding bonus is enormously valuable to me as it allows me to acquire bioinformatics skills, which are of ever-increasing importance for the analysis of large data sets in cancer research. The course made possible by the funding thus enables an important step towards independent research work after completing my Schrödinger research stay abroad.”

Daniel Senfter

Heidelberg University Hospital, Department of Paediatric Oncology
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “Deregulation of microRNAs in medulloblastoma”

“The funding bonus gives me the opportunity to exchange ideas with international experts in the field of paediatric neuro-oncology, to present my results and to get new ideas for my research.”

Klara Soukup

University of Lausanne Medical School, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “The role of neutrophils in the formation of brain metastases”

“Thanks to the Rückenwind funding bonus, I am able to take part in training on animal experimentation, which now enables me to conduct precisely planned preclinical studies at the highest ethical level and thus test new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of brain metastases.”

Lukas Unger

University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Erwin Schrödinger Research Project: “The role of FAMIN in cancer development”

“The Rückenwind funding bonus enables me to learn a new laboratory technique from a collaborator and to deepen international cooperation.”

alpha+ charitable foundation of the Austrian Science Fund FWF

With the alpha+ Foundation, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) offers philanthropically committed individuals and organisations the opportunity to support excellent researchers throughout Austria. The alpha+ Foundation and the FWF take care of the entire process, from the call for proposals and the quality assurance of the research projects to the grant awarding. Currently, the FWF finances research projects to the tune of €1.5 million per year through private donations.

Would you like to make a commitment to the next generation of aspiring top researchers? With the Rückenwind funding bonus with a minimum contribution of € 5,000, you help promote the academic careers of highly talented researchers on an international level.

Contact us for an initial conversation.

alpha+ Charitable Foundation of the Austrian Science Fund FWF:

Funding opportunities of the alpha+ Foundation: Private Donations to Research


Silvia Dallabrida
Fundraising | @FWF_at | @FWFOpenAccess

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