In its latest tranche of funding, the FWF has approved 155 excellent research projects to the tune of €53 million. This includes six new doc.funds, which will be established in Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Wien and specifically support doctoral candidates. 13 projects from the field of arts-based research received a total of €5 million in funding. Nevertheless, the funding situation for researchers remains challenging, as projects totalling €22 million could not be launched despite receiving outstanding reviews.
At the latest FWF Board meeting, which took place from 8 to 9 March 2021, applications amounting to approximately €53.4 million were approved out of a total volume of €228.4 million, resulting in an approval rate of 23.4 percent across all programmes. Out of 567 submissions, a total of 155 excellent projects received FWF funding. Unfortunately, once again right from the start of 2021, €22.5 million in projects could not be funded due to a simple lack of resources (“approved, but not funded”).
FWF urgent funding supports corona basic research in Austria
In the first months of 2021, seven more urgent funding projects were launched to the tune of €2.6 million. The SARS-CoV-2 urgent funding programme of the FWF is a fast-track procedure for research proposals dealing with the prevention, early detection, containment, and study of SARS-CoV-2. The programme is still accepting project proposals until the end of March.
P 34783 “Micro RNAs as Predictive Markers in COVID-19”, principal investigator: Alice Assinger, Medical University of Vienna, Center for Physiology and Pharmacology
P 34579 “SARS-CoV-2 Within-host Diversity and Transmission”, principal investigator: Andreas Bergthaler, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine
P 34655 “Microscopic Viscoelasticity of COVID-19 Plasma & Serum”, principal investigator: Kareem Elsayad, Vienna Biocenter Core Facilities, Advanced Microscopy Facility
P 34641 “Cov_enable: Rethinking Vulnerability in Times of Crisis”, principal investigator: Oliver Koenig, University of Vienna, Department of Education
P 34584 “Translocon-based Development of Antiviral Compounds”, principal investigator: Peter Pohl, University of Linz, Institute of Biophysics
P 34571 “Corona Fictions. On Viral Narratives in Times of Pandemics”, principal investigator: Yvonne Völkl, University of Graz, Department of Romance Studies
P 34857 “Parents and the COVID-19 Pandemic”, principal investigator: Ulrike Zartler, University of Vienna, Department of Sociology
Promoting young researchers
The current budgetary situation is a mix of good and bad news for the doc.funds programme. While six outstanding doc.funds projects could still be approved to the tune of €10.6 million at this year’s FWF Board meeting, the call for 2021 had to be suspended due to the uncertain future of the National Foundation.
DOC 118 “Challenges of European Integration”
Paris Lodron University of Salzburg
Coordinator: Michael Blauberger
Within the EU there is a gap between the extensive agreements among the member states and their often poor implementation. On the other hand, there is a gap to the outside between the high expectations placed on the EU’s role and its actually very limited capabilities. Against this background, the programme seeks to determine the exact extent of these gaps, explore their institutional and social causes, and search for ways to close these gaps.
DOC 110 “Image-guided Diagnosis and Therapy (IGDT)”
Medical University of Innsbruck
Coordinator: Elke Ruth Gizewski
The multi- and interdisciplinary research programme integrates innovative fields of applied mathematics, biomedical physics, informatics, imaging, and therapy. The planned doctoral projects are each designed to create synergies and to improve image-guided diagnosis and therapy and thus ultimately patient care.
DOC 129 “RESPIMMUN – Immune Modulation in Respiratory Diseases”
Medical University of Graz
Respiratory diseases are, after cardiovascular diseases, the second highest cause of morbidity, mortality, and socioeconomic burden. RESPImmun focuses on the interaction of immune cells, inflammatory mediators, and structural components to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. A better understanding of lung diseases will contribute to improving patient results and battling infections such as SARS-CoV-2.
DOC 130 “Biomolecular Structures and Interactions”
Medical University of Graz
Structural biology plays a key role in biomedical research. This research programme investigates biomolecules and biomolecular complexes that play an essential part in cell signalling and metabolism. The main focus is on proteins, protein complexes, and lipid/protein interactions that are associated with ageing; cancer; neurodegenerative, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases; as well as genetic disorders.
DOC 111 “MENTOR – Molecular Mechanisms to Improve Plant Resilience”
University of Vienna
The impacts of climate change, such as prolonged periods of drought, heat, or cold, are putting great stress on crops and their productivity and quality, thus leading to increasingly dramatic harvest shortfalls on all continents. An understanding of the diverse ways in which plants adapt to these drastic climatic changes is essential to guaranteeing food security and quality in the future.
DOC 112 “Liquid-liquid Phase Separation in Biology”
MFPL / University of Vienna
One of the key questions in biology concerns understanding how cells are organised in space and time. Recently, it has been shown that many important cellular compartments are composed spontaneously when proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules condense in phase-separated, liquid droplets. The biomolecular condensates formed in this way regulate many important biological processes and have been associated with pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
PEEK supports arts-based research in Austria
During the FWF Board meeting in March, 13 proposals for PEEK projects (Programme for Arts-Based Research) were approved. This flagship and pioneering programme has, in the meantime, gained an outstanding reputation within the arts-based community that extends far beyond the borders of Austria. A total of 62 proposals totalling €23.8 million were reviewed by international experts. In the end, 13 projects were approved to the tune of approximately €5.2 million. The review process included, as every year, the top-class international PEEK Board, which nominates the international reviewers and subsequently submits a funding recommendation to the FWF Board. The approved projects are as follows:
AR 650 “The Unexpected: Enquiries on Human-AI Interactions”, principal investigator: Pamela Breda, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Digital Art
AR 669 “VRinMotion”, principal investigator: Franziska Bruckner, University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten, Institute of Creative Media/Technologies
AR 688 “Thou Shalt Not Speak”, principal investigator: Erik Bünger, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Center Research Focus
AR 679 “Conviviality as Potentiality”, principal investigator: Marina Grzinic Mauhler, Academy of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts
AR 626 “Dismantling the Archive”, principal investigator: Roland Innerhofer, University of Vienna, Department of German Studies
AR 658 “Mythopoesis for Techno-Living Systems”, principal investigator: Ursula Mayer, Academy of Fine Arts, Institute of Art Theory and Cultural Studies
AR 633 “platFORMed city”, principal investigator: Peter Mörtenböck, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Art and Design
AR 640 “Atlas of Smooth Spaces”, principal investigator: Hanne Pilgrim, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Institute of Music and Movement Education/Rhythmics as well as Music Physiology
AR 682 “ZOZAN Approaching mobility via multimedia art”, principal investigator: Maria Six-Hohenbalken, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Institute of Social Anthropology
AR 687 “Semiotic Symbiosis for the Posthuman Commons”, principal investigator: Klaus Spiess, Medical University of Vienna, Center for Public Health
AR 628 “Confronting Realities – Cinematic Autosociobiographies”, principal investigator: Claudia Walkensteiner-Preschl, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Institute of Film and Television
AR 664 “Radical Matter”, principal investigator: Virgil Widrich, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Art & Science
AR 674 “morphoPoly. A (...) design game for morphing city models”, principal investigator: Katherina Zakravsky, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Social Design, external location
Quality, Fairness, Transparency
In addition to highest scientific quality, internationality, and fairness, the FWF also stands for maximum transparency. All approved research projects are described in detail on the FWF website, which can be found at: https://pf.fwf.ac.at/en/research-in-practice/project-finder.
In addition, statistics are provided for each meeting of the Board, which can be found at: https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/about-the-fwf/funding-statistics/.
* Figures updated on 30.3.