More fundamental knowledge to create more efficient electronics, more stable quantum computers, or to better understand the molecular mechanisms of heredity—the FWF’s “Special Research Programmes” programme enables teams at different research institutes to work together to investigate a central research question. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is providing a total of €15 million in funding to four new Special Research Programmes, involving numerous teams from Austria and Germany. The aim is to promote further collaboration and closer networks among leading researchers.
In its latest tranche of funding, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has approved 176 research projects to the tune of EUR 57.7 million. Besides the projects in the established programmes, research projects with a specific transdisciplinary focus competed for funding for the first time as part of the #ConnectingMinds programme.
Austrian Minister of Science Heinz Faßmann and FWF President Christof Gattringer signed the new three-year financing agreement on 22 September 2021. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research has made a total of €806 million in funding between 2021 and 2023 available for groundbreaking basic research to researchers who are able to succeed in the FWF’s quality-based competition for funds.
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) also honours six other top researchers with the START Award
In addition to the Wittgenstein Award, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) also conferred this year’s START excellence awards. From a field of 102 applicants, the jury chose six researchers in a very competitive selection process.
Applications amounting to roughly EUR 114 million, and an approval rate of 27.3 percent
excellent=austria is the funding programme of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to enhance Austria’s reputation as a top location for research among the international scientific community. The e=a funding tracks are managed by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and offer researchers new opportunities to conduct top-level research. Universities and other research institutions can consolidate their strengths in a sustainable way. The aim is to boost Austria’s innovative capacity and to find answers to the challenges of tomorrow.
During its press conference, the Austrian Science Fund FWF presented its performance figures for 2020. Last year, the FWF invested a total of €243.6 million in over 700 research projects. Thanks to FWF funding, 4,343 researchers in Austria are currently generating new knowledge in every field of basic research. Particular emphasis was placed on getting corona-related research projects up and running quickly. So far, 24 teams have received funding in this fast-track procedure.
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.
Understanding diseases, testing medicines, and producing vaccines—studies on animals are still an indispensable part of medical research. High legal and ethical standards apply in Austria. For instance, animal testing may not be conducted if other validated alternative methods are available. However, the number of these alternatives is limited; therefore, intensive research into alternative methods is required. To speed up the establishment of such alternative methods, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is awarding “Alternative Methods to Animal Testing” research grants. Proposals can be submitted to the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
For several months, Austrian funding organisations, including the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), have been calling attention to the negative consequences resulting from a loss of the National Foundation funding. Despite a parliamentary petition and negotiations on continued funding by the Austrian federal government, the FWF has been forced to take the first appropriate steps. Three funding programmes—the Young Independent Researcher Groups, doc.funds, and #ConnectingMinds—must be suspended to the detriment of outstanding researchers. Two additional programmes— the Special Research Programmes and the Research Groups—must be reduced.
Good research is based on critical examination and systematic exploration. The greater the transparency and reproducibility, the greater the trust in research. Integrity and ethics are essential parts of the research process and characteristic features of excellent research in accordance with the highest international standards.
Cutting-edge research always involves a risk, but if it succeeds, there is a good chance of making an innovation leap. Through the 1,000 Ideas programme, the FWF wishes to further enhance Austria’s innovative power by once again supporting high-risk research. Interest in the programme continues to be high during the second call, with 270 researchers submitting proposals. The new projects will be able to commence in summer.
The FWF Supervisory Board has appointed particle physicist Christof Gattringer of the University of Graz until 2024
On 21 January, seven applicants presented themselves for the position of FWF President at a virtual hearing before the FWF Assembly of Delegates. The delegates then held a secret ballot to decide on a shortlist of three candidates. On 10 February, the Supervisory Board of the FWF will elect the next president from the trio of Christof Gattringer (University of Graz), Sabine Schindler (University of Innsbruck), and Miranda Schreurs (Technical University of Munich).