excellent=austria is a funding initiative launched by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to enhance Austria’s reputation in the international scientific community as a top location for research.

The FWF is now rolling out the next phase of the excellent=austria initiative: Emerging Fields, Austria’s new funding programme for researchers who are doing pioneering work in basic research and are prepared to break with established schools of thought, is starting today. 

With this new programme, the FWF will be providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue particularly innovative, original, and/or high-risk ideas. The chosen approaches can vary widely. For example, researchers can directly challenge fundamental elements of traditional models or approaches in their field, combine theories and methods from different disciplines, and harness new technologies to identify new problems or look at old ones from a new perspective. Ultimately, the ideas submitted for funding must have the potential to transform a field of research or create a paradigm shift within or between disciplines. 

The programme is particularly open to interdisciplinary teams and to researchers in arts-based research who apply aesthetic and artistic methods, as well as to transdisciplinary approaches that allow researchers to involve non-academic participants from outside the scientific community.

Identify and explore the fields of the future

The programme makes it easier for researchers to identify and explore research fields and topics with the potential to make major impacts in the future. Emerging Fields is also intended to help universities and other research institutions gain a competitive edge in generating knowledge,  strengthening Austria’s role as a pioneer in the race for innovation.

Multi-phase decision-making process: Innovative potential is key

The main criterion in the decision-making process is the research proposal’s potential for innovation. For this programme, the FWF has decided on a multi-phase decision-making procedure consisting of pre-selection by a jury of experts, written reviews by international reviewers, and a jury hearing. The final funding decision will be made by the FWF Board in late 2023/early 2024, based on the results of this multi-phase procedure. 

Apply now: €3-6 million for five years per Emerging Field

Consortia of three to seven researchers and their teams will be given €3-6 million in funding for five years. The total amount of funds available for the first call is €24 million. The FWF plans to issue a new call for Emerging Fields proposals every two years. For the current call, applications are being accepted until 1 February 2023. 

The FWF holds online informational events for researchers interested in the programme. Please sign up here for the date you would like to attend: 28 September, 4 October, and 1 December 2022.

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