More basic research for a sustainable future: Under the title “Zero Emissions Award,” €4.5 million in funding has been made available to gain new knowledge for the energy transition thanks to a private grant to the alpha+ Foundation.

In order to achieve climate neutrality for Austria by 2040, new findings from basic research are also essential. For this reason, the FWF’s alpha+ Foundation invites researchers from all disciplines to submit proposals for the new Zero Emissions Award. The aim is to fill gaps in knowledge, find groundbreaking approaches, and initiate innovations. The Zero Emissions Award enables researchers from all scientific disciplines to carry out pioneering research projects in the field of renewable energies and the energy transition in Austria. 

Multi million donation for a sustainable future

The donation stems from the US businessman Patrick S. Dumont, an entrepreneur with Austrian roots, who approached the FWF’s alpha+ Foundation through the Austrian law firm Wolf Theiss to support climate-relevant basic research. Patrick Dumont is Chief Operating Officer and President of the listed US company Las Vegas Sands, which is a global leader in the design and operation of international resort properties and casinos. The grant itself comes from him personally and extends his philanthropic commitment to science and research in Austria.

“For a successful transformation of the energy system towards climate neutrality, ideas and impulses from science and research are needed. I am pleased that we were able to get a private sponsor to make a philanthropic commitment in this forward-looking field, giving researchers in Austria the opportunity to generate new knowledge on the energy transition. The Zero Emissions Award is an asset for the research location and will promote the transformation to a sustainable future,” said Georg Winckler, Chair of the Board of Directors of the alpha+ Foundation, on the announcement of the new funding award. 

“With his support, Patrick Dumont is sending a strong signal for philanthropy in science and research in Austria. We hope that his generous support will inspire more science-minded individuals to create momentum in basic research and work towards a sustainable future,” says Ursula Jakubek, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the alpha+ Foundation and Executive Vice President of the FWF.

“My commitment is based on two areas that are personally important to me: the promotion of excellent science and research in one of today’s most relevant areas, namely the fight against climate change, and investment and advancements in green technologies. Supporting research in Austria is also a way for me to honor my family’s Austrian history.  With the FWF, I have found an institution that not only aims for the highest scientific standards, but also connects these areas,” says Patrick Dumont.

Awarded according to the highest scientific standards 

The prize will be awarded in accordance with the FWF’s internationally recognized quality assurance procedures. The FWF uses independent international reviewers to assess the project ideas submitted. The FWF's Scientific Board will pre-select the projects worthy of funding, while the alpha+ Foundation will make the final selection on the basis of the Scientific Board's proposals.

For excellent basic research on the energy transition

The focus lies on research projects that address one of the following three areas:

  • Basic research from all scientific disciplines to trigger innovations in the field of renewable energies and energy transition
  • Basic research for technologies that contribute to the success of the energy transition
  • Basic research in the field of behavioral research on the use of renewable energies.

Submission from June 2023 

The €4.5 million in funding will be awarded over five years. €900,000 will be available in the first round of awards, which will be distributed among one or more projects depending on the submissions. Submissions can be made to the FWF starting in June. Additional incentives are in place to make the Zero Emissions Award even more attractive to researchers, who can use the funding to focus on a research question together with their group for up to four years. 

About the alpha+ Charitable Foundation of the Austrian Science Fund FWF

With the alpha+ Foundation, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) was the first publicly funded research funding agency in Europe to establish a nonprofit foundation to channel philanthropy as a means of opening up additional opportunities for Austria’s researchers in basic research. The objective of the FWF’s alpha+ Foundation is to create new research grants based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on addressing the climate crisis and supporting the careers of highly talented young researchers. Currently, private donations allow the FWF to finance research projects worth €1.5 million each year. In addition, around 30 researchers have received funding thanks to charitable donations to the alpha+ Foundation. 

Do you want to help open a new chapter in Austrian research history?

Not only large donations, but also smaller donations can make a big difference. Get in touch for an initial conversation. We look forward to meeting you and introducing all of the available options.

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