The FWF does not fund applied research, only basic research. This refers to research that is knowledge-oriented and whose value is primarily defined by its significance for the advancement of science and scholarship. However, the FWF welcomes every application resulting from an FWF-funded project. The FFG is the contact partner for applied research projects.
Are there quotas for research fields?
No. The FWF does not have a quota system: proposals from all research fields are in open competition for funding.
Are dissertations funded, or can a dissertation be submitted as a project proposal?
The FWF does not grant individual dissertation fellowships; however, doctoral students can be employed to do research work as part of an FWF project and write their dissertation as part of this project. The FWF thus supports the academic education and training of young researchers through these projects. In addition, the FWF supports existing doctoral programmes as part of its doc.funds Programme.
Are there submission deadlines?
For many programmes, applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For a list of the programmes and their submission deadlines, please see Overview of Calls.
Must the application for programmes with a submission deadline be received by the FWF on or before the last day of the submission deadline?
The deadline is considered to be met if the postmark on the envelope is dated on or before the last day of the deadline.
Can some documents be submitted later?
The application should be complete at the time of submission. Any errors or omissions can be corrected within a period of no more than three weeks. Once the review process has started, no more changes can be made to the application. For programmes with submission deadlines, any errors or omissions found must be corrected within a period of no more than 10 calendar days of being notified of the errors and/or omissions by the FWF.
Who reviews the proposal?
Proposals are reviewed exclusively by experts in the field based outside of Austria (international peer review). For projects of an interdisciplinary nature, said nature is taken into consideration and will be reflected in the selection of reviewers. A detailed description of the decision-making process can be found here (pdf, 250KB).
Who decides on the proposal?
The funding decision is made by the FWF Board based on the written reviews or the minutes of hearings with review panels (e.g., SFB). In some programmes, the decision is based on the recommendation of a jury or a board (START/Wittgenstein, PEEK, Young Independent Researcher Groups)
To allow applications to be reviewed by international experts, applications must be submitted in English. If desired, a version in German or another language may be added as a supplement; however, submission solely in German or another project-relevant language other than English is only permitted in exceptional cases. Such exceptions apply exclusively to applications from the fields of linguistic and literary studies which concern only texts in German or languages other than English. In all such cases, it is absolutely necessary to consult the responsible project officers in the FWF specialist departments prior to application and then submit an academic abstract of the project and a brief, convincing justification on the grounds of research for submission in a language other than English. The final decision shall be made by the decision-making bodies of the FWF. In the following programmes, applications must be submitted in English without exception: START, KLIF, SFB, Research Groups, and Young Independent Researcher Groups.
Can the salary of the principal investigator (PI) be funded as part of the project? Must the PI be employed at a university?
For persons who are sufficiently qualified and have research experience (usually postdocs), there is the possibility to fund their principal investigator salary as part of the FWF project. These persons are given the status of “FWF Fellows” (grant-salaried principal investigators). FWF Fellows at universities or non-university research institutions who have a respective agreement with the FWF (e.g., ÖAW, AIT, LBG, etc.) receive a contract of employment. In any case, applicants must provide a confirmation from the research institution for the period of time needed to conduct the project. Detailed information on grant-salaried principal investigators can be found here (pdf, 108KB).
Is it possible to apply for partial funding of the principal investigator’s salary (if you are employed, for example, 50% at a university)?
Yes, it is possible unless the specific guidelines of the programme prohibit it. It is also possible to take a partial leave of absence from a university position for the period in which you are working as a grant-salaried principal investigator. However, the standard personnel costs of the FWF will be used to define the funded part of the principal investigator’s salary.
Can grant-salaried principal investigators apply for two projects simultaneously?
Yes, if it concerns project proposals focusing on different research content (double funding is not permitted). Applicants can request a salary in both applications, but they must state, at the latest when submitting the second project, in which of the two projects they wish to receive the salary.
If both projects are approved, the principal investigator will receive her/his salary from the project indicated by her/him.
Must an FWF principal investigator have Austrian citizenship?
No. However, if funds are requested for the salary of the principal investigator (FWF Fellow, grant-salaried principal investigator), the following applies: the applicant must either have resided (“main place of residence”) in Austria for at least three of the last 10 years prior to submitting the application, or the applicant must have been working continuously as a researcher in Austria for at least two years prior to submitting the application; both regardless of citizenship. Persons who fail to meet these requirements are not eligible to apply. (Exceptions: Lise Meitner, PEEK, and START Programmes).
Does the FWF expect the applicant to submit a list of suggestions for reviewers?
The FWF does not wish to receive, nor will it consider a list of potential reviewers. Applicants can, however, include a list of up to three potential reviewers that should not be asked to review the application due to possible conflicts of interest. A short explanation must be given for the choice of reviewers, and requests will generally be fulfilled if the grounds for the exclusion are found to be professionally and technically sound.
Must you have already been published to submit an FWF project, and if so, what are the requirements?
For all FWF programmes (with the exception of PEEK and Stand-Alone Publications), applicants must show that they possess the research qualifications needed to carry out the project by means of a publication record commensurate with their career stage. Most relevant in assessing the applicant’s publication record are those publications that have undergone a quality assurance procedure in line with international standards (peer review or an equivalent procedure) as well as the number/scope, quality and the international visibility of the applicant’s publications.
At the time of submission, at least two of the publications over the last five years must meet these criteria. Detailed information on the requirements can be found in the respective application guidelines of the programme. Should an applicant fail to meet one or more of the above criteria, the applicant must include an explanation with the application. Justified career breaks (e.g., parental leave, caring for a family member, or long-term illness) and any exceptions to typical career paths due to disability and/or chronic illness should be explained in the academic CV and made visible to the reviewers. In cases of doubt, the decision-making bodies of the FWF shall decide whether the research qualifications are adequate.
Why are international and/or peer-reviewed publications a requirement?
Reviewers are asked to assess whether the applicants are potentially capable of carrying out the proposed research project. This is only possible if the applicant already has internationally visible publications.
Moreover, international and/or peer-reviewed publications provide reviewers with the evidence they need to determine whether the previous publications have been subject to a quality assurance procedure or are available to a broad international specialist audience that extends beyond the borders of Austria.
What is the Open Research Data Policy and the Data Management Plan (DMP)?
The Open Research Data Policy and the Data Management Plan describe how the data for a research project are collected, organised, saved, secured, stored, shared, archived, and destroyed. A DMP does not have to be submitted with the application but only once the project has been approved. The project cannot begin until the DMP has been submitted. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged to keep the DMP criteria in mind when preparing the application.