With the support of the Nationalstiftung the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) was issuing for the first time a call for “#ConnectingMinds” in February 2020. This new programme is designed to encourage researchers to include non-academic stakeholders in their research processes. Funding is offered to teams that combine scientific and societal knowledge and thereby attempt to meet social, technological, ecological, and economic challenges.

The #ConnectingMinds programme pursues the following objectives:

  • Initiate cooperative research projects that combine scientific knowledge and practical know-how (transdisciplinary research)
  • Support research projects on topics of high current and future social relevance in which possible solutions are sought to complex challenges
  • Strengthen the dialogue between science and society as well as increase the transfer of research results into practice (support the “third mission” concept)
  • Improve the capacity building of researchers in terms of transdisciplinary research

In the first call for proposals of #ConnectingMinds—which is open to all topics ranging from  digitalisation to nursing care to climate protection to democracy - €4 million is available to researchers at universities and research institutions for projects in which researchers initiate and implement a research process together with people from other different societal organisations. These practical stakeholders can include, for example, representatives from NPO/NGOs, associations, public administrations, companies, and health or educational institutions. The aim is to support the common search for answers to complex contemporary issues and to promote social commitment and collective learning. The commercial exploitation of the research results is not an objective of the programme during the project duration and therefore the exploitation strategies are not part of the funding.

The programme is divided into two stages. In spring 2020, two to five researchers can submit an application for the implementation of a project-specific workshop (#ConnectingMinds workshop). This workshop is intended to support the researchers together with the other project participants (including practical actors) in further developing and elaborating their project idea and their planned research process for a #ConnectingMinds project.

In a second step, the full application for funding for a #ConnectingMinds project can be submitted at the beginning of 2021. A #ConnectingMinds project has a maximum project duration of 5 years with a maximum funding amount of € 200,000 per year. The target group and the requirements are the same for a #ConnectingMinds workshop and for the further #ConnectingMinds project. Only those applicants who have successfully carried out a workshop are eligible for the following full application.

Please note the following when applying for a #ConnectingMinds workshop:

Target group

  • The programme is aimed at research teams from all scientific disciplines.  The standard FWF requirements for researchers apply, particularly with regard to their academic qualifications.
  • One researcher acts as the coordinator for the #ConnectingMinds project; each researcher may take part in only one proposal for a #ConnectingMinds project.
  • The formal application is submitted by the Austrian research institution; all Austrian research institutions are eligible; there is no limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by a research institution. A research institution can thus submit several applications.

Implementation of thematically focused project-specific workshops intended to prepare research collaborations and applications for a transdisciplinary #ConnectingMinds research project.

The proposal must be prepared as described in the guidelines, coordinated with the applicant or the participating research institution(s) and submitted by the applicant research institution.

  • Team of at least 2 and at most 5 scientific or arts-based researchers whose research track records meet the FWF's standards;  the team should have a high level of complementarity in terms of their qualifications, expertise and experience;
  • Innovative research approach that addresses a social issue with one or more specific challenges and develops possible solution options;
  • Use of a transdisciplinary research process with the possibility of involving practitioners including the planning of know-how exchange activities and capacity-building measures (for the researchers involved).

The project-specific workshop should last 1 to 3 days and must be conducted between October and December 2020.

Maximum of €10,000 for the carrying out of a workshop. These costs will be covered: travel and accomodation costs, costs of catering, daily allowance and other costs.

Via the FWF’s electronic application portal (elane)

  • Currently no pending calls


  • Final funding decisions will be taken by the FWF Board based on the recommendations of the international #ConnectingMinds jury


Application guidelines

Application guidelines #ConnectingMinds