Research Groups: Networking of Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary Teams of Three to Five Researchers Independent of Location

With the support of the national foundation, in March 2018 the FWF is issuing a call for “Research Groups”. The concept application must be submitted on the basis of the guidelines by 30 September 2018.

Target groups

  • A team of three to five internationally outstanding researchers from all scientific/scholarly disciplines,1 in all scientific disciplines, in particular from the humanities, social sciences and cultural sciences, form a research group at Austrian research institutions. Participation in a research group is possible in addition to the currently applicable project number restriction of three FWF projects.
  • Researchers with a 25% connection to an Austrian research institution can participate in a research group2.
  • One researcher acts as coordinator of the research group.
  • The formal application is submitted by the Austrian research institution; there is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by a research institution. A research institution can thus submit several applications.


  • Funding of cooperation projects between researchers at smaller locations or in certain scientific/scholarly disciplines that cooperate in smaller formats
  • Medium-term research cooperation (up to five years) on a complex, current topic in mixed teams of at least three to max. five researchers (at least one third of the under-represented gender, with the gender ratio in the team being defined as a decision-relevant criterion within the framework of the evaluation)
  • Innovative interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research cooperation that deepens or consolidates a topic
  • Integration of junior researchers in a leading role
  • Description of an internationalisation strategy to connect to the international scientific/scholarly community


Before submitting a concept proposal (publication of the proposal guidelines at the end of March 2018), the researchers at the research group must jointly agree on the thematic requirements described below (e. g. research programme, team, etc.):

Research programme

  • State of research on which the research group is based
  • Multi-/interdisciplinary3, innovative4 research approaches in the research group’s programme
  • Presentation of the common goals and questions in the research group in the case of an interdisciplinary research approach
    • by using a coherent and consistent terminology
    • by identifying the relevant characteristics of the problem
    • by presenting the aspects to be examined
    • by combining the various disciplinary theories into a common theoretical approach
    • by the representation of how the synthesis is formed – shared “language”, theoretical basis, individual contributions
  • Concise presentation of the innovative and “cutting-edge” character of the research topic
  • Description of the thematic coherence and the expected innovation value through collaboration in the research group;
  • Analysis/concept for the gender-appropriate orientation of research approaches where thematically relevant; analysis on ethical aspects

Quality and composition of the research team

  • For every scientist/scholar
    • Description of qualification, expertise, scientific potential, available capacity and scientific/scholarly  vision
    • International cooperation
  • For the team
    • Presentation of internal cooperation, communication structure and strategy for international exchange

Continuing effects

Dissemination strategies and scientific/scholarly communication: measures with regard to the profile of the research group.

Review process

At least three external expert opinions are obtained from the FWF for each formally correct concept proposal. If the concept proposal is approved in May 2019, the research group will be invited to submit the full proposal and the corresponding guidelines will be sent with this invitation. This full proposal must be drafted accordingly and coordinated with the applying and the participating research institution (s). The full proposals submitted will be examined by a panel. The exact procedure for the review of the full proposal will be provided with the guidelines for the full proposal. The decision on the full proposals will be taken in November 2019.


Maximum five years


Maximum €300,000 per year; these costs cover: personnel costs for one’s own position as well as colleagues (PhDs, postdocs) material, equipment, travel, other expenses and five per cent of general project costs

Concept proposal

The concept proposal should be submitted to the FWF by 30 September 2018 at the latest (publication of concept guidelines end of March 2018 on the FWF homepage).


1 The scientific/scholarly qualification for project implementation must be documented by international publications (in a number corresponding to the career progression) see SFB programme p. 2, 371KB).
Researchers who have completed medical studies in Austria are only entitled with a degree according to N, O, Q 201 or N, O, Q 094 or according to N, O 790, Q 794 or N 090 (to be listed in the curriculum vitae).

2 If a researcher is linked to an Austrian research institution by 25 % contract of employment, he/she can participate in the Research Groups programme after consultation with the FWF.

3 “Interdisciplinarity” means the integration-oriented cooperation between persons from at least two disciplines with regard to common goals and results in which the disciplinary perspectives are brought together to form an overall view.

4 Questions for the reviewers: How does the proposal advance frontier research and unconventional scientific approaches? Does the proposed project have the potential to question and/or change existing paradigms in the fields involved or beyond?