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

With the support of the Nationalstiftung FWF is again issuing a call for “Research Groups” in March 2019. The draft proposal must be submitted on the basis of the new guidelines by 30 September 2019 at the latest.

Target group

  • A team of three to five internationally outstanding researchers from all scientific/scholarly disciplines,1 in particular from the humanities, social sciences and cultural sciences, form a research group at Austrian research institutions.
  • Participation in a maximum of one research group is possible in addition to the currently applicable project number restriction of three FWF projects.
  • Researchers who have a 25% affiliation with an Austrian research institution can participate in a research group 2.
  • One researcher acts as coordinator of the research group.
  • 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.


  • Funding of cooperation projects between researchers at locations3 with more limited research infrastructure or in certain scientific/scholarly disciplines that cooperate on smaller scales
  • Medium-term research cooperation (up to five years) on a complex, current topic in mixed teams of at least three and no more than five researchers (at least one third of the team members should be from the underrepresented gender as the gender ratio of the team is a decision-relevant criterion)
  • Innovative interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research cooperation that examines a topic in more depth or breadth
  • Integration of junior researchers in a leading role
  • Description of an internationalisation strategy to connect to the international research community


Before submitting a draft proposal, the researchers of the research group must 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
  • Innovative4, multi-/interdisciplinary5 research approaches in the research group’s programme
  • Definition 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 defining the aspects to be examined
    • by combining the various disciplinary theories into a common theoretical approach
    • by defining how the synthesis will be formed – shared “language”, theoretical basis, individual contributions
  • Concise definition 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
  • Consideration/plan for the gender-sensitive orientation of research approaches where thematically relevant; consideration of ethical aspects

Quality and composition of the research team

  • For every researcher
    • Description of qualification, expertise, research potential, sufficient time resources and vision for research
    • International cooperation(s)
  • For the team
    • Definition of internal cooperation, communication structure and strategy for international exchange

Impact and dissemination

Dissemination strategies and research communication: measures for increasing the visibility of the research group


Maximum five years


Maximum €1,500,000; these funds cover personnel costs for one’s own position as well as colleagues (PhDs, postdocs), materials, equipment, travel, other expenses and five percent of general project costs


Via the FWF’s electronic application portal

  • Approval via the lead research organisation by 30 September 2019 at the latest 
  • English guidelines will be published 30 of April at the latest
  • in English


Once a year during the last board meeting by the FWF Board based on an international review process


1 Applicants must show that they possess the research qualifications needed to carry out the project by means of a publication record over the last 5 years commensurate with their career stage, which demonstrates their international visibility.

2 Potential applicants are considered eligible in cases where they have a genuine part-time contract of employment (extent of employment: at least 25%) which is not funded by the FWF and which is guaranteed for the planned duration of the project. Before submitting an application, researchers are required to submit evidence of such an employment arrangement and a brief description of the project, including a plan for its execution, information on the researcher's presence on site, rules of representation, etc., for approval by the FWF.

3 Research location = all research institutions located in a city/municipality; all research institutions within a maximum radius of 80 km (as the crow flies) that regularly cooperate with the research institution directly located at the site are also considered to be the same research location.

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?

5 “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 vision.