June 28, 2016

IST Austria Evaluation: “An excellent start“

Second evaluation of institute acknowledges accomplishments so far – future challenges are identified – ambitious long-term goal can be achieved

In today’s meeting the Council of Ministers of the Austrian Federal Government discussed the evaluation report of IST Austria. The institute is legally required to undergo an evaluation every four year. As is stipulated by law, the evaluation report will be passed on to the Austrian National Council.

A top-class review panel, chaired by Roger Kornberg, Nobel laureate 2006 in Chemistry, evaluated the development effort and research output of the institute in compliance with international standards and drew a very positive conclusion for the 2011-2015 period. The international panel of six reviewers―three Nobel laureates and a Turing awardee among them―left no doubt about the future challenges to achieve the ambitious long-term goal of becoming an international leader in basic research.

The Kornberg report says: "The next years will prove crucial if the IST Austria is to achieve the goal of international distinction. The IST Austria has made an excellent start, accomplishing the difficult task of starting from scratch and laying a foundation for future development, but the next step, rising to the top, will be even more difficult."

"The core message is very encouraging to me," states IST Austria Present Tom Henzinger, "the direction and the pace are right, the mountain in front of us is huge but surmountable. Over the last five years we not only achieved world-class accomplishments in research but also laid a solid foundation for a top-class institute. I am very grateful for the comprehensive, impartial, and critical view that the Kornberg report gives of IST Austria. It acknowledges our way to success and motivates us to carry on."

Chaired by Roger Kornberg, Nobel laureate for Chemistry (Stanford University), the review panel consisted of Sir John Ball, Mathematics (University of Oxford), Ralph Eichler, Physics (ETH Zurich President, 2007-2015), Barbara Liskov, Turing Award, Computer science (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Erwin Neher, Nobel laureate for für Physiology or Medicine, Neuroscience (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen) and Randy Schekman, Nobel laureate for Physiology or Medicine, Biology (University of California, Berkeley). They reviewed extensive information and visited IST Austria in Klosterneuburg for two days in December 2015.

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