In 2007, only a year after the founding of IST Austria, the European Research Council (ERC) was established by the EU as an initiative to fund excellent science in Europe. Chances to obtain one of its sought-after grants worth 1.5 to 2.5 Million Euro amount to only about 10-13%, depending on grant category. IST Austria, on the other hand, can be proud of a success rate of 50%. Meanwhile, more than 60% of IST Austria‘s professors under contract have obtained one or more ERC grants and have brought ERC funding worth a total of 48.9 Million Euro to Austria. Together with funding from other European programs worth 13.4 million Euro this adds up to more than 62 million Euro of EU funds that the Institute directed to Austria. This money not only makes excellent research possible, it also allows professors to hire additional doctoral students and post-docs and therefore creates employment and student positions in Austria.
The ERC has contributed 58% of the third-party science funding of IST Austria. Another 23% come from other international sources, and 19% from national funding sources such as the Austrian Science Fund FWF (17%).
About one third of IST Austria’s federal budget is a conditional, performance-dependent budget that is only made available if the same amount of third-party funding has been obtained. Applying for third-party funding therefore has played a crucial role since the founding of the institute. A dedicated grant office supports the scientists in the preparation of their project proposals. Together with the excellent quality of the research performed by IST’s professors this lead to an impressive success: The 95 million Euro, which had been put aside as performance-dependent budget in 2006, were not only reached but exceeded. By the end of 2016 even the 100 million Euro threshold was surpassed.