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June 25, 2020

IST Austria considers Forschungsfinanzierungsgesetz to be the right signal

Long-term financial security and autonomy are the foundation of successful research

Campus IST Austria © Reiner Riedler/IST Austria

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) welcomed the draft of the Forschungsfinanzierungsgesetz presented by Federal Minister Faßmann and the Austrian Federal Government last week in Vienna. According to the plans submitted by the Federal Government, research funding is to be put on a new footing.

“We welcome a long-term strategy for research institutions and funding organizations. In this respect, we are particularly pleased with the goal of longer-term, less bureaucratic research funding, especially the FWF’s support, which has been extended from one to three years. The example of IST Austria, in particular, shows how successful Austrian projects can be in research policy if they have a long-term planning horizon and secure, flexibly deployable funds. This is one of IST Austria’s recipes for success, and only in this way was it possible for us to become a world leader in basic research in 10 years,” said President Tom Henzinger.

Professor Thomas Henzinger, IST Austria. © Johannes Zinner IST Austria.
Professor Thomas Henzinger, IST Austria. © Johannes Zinner/IST Austria.

IST President Tom Henzinger sees a particular advantage in the fact that IST Austria will be able to offer combined Master+PhD programs. Until now, this has been a shortcoming, which was also mentioned as a disadvantage in the current evaluation report of IST Austria, whereby outstanding bachelor’s graduates seeking a quick start to a research career would often have preferred other international institutions. IST Austria started its research operations near Vienna in 2009 and has trained 86 PhD students since 2010.

The expansion of research funding on a national level contributes significantly to strengthening the research area and increasing its global competitiveness. “There is no doubt that there is enormous potential for top international research. Austria can become a gravitational center for talent in science and research and a global hub in the brain circulation of the brightest minds. Of course, this also requires a strong financial growth perspective for Austrian research, including IST Austria,” Tom Henzinger concluded.


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