September 21, 2018

Austria in the fast line of science

Nature Index identifies Austria as one of six countries globally with the most dynamic development of their research systems

Nature Index yesterday published the results of a study aimed at identifying those institutions and countries that are in the fast lane scientifically. The positive result: Austria is among the six countries in the world with the highest absolute and relative increase in output from 2015 to 2017, according to the Nature Index Method.

 According to this survey, Austria is particularly strong in the top quality segment of scientific publications. The so-called “Fractional Count (FC)” has seen particularly high increases at the University of Vienna, the Institute of Science and Technology in Klosterneuburg and the Academy of Sciences.

"This is an extremely pleasing finding. This Nature Index analysis provides us with objective confirmation that Austria as a science location is developing extremely well and that its scientific productivity - also in qualitative terms - is increasing. We owe this to the outstanding work of our scientists, whose achievements lay the foundation for the country's future sustainability. Politicians can and will significantly support this positive trend by further improving the framework conditions for research in Austria," said Science Minister Heinz Faßmann, commenting on the positive result.

For Thomas Henzinger, President of IST Austria, the figures published yesterday in the Nature Index survey are particularly encouraging. Among the young research institutes (younger than 30 years), IST Austria is in 8th place worldwide and the only institute outside Asia to be in the top 10. "Every ranking has its pitfalls. What is certain, however, is that in the first years of its existence our campus has developed into an extremely productive place for basic research of the highest quality. The feedback from Nature Index is an indication that we are on the right track and that our ambitious goals are realistic," says Tom Henzinger about the Nature Index analysis.

"Basic research at the highest level and in a wide variety of disciplines - this is what the Austrian Academy of Sciences stands for," says Anton Zeilinger, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and affirms: "We support the best minds in science and promote research with a willingness to take risks. The Academy's leading position in Nature's ranking shows that we are on the right track and excellently positioned in the international competition. The fact that Austria is ranked alongside China in this ranking makes it impressively clear that the courage of politics and science in Austria is worthwhile when investing in basic research."

"The University of Vienna, with its broad range of disciplines, is a top performer in areas ranging from the natural and life sciences to the humanities and social sciences," said Heinz Engl, Rector of the University of Vienna. "Within the framework of its current development plan, the University of Vienna is planning to establish approximately 50 new and thematically innovative professorships. This will be made possible by the new university financing. This represents a major step towards securing international competitiveness in research, which will also have a direct impact on studies and teaching. A large number of newly appointed professors will bring new academic accents in research and teaching. The quality of the courses offered will reach students if the quantitative supervision ratios are right," said Engl.

Nature Index is one instrument for measuring the success of scientific institutions. Publications of scientific results in the most respected and well-known academic journals count as the currency of success. The Nature Index is based on a list of 82 quality journals from various fields of the natural sciences. This makes it possible to identify those researchers and their institutes and universities who have the greatest impact on the global research landscape.