First Austrian ERA Progress Report
The first progress report on the implementation of the "Austrian ERA Roadmap" casts light on the reform activities undertaken since the Roadmap was adopted by the Austrian Council of Ministers on 26 April 2016.
The reform projects are grouped by priorities, with the progress report focusing on the initial success with the implementation of the measures. Most Member States and a number of associated countries have undertaken similar reform measures tailored to their individual needs. The EU has assigned each priority a set of indicators intended to help better estimate the need for action in the national innovation systems.
Austria bases its activities around the indicators that have been agreed across Europe, but supplements them with further indicators that are of special significance for Austria. So, after the first year, the "Austrian ERA Roadmap" shows that the implementation of each priority has commenced. This progress report does not look at all measures because it is too early to give a comprehensive picture of the status of implementation for every single reform project after just one year. Initial examples for the successful implementation of the "Austrian ERA Roadmap" can be found in all priorities:
● Austria subjects the country’s performance in HORIZON 2020 and in the ERA to a comprehensive evaluation. Findings for further strengthening the interactions between the framework programme and the ERA are derived from this. Connected to this is the expectation that the excellence indicator in Priority 1 will continue to show Austria in a good position.
● The increasing importance of transnational research initiatives is supported by the indicators of Priority 2a. Austria has begun to improve the links between the national RTI players with regard to the major social challenges through networking platforms (Network Ageing, Personalised Medicine, Sustainable Water Systems) in order to put in place the prerequisites for further transnational cooperations at programme level.
● Austria has a national roadmap for research infrastructures with ESFRI projects, on the basis of which it collaborates successfully on specific projects (e.g. CTA project, EuroBioImaging project).
● The recruitment of researchers from EU and third countries at universities is highlighted in an indicator of Priority 3, which is responded to in the measures section by the reform of the "Red-White-Red" card. In future, it will be easier for a third-country citizen with a bachelor’s degree to obtain a "Red-White-Red" card and work in Austria. The reform project additionally allows a longer deadline for university graduates to look for employment on the Austrian labour market. This reform will support the universities with the recruitment of specialists from third countries.
● A participative process was employed to initiate an action plan for a gender-sensitive change in culture, which amongst other things will contribute to a reduction in the discrimination of women in science in the ‘glass ceiling’ indicator (Priority 4).
● Austria is making further efforts to promote the efficient and rapid utilisation of academic research results by innovative companies, whether in science transfer centres, the CD laboratories or research centres. This will further boost Austria’s already good position in the indicators of Priority 5, which measure the collaboration between science and economy.
● Priority 6 lists numerous joint programmes, calls and projects for Austria which have a bilateral or multilateral character and are being implemented in 2016/17. The relevant indicator must be further developed in this area in order to depict all of these activities.
The facts and figures of this Progress Report can be viewed in depth on a dashboard on the FFG website at: https://eupm.ffg.at/. This report should be seen as supplementing the monitoring carried out by the European Commission through the "ERA Progress Report 2016".