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17 Apr 2018

More than € 870 million H2020 funding received by Austria so far

At a joint press conference today, 17 April 2018, Heinz Faßmann (Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research), Henrietta Egerth (Managing Director of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG) and Dr. Nuno Maulide (Austrian ERC Grantee) took stock of Austria's performance in Horizon 2020 so far, including an outlook on the upcoming 9th Research Framework Programme.

Austria is among the top 3 countries with regard to the success rate of projects with Austrian participation in the EU Research Framework Programme Horizon. Austrian researchers and enterprises have so far been able to receive a total of € 871 of funding from Horizon 2020 (data as of March 2018), thus bringing Austria closer to its ambitous target of receiving a total of € 1.5 billion over the total duration of the Framework Programme.

Austria is particularly successful in the Excellence pillar with ERC Grants, and also in the enterprise sector:

  • With regard to the success rate for participations, Austria's rate of 16.9 percent is well above the average of all countries (14.7 percent) as well as of the EU-28 average (14.6 percent). Austria is among the top 3 countries in this respect, after Belgium (17.7 percent) and France (17.0 percent).
  • Austria has a total of 2,188 participations selected for funding at present, which is a 2.8 percent share of all participations selected for funding in the Framework Programme.
  • As regards the coordinators selected for funding, Austria's 439 coordinators represent a 2.5% share of the total.
  • Since the start of Horizon 2020 in 2014, researchers in Austrian higher education and research institutions have been awarded a total of 115 ERC Grants, with around € 205 million of funding.
  • Austrian enterprises perform very well in Horizon 2020, also thanks to support received by the Austrian Economic Chambers and the FFG, with a total of 462 enterprises receiving around 325 million of funding.

Minister Faßmann highlighted the large number of ERC Grants received and regards these as proof of the level of excellence to be found at Austrian universities and research institutions. In order to support Austrian institutions and provide incentives, Minister Faßmann announced that a "Nurturing Talents Prize", initiated and funded by the BMBWF and managed by FFG, will be awarded to Austrian ERC host institutions for the first time this year. This Prize is based on recommendations of the ERA Council Forum Austria, chaired by former ERC President Dr. Helga Nowotny. A call for the "Nurturing Talents Prize" will be launched in early May 2018. The two prizes of € 10,000 each will be awarded at the FFG FORUM on 13 September 2018.

Nuno Maulide, ERC Starting Grantee and professor at the University of Vienna, praised the ERC Grants as "a unique funding mechanism offering numerous advantages ...first, because it funds excellent and visionary projects in the field of basic research directly ... second, because with a funding amount of between 1.5 and 3 million euro, it provides the grantee with a high level of indepencence, which is particularly important in the early stage of a career... Third, ERC Grants convey the European ideal of unlimited mobility of people within the European Union, as the Grant always follows the researcher ... The ERC is probably the best thing the EU has done so far for pure, high-risk/high-gain basic research", Mr. Maulide concluded.

FFG Managing Director Henrietta Egerth highlighted the role of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency as advisory institution and National Contact Point for participation in the Framework Programmes, preparing the ground for Austria's successful participation. With a view to Framework Programme participation of universities, Ms. Egerth said the FFG would look at more strongly promoting particular measures such as the ERC "Proof of Concept" grant. Universities are participating less strongly in Horizon 2020 by 10 percent than they did in the 7th Framework Programme, while the participation of Austrian enterprises has increased by 10 percent. With a view to FP9, Ms. Egerth sees this as a challenge to try to strengthen the participation of universities in the field of the grand societal challenges.

Minister Faßmann also referred to FP9 and the upcoming Austrian EU Council Presidency during the second half of 2018, saying, "This is also, and in particular in the field of science and research - an exciting challenge". In addition to a total of around 40 RTI events, the focus will be on the 9th Framework Programme negotiations, which will essentially take place during the Austrian Presidency. Minister Faßmann announced that "as a first milestone, I will invite the research ministers from all EU Member States to come to Vienna on 16/17 July 2018, in order to explore how much consensus there is, and how many open points there will be in the negotiations. At the end of our Presidency, we would like to achieve broad agreement on many aspects of the 9th Framework Programme".

For more information:

Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research - press release (in German)

FFG - press release (in German)

Photo: Federal Minister Heinz Faßmann, Managing Director Henrietta Egerth, ERC Grantee Dr. Nuno Maulide ((c) Martin Lusser / BMBWF)

(all translations by ERA Portal Austria)

 

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