On the State of Scientific Research in Austria – an Extended Pause at the Crossroads

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / OpEds & Commentaries
By Christoph Kratky, et al.

Logo: FWFThe Austrian Science Fund (FWF) represents Austria's central funding organization for basic research. Its mission is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. The FWF's annual reports always include a section that features the FWF's assessment of the state of scientific research in Austria. Given the dynamic developments in the research landscape, the reports' headings frequently contain metaphors relating to roads and travel. In the 2010 report, the section was entitled "A pause at the crossroads," and ultimately referred to fears that Austrian research policy might choose the wrong road from that point.

Thanks to numerous announcements and declarations of intent during the past year, the signs now point to a more favorable situation and there is, indeed, evidence of positive development. To date, little has actually been implemented but – at least for the moment – one can allay concerns about choosing the wrong path. Although Austrian research policy makers have apparently managed to avoid that mistake, true relief can only set in once these announcements and intentions have actually led to concrete measures and actions.

What, then, are the current prospects for research in Austria? What has happened in the last year, and what can we expect for the future?

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