The Institute of Science and Technology - Austria ISTA

bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Guest Commentaries on the Institute of Science and Technology - Austria
by Erich Gornik

The Institute of Science and Technology - Austria was established through a decision of the Austrian Parliament in early April of 2006. More than €600 million has been allocated over a 10 year period.

The idea for this institute comes from Anton Zeilinger, Professor at the University of Vienna and well-known scientist for his centennial contributions to quantum optics.

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Comment on ISTA by Martin Nowak

bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Guest Commentaries on the Institute of Science and Technology - Austria
by
Martin Nowak

"I am very pleased that Austria has decided to establish a new "university of excellence." In my opinion this is an important step in the right direction, because successful scientific research needs a diversity of institutions and funding agencies. If the new institute can attract and support the best people from Europe and elsewhere, then this would be a significant achievement.

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"Elite-Uni" - Progress or Political Dead-End?

bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Guest Commentaries on the Institute of Science and Technology - Austria
by Christine Mrakotsky

The pursuit of excellence and competition in science and technology in Europe today is a positive and welcome development. Austria has a long-standing history of well-founded education and as such should not lag behind its European partners when it comes to research. However, whether or not this can be accomplished through the proposed "Elite-Uni" is highly questionable. While without a doubt Austria needs universities and research institutes that are more competitive on international standards, it would seem most natural to invest in and build on existing infrastructures.

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Location, Location, Location?

bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Guest Commentaries on the Institute of Science and Technology - Austria
by Maria Christina Binz-Scharf

What appears to be the single most important asset in the New York real estate market should not be nearly as dominant in discussions about a scientific institution: its location. Ever since the Austrian Minister of Education, Elisabeth Gehrer, announced in January that the planned "Institute of Science and Technology - Austria" (ISTA) would be established in Gugging, all other concerns about the ISTA seem to have been relegated to the back burner. The location argument is now seriously endangering the success of the whole project, to the point that its initiator, the physicist Anton Zeilinger, has withdrawn from the project, leaving the ISTA without a scientific director.

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Institute of Science and Technology - Austria (ISTA) - Quo Vadis?

bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Guest Commentaries on the Institute of Science and Technology - Austria
by
Gregor Kos

The current proposal for the establishment of an "Institute of Science and Technology - Austria," often termed a "University of Excellence," suffers from a series of flaws including a lack of integration with existing research institutions and a lack of funding within the research community of which this institute will be a part. Although concrete plans concerning organizational details are already being made, it is not yet clear what fields of research will be included and what strategic goals should be achieved. The proposed research institute, which will be rather small with a staff of 300 scientists, can only be successful on an international level if it is built on a solid financial and organizational base made up of Austrian universities, research centers, and funding agencies, and is integrated within the European Union.

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