Third-party funding acquired by the University of Vienna in 2019

Main Building University of Vienna

Regarding the acquisition of third-party funding from national funding bodies, 2019 has been a successful year for the University of Vienna: The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has awarded 147 grants in total to research projects of the University of Vienna in 2019. The Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) has awarded grants to six research projects, two of which are cooperation projects of the University of Vienna. Thirteen female academics secured funding through the Elise Richter and the Hertha Firnberg Programmes.

Wittgenstein Awards 2019  

In 2019, the most prestigious award for academic achievements in the Austrian research landscape was awarded to historian Philipp Ther (left) and microbiologist Michael Wagner (right), who received 1.5 million euros of funding each. (© FWF/Novotny)

The “Austrian Nobel prize” went to two researchers of the University of Vienna in 2019: Philipp Ther from the Department of East European History and Michael Wagner from the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science. This award aims to provide utmost freedom and flexibility for internationally outstanding research achievements. Even if the two academics investigate entirely different topics (the history of migration on the one hand, and microbiology on the other), their research has one thing in common: it is highly relevant as it focuses on the currently pressing issues of migration, nationalism and climate change. 

Read our article "Zwei Wittgenstein-Preise und ein START-Preis für die Universität Wien" (two Wittgenstein Awards and one START Prize for the University of Vienna) (June 2019, in German) to find out more 
Further information about the Wittgenstein Award of the FWF

START Prize 2019

The FWF awarded six START Prizes in total to “outstanding young researchers” in 2019.  José Luis Romero from the University of Vienna is one of these outstanding researchers. (© Barbara Mair/University of Vienna)

The START Programme is targeted at early stage top researchers from all disciplines and aims to provide them with long-term financial security of up to 1.2 million euros in carrying out their research projects. José Luis Romero from the Faculty of Mathematics received a START Prize in 2019 for his project Time-Frequency Analysis, Randomness and Sampling. The grant enables the early stage researcher to establish his own research group.

Read our article "Zwei Wittgenstein-Preise und ein START-Preis für die Universität Wien" (two Wittgenstein Awards and one START Prize for the University of Vienna) (June 2019, in German) to find out more
Further information about the START Programme of the FWF

Special Research Programmes (SFBs)

Several large-scale projects have again been able to acquire funding from the FWF in 2019. The new special research programme (SFB) Targeted Protein Degradation – from Small Molecules to Complex Organelles has been established at the University of Vienna. It will be coordinated by Sascha Martens, group leader at the Max Perutz Labs (University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna) and head of the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the Centre for Molecular Biology of the University of Vienna. 

Another SFB, established at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and run in cooperation with the Centre for Molecular Biology, will focus on stem cell modulation in neural development and regeneration. The Faculty of Chemistry cooperates with the Medical University of Vienna in the new SFB RNADeco: Decorating RNA for a Purpose

The SFB German in Austria (DiÖ), which has been established in 2016 as a cooperation between the University of Vienna, the University of Salzburg and the University of Graz, has been extended. Alexandra Lenz from the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies is the speaker of this SFB.

Further information about Special Research Programmes of the FWF

Elise Richter and Hertha Firnberg Programmes

Thirteen projects launched at the University of Vienna obtained grants from FWF career development programmes for female academics in 2019: six projects receive funding from the Elise Richter Programme for senior postdoctoral candidates and seven projects receive funding from the Hertha Firnberg Programme for postdoctoral candidates.

Elise Richter Grant Recipients in 2019 and their projects:

Hyunji Kim from the Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education and Economy investigates immediate and extended self-relevant information. Catherine Charton from the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies conducts research in her project Practices and Projections: on Siglo the Oro Theatre. Melinda Pickup from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research conducts research on the evolutionary dynamics of self-incompatibility in plants. Two academics from the Department of English and American Studies received Elise Richter Grants: Marie-Luise Pitzl for her research project English as a Lingua Franca in Transient International Groups and Marie Katharina Wiedlack for her project Rivals of the Past, Children of the Future. The research project of Sabine Müller from the Department of German Studies is entitled Salvaged Depth: The Other Modernism in Austrian Literature.

For further information about projects funded through the Hertha Firnberg Programme in 2019, please see our articles Erfolgreiche Nachwuchswissenschafter*innen  (successful early stage researchers, November 2019, in German) and Erfolgreiche Nachwuchswissenschafter*innen (successful early stage researchers, January 2020, in German).

FWF Research Groups 

In total, 39 proposals for research groups have been submitted. The FWF Board awarded 4.2 million euros to three research groups in 2019. The picture shows academics from the research group Multiphoton Experiments with Semiconductor Quantum Dots. (© Barbara Mair)

Two new FWF-funded research groups have been established at the University of Vienna in 2019: Philip Walther at the Faculty of Physics leads the research group Multiphoton Experiments with Semiconductor Quantum Dots at the Faculty of Physics, coordinated by Armando Rastelli from the partner university in Linz. 

A newly established research group at the Faculty of Chemistry conducts research on the tumor microenvironment as target and regulator of anticancer (metal) drug response. Gunda Köllensperger, Evelyn Rampler and Christian Kowol from the University of Vienna are involved in this project, which is carried out in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna.

Further information about FWF Research Groups

Doctoral Programmes (DKs)

Doctoral Programmes (DKs) provide doctoral education for highly qualified early stage researchers from the national and international scientific community. The successful Vienna Graduate School on Computational Optimization (VGSCO) has been extended. Radu Bot from the Data Science research platform of the Department of Mathematics succeeds Georg Pflug in the role of the VGSCO speaker. The project is a cooperation between the Vienna University of Technology, the Institute for Science and Technology and the University of Vienna. Candidates receive comprehensive education about optimisation with a particular focus on algorithmic and computer-based aspects.

Further information about the Doctoral Programmes of the FWF

doc.funds Programme

The doc.funds Programme of the FWF provides funding to existing structured doctoral programmes to specifically educate highly qualified early stage researchers. Successful project leaders of the University of Vienna received three of the six project grants. 

Alexandra Ganser-Blumenau from the Department of English and American Studies was able to convince the jury with her proposed Cultural Mobility Studies doc.funds Programme. It is directly linked to the interdisciplinary research platform of Mobile Cultures and Societies, which has been established in 2014. 

Another grant was awarded to the doc.funds consortium Stem Cells, Tissues, Organoids – Dissecting Regulators of Potency and Pattern Formation at the Max Perutz Lab, which was submitted by Florian Raible. It investigates fundamental questions of stem cell biology. Early stage researchers and experienced researchers from the University of Vienna, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences as well as the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) cooperate in this consortium. 

The third grant went to the doc.funds Programme Microbial Symbioses in Dynamic Ecosystems (MAINTAIN), coordinated by Matthias Horn and Jillian Petersen. It investigates how microbial symbioses have evolved, how they function and how they adapt to a constantly changing environment.

Further information about the FWF doc.funds Programme

FWF Stand-Alone Projects

In 2019, 67 academics of the University of Vienna acquired funding from the FWF for their stand-alone projects.

Further information about Stand-Alone Projects that acquired funding in 2019
Information about FWF Stand-Alone Projects

Science Communication Programme (WissKomm) 

As part of the Science Communication Programme (WissKomm), the FWF awards grants for outstanding science communication measures related to research projects funded by the FWF. The projects Technology-Mediated Audience Participation in Live Music, led by Fares Kayali from the Centre for Teacher Education, and Virtual Experiments with Massive Quantum Systems, led by Markus Aspelmeyer from the Faculty of Physics, were awarded WissKomm grants.

Further information about the Science Communication Programme (WissKomm) of the FWF

ICT Call 2019 

Within the scope of its thematic programme of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) promotes projects that investigate academic questions about information and communication technologies. These projects should be as application-oriented as possible. One ICT grant went to the project Transparent and Explainable Models led by Torsten Möller, Claudia Plant and Philipp Grohs from the Faculty of Computer Science. Stefan Schmid receives a grant for the project he coordinates: WHATIF – A fast and Quantitative What-If Analysis for Dependable Communication Networks. The project is implemented by the Faculty of Computer Science in cooperation with Aalborg University.

Further information about the ICT Programme of the WWTF

In 2019, three projects of the Faculty of Computer Science were successful in acquiring funding from the WWTF. (© Barbara Mair)

NEXT (New Exciting Transfer) projects

The NEXT Programme is a WWTF funding scheme, which aims at promoting knowledge transfer from ongoing WWTF projects. Two projects proposed by the University of Vienna acquired funding from the NEXT Programme in 2019: the project A Web-Based Software Prototype for Mining Constraints from Regulatory Documents by Stefanie Rinderle-Ma from the Faculty of Computer Science and the project Wild Colors, Gentle Lines? Engaging with Color and Line in an Interactive Children's Environment by Hanna Brinkmann from the Department of Art History.

Further information about the NEXT Programme of the WWTF

Life Sciences 2019 – Multimodal Imaging

The Life Sciences scheme is the longest running WWTF programme. The University of Vienna is a cooperation partner in two projects that acquired funding from the Life Sciences scheme in 2019. Together with Guillaume Theroux-Rancourt (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) and Walter Kropatsch (Vienna University of Technology), ecologist Ingeborg Lang from the University of Vienna leads the project Water's Gateway to Heaven: 3D Imaging and Modeling of Transient Stomatal Responses in Plant Leaves under Dynamic Environments. 

In addition, the project Tracking Nutrient Metabolism and Cellular Partitioning by Multimodal Molecular Imaging has been accepted for a grant. It is run by Martin Krssak, Cecile Philippe (both from the Medical University of Vienna) and Arno Schintlmeister from the University of Vienna’s Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science.

Further information about the WWTF Life Sciences scheme

Josef Ressel Center

Josef Ressel (JR) Centers are a funding programme of the Christian Doppler Research Association. They are established at universities of applied sciences and aim at promoting application-oriented research of high quality. The Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics is cooperating with the Josef Ressel Center for Adaptive Optimization in Dynamic Environments at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Karl Dörner of the University of Vienna is responsible for the external module.

Further information about the Josef Ressel Centers of the Christian Doppler Research Association

The University of Vienna has also successfully acquired international third-party funding. Computer scientist Stefan Schmid obtained an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2019. (© Stefanie Rochel). Further information about ongoing ERC projects at the University of Vienna

For further information about research projects at the University of Vienna, please see the University of Vienna’s research portal u:cris, the Forschung (research) section in the uni:view magazine as well as the monthly Research Newsletter.