Science and Research

The Austrian Government considers research, technology and innovation (RTI) as the driving forces for a sustainable increase in the performance and competitive potential of a society. Research carried out in Austria’s universities, research centers, in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and in industry makes an important contribution to solving social challenges while ensuring competitiveness, economic growth and jobs.

Three federal ministries are responsible for the Austrian research and technology policy: the Ministry of Science and Research (BMFW), the Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), and the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (BMWFJ). The Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the “Austria Wirtschaftsservice” (AWS) are the main agencies that manage the funding for basic and applied research, development and innovation on behalf of the ministries.


Trends in R&D spending in Austria

In 2011, according to an estimate of Statistics Austria, for the first time presumably more than €8 billion will be spent on research and experimental development (R&D). In comparison to 2010, the total sum of Austrian R&D expenditure will increase by 5.0% to €8.286 billion and hence reach 2.79% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The research intensity for 2010 is estimated to be 2.78%.

The largest part of total R&D expenditure 2011 (44.6% or €3.70 billion) will be financed by businesses. Funding from the business enterprise sector will rise by 5.9%, after a decrease in 2009 and only a minor increase in 2010. The public sector will contribute 38.7% (approx. €3.21 billion); of this share, the federal government ("Bund") will finance €2.73 billion, the regional governments ("Länder") around €394 million and other public funding from local governments, chambers or social security institutions will be about €87 million.

This corresponds to an increase of public sector funding by 4.5% compared to 2010. 16.2% will be financed from abroad and 0.4% (approximately €35 million) by the private non-profit sector. The funds from abroad (~ €1.34 billion) originate mostly from international enterprise groups whose domestic affiliates in Austria perform R&D and include backflows from the EU Framework Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration.

The Austrian Research and Technology Report is an annual compilation of current statistics, findings and assessments on research, technology and innovation policy in Austria. It provides an overview of Austria’s position in the policy field, and presents specific trends in research, technology and innovation (RTI), as well as shows how Austria measures up internationally in specific areas. The annual reports are available for download via the Ministry of Science and Research’s Website.


Austria’s position in the European Innovation Union Scoreboard

The European Commission has launched its (Research and) Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) in 2011. The report assembles 25 single indicators that combine research and innovation. Under the new scoreboard, Austria is in 7th position EU-wide, among the innovation followers. Austria’s Federal Government has set the goal of increasing the country’s research ratio to 3,76% by 2020, which shall promote Austria into the league of “innovation leaders”, thus making Austria one of the most innovative countries in the European Union.

The full IUS is available for download at the European Commission’s Website.  Further information on research in Austria is available for download at the Website of the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OEAD).

Sources: Statistics AustriaOEAD's Researcher's Guide to AustriaInnovation Union Scoreboard