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

The number of personnel engaged with R&D which was covered in the framework of STATISTICS AUSTRIA’s surveys on research and experimental development (R&D) in all economic sectors was 71,395.9 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2015. In comparison with the reference period 2013, this represents an increase of the number of R&D personnel by 7.9%. In 2015, 70.8% of total R&D personnel were occupied in the business enterprise sector, 24.8% in the higher education sector, 3.7% in the government sector and 0.7% in the private non-profit sector.

In 2015, altogether €10.50 bn were spent on R&D in Austria in all sectors of performance. Hence, R&D expenditures increased by 9.7%, compared with the reference year 2013. Of the approximately €10.50 bn spent on R&D in 2015, 71.4% were spent in the business enterprise sector, 23.5% in the higher education sector, 4.6% in the government sector, and 0.5% in the private non-profit sector.

In Austria, presumably €11.3 billion will be spent on research and experimental development (R&D) in 2017. In comparison to 2016, the total sum of Austrian R&D expenditure will increase by 3.8% and hence reach 3.14% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

The largest part of total R&D expenditure 2017 will be financed by Austrian businesses (approx. 48.2% or €5.5 billion). The public sector will contribute 36% (approx. €4.1 billion); of this share, the federal government ("Bund") will finance around €3.4 billion, the regional governments ("Laender") around €515 million and other public funding such as from local governments, professional chambers or social security institutions will amount to about €122 million. 15.4% (€1.7 billion) will be financed from abroad and 0.4% (approx. €51 million) by the private non-profit sector. The funds from abroad originate predominantly from foreign enterprises. A considerable part comes from multinational enterprises whose affiliates in Austria perform R&D and includes receipts from EU research programmes.


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