External funding for higher education, especially universities
The public universities received around € 670 million in external funding during 2016, about a quarter of which was from companies. Universities of applied sciences received € 43.7 million in income based on external funding during the 2016/17 academic year. The federal government makes no provision for core funding for research at universities of applied sciences.
Generally speaking, a distinction can be made between application-based funding – research funded from public sources, for instance via the various research funds, the EU or the federal states – and funding from companies for contract research. At most universities, funding applications bring in a significant majority of the external funds. At universities of applied sciences contract research also often represents a significant proportion of external funds.
In academia, external funding is understood as those sources of finance that are made available by third parties to universities and research institutions, or individual researchers at those institutions, above and beyond the operational costs and investments from funding bodies (basic funding). External funding is usually awarded to universities for specific projects or research areas for a limited period.
External funding for public universities
For public universities, the largest of the higher education sectors, external funding is particularly important as it constitutes a major source of finance in addition to public funding.
The public universities received around €670 million in external funding during 2016, about a quarter of which was from companies. Generally speaking, a distinction can be made between application-based funding – research funded from public sources, for instance via the various research funds, the EU or the federal states – and funding from companies for contract research. At most universities, funding applications bring in a majority of the external funds.
Source: unidata (in German only)
External funding at universities of applied sciences
At universities of applied sciences, research is predominantly application-based and exclusively funded externally, although even at these institutions the external funding gained from funding applications constitutes the majority overall. External funding at universities of applied sciences comprises income from research and development work and other contributions from stakeholders, industry and business.
External funding at private universities
Although private universities may not receive any financial support from the federal government, they are not prohibited from participating in publicly advertised research programmes as a source of external funding.
Sources of finance in higher education
In most EU Member States, public funds are the main source of finance for higher education. Funding higher education is seen as a key government responsibility in order to ensure both equal access to higher education and the sustainable development of independent universities.
Private funds for tertiary education institutions
International comparisons show that the proportion of private funds in financing tertiary and higher education in Austria is very low, and data from the OECD and the EU shows that Austria is below average in this respect.
(Source: Education at a glance / OECD)