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Research institutions

Statistical figures on entities conducting research 

Based on the last full statistical survey on research and development (R&D) in Austria in 2017, there were 5,084 institutions conducting research. About 69 percent (3,489) belonged to the business enterprise sector, with nearly all of them (99%) engaged in research for their own business. About 1 percent of the institutions (38) fell into the cooperative sector, which includes the Institutes of Austrian Cooperative Research (ACR) and the COMET centres. Business enterprises had research expenditures in 2017 of 7.888 billion euros and 52,477.8 employees (FTEs) in R&D, which represented just under 69 percent of the total volume. About 57 percent of R&D employees were classified as scientific personnel. The main fields of activity were experimental development (64%) and applied research (31%).

The higher education sector, comprising the universities, the universities of applied sciences, private universities and university colleges of teacher education as well as IST-Austria, accounted in 2017 for just under one quarter (1,259) of all institutions conducting research. Of this latter number, about 96% of the R&D entities were at universities (including clinics and art universities). About 23% of total research expenditures (2.533 billion euros) and all R&D personnel (17,680.3 FTEs) were in the higher education sector. More than 76% of those employed in R&D in the higher education sector in 2017 were scientific personnel, a percentage that was substantially higher than in business enterprises. The main fields of activity were characteristically basic research (about 54%) and applied research (about 38%). Altogether, about 69% of all basic research activities were conducted in this sector.

In 2017, the government sector had 288 (about 6%) of the R&D institutions. Besides the Federal Government institutions, they included institutions of the federal states, the municipal authorities and the professional chambers, the social insurance institutions or private non-profit institutions funded and/or controlled by the public sector as well as R&D institutions of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft. Since the 2017 survey, the following have been newly added: Austrian Academy of Sciences (previously in the higher education sector), the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Joanneum Research (JR) (formerly in the business enterprise sector/cooperative sector). The research expenditures amounted to 612 million euros or 5.5% of total spending and this sector had 5,266.3 FTEs, about 7% of R&D personnel. The main fields of activity were basic research at about 39%, applied research at about 38% and experimental development at about 23%. The percentage of scientific personnel was high in this sector as well, amounting to about 70%.

The smallest of the sectors, the private non-profit sector, had 48 research institutions in 2017 (about 1%). This sector comprises non-profit institutions whose status is predominantly private or defined under civil law, denominational or otherwise non-public. The research expenditures in 2017 totalled 0.062 billion euros (0.6%), the R&D personnel amounted to 585.3 FTEs (0.8%). The main field of activity was applied research (about 79%), with scientific personnel constituting about 67% of the total.


Other research funding agencies for which the BMBWF is not directly responsible


Irene Danler
Department V/1 (Research, Technology, Innovation: Strategy, Reporting, Knowledge Transfer from Universities and Public Research Institutions)
Minoritenplatz 5, 1010 Vienna
T +43 53120 6315