Cooperation with International Organizations and Research Institutions

Through its participation in large-scale international research institutions and research networks, Austria gains access to new knowledge. Almost three quarters of the total budget available for this purpose is accounted for by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Maintaining international connections

The Research Directorate of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research represents Austria on international research-policy bodies of the European Union, the OECD (Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy, CSTP – click here for further information) and the United Nations. Thanks to Austria’s participation in large-scale international research institutions and research networks, such as CERN, ESRF, WMO and EMBL, the Austrian scientific community has access to new knowledge and research opportunities.

The annual budget of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research earmarked for membership in international research institutions and managed by the Research Directorate amounts to approximately EUR 20 million.

  • Almost three quarters of the total, i.e. EUR 14 million, were earmarked in 2005 for Austria’s membership in the European Organization for Nuclear Research; CERN’s main research targets concern fundamental questions relating to the structure of matter and its smallest elementary particles.
  • EUR 1.8 million were earmarked for membership in the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC), which provides funding for the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).
  • The Research Directorate’s portfolio of international scientific cooperation also includes other large-scale research facilities, i.e. the European Synchroton Radiation Facility (ESRF), the Centre International des Sciences Mécaniques (CISM), the ILL high-flux research reactor in Grenoble and ELETTRA, the Italian synchrotron research centre.
  • Moreover, financial contributions are made to other organizations and networks, such as the World Meteorological Organization, and to GRID, a technology connecting data storage and processing capacities that is being described as the successor to the World Wide Web (“turning desktop computers into supercomputers”).

A number of leading international scientific institutions are headquartered in Austria and co-financed by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. Foremost among them are the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Salzburg Medical Seminars.

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), based in Laxenburg near Vienna, performs interdisciplinary studies on issues relating to global changes and their implications for human society. It ranks among the world’s most renowned think tanks in this field of research. Employing innovative scientific methods, IIASA researchers generate knowledge of great significance for both policy-makers and researchers. Austria is represented on the IIASA Governing Council through the Austrian IIASA Commission, a body affiliated with the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The Salzburg Medical Seminars provide a platform for physicians from the Central and South-East European countries in transition and the successor states of the former Soviet Union to cooperate closely with representatives of outstanding Austrian institutions and top-ranking US universities; the participants acquire advanced medical knowledge, which they will then disseminate in their home countries. The international network that has evolved over the years continuously expands to other regions.