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March 2, 2021

IST Austria’s independence and development secured beyond 2026

The Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research and Lower Austria declare their commitment to the further development of cutting-edge research at IST Austria. They intend to secure long-term funding before the end of this year.

NLK Jürgen Burchhart
Chairman of the IST Austria Board of Trustees Claus J. Raidl, IST Austria President Thomas Henzinger, Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Federal Minister Heinz Faßmann at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. © NLK Jürgen Burchhart

Both Minister Faßmann and Lower Austrian Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner underlined the Institute’s outstanding achievements in international research and education at the signing of the “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) at IST Austria. The MoU lays the foundation for a further funding agreement to be decided this year.

“We have proven in a short time that it is possible to build an institute with world-class research in Austria,” said Tom Henzinger, President of IST Austria. “We will continue to push for further expansion. To do so, IST needs to stay fully independent in all structural and content-related matters.”

Founded in 2006 and opened in 2009, IST Austria is dedicated to basic research, recruiting established and young world-class scientists, and competing with the best researchers in the world. The funding is based on a federal-state agreement.

“Research institutions like IST Austria make our country internationally attractive for highly qualified people and are urgently needed drivers of innovation,” says the Chairman of the IST Austria Board of Trustees, Claus J. Raidl. He was instrumental in bringing about and signing the MoU.

Federal Minister Faßmann said: “For me, IST Austria is an absolute success story. Within a short time, it has succeeded in catching up with the international leaders in research. This success is made possible by the good and strong partnership between the federal government and the province of Lower Austria. With the signing of the MoU, we are now ensuring that this good basis will also be secured in the future.”

The MoU signed by Minister Heinz Faßmann, Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner, IST Austria President Tom Henzinger, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Claus J. Raidl reaffirms the founding principles of the Institute already laid down in 2009. The MoU also states and confirms that the Federal and Provincial Governments will support the Institute in its further expansion and prepare negotiations for a new financial agreement.

“A small institute with a handful of researchers has grown to become an international center of attraction for the most outstanding researchers from all over the world. For further development, what is needed above all is continuity, calculability, and reliability – and these have already been firmly agreed upon until 2026 when around 500 million euros will be invested in the IST by the state of Lower Austria. But in cutting-edge research, this reliability is also needed far beyond that. And that is why the federal government, the state, and the IST are already taking the next important step today with a new memorandum. A joint commitment that already sets the cornerstones of the new 15a agreement between the federal government and the state,” emphasizes Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner. To continue to be so successful and attractive for researchers and students and establish the IST as a global science brand permanently, it needs long-term funding until 2036. Currently, the institute is funded until 2026, by which time it is to grow to 90 research groups and in 2036 to 150 research groups.


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