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April 9, 2015

Largest European grant for IST Austria so far

€ 4.4 mio of EU funds for IST Scholars • IST Austria reaches € 50 mio in third-party funding in less than 6 years • Additional milestone of 500 employees to be reached soon

Photo of PhD students at IST Austria
Photo of PhD students at IST Austria

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant amounting to € 4.4 mio for IST Scholars attending the doctoral school of the institute. The program will start in the fall of 2016 and run until 2021, covering around 50 percent of the salaries and other costs for most PhD students in their first two years of study at IST Austria. During these two years, students take advanced courses, do rotation projects with multiple professors, pass a qualifying exam, and start their thesis research.

The grant is awarded by the European Commission (EC) to PhD-granting institutions in order to foster mobility of junior scientists within and into the European Union. The grant supports young researchers who have spent not more than 12 months in the past three years in their respective country of residence. The proposal by IST Austria was ranked first among 49 applications from European universities and research institutions; it is the first COFUND grant awarded to a doctoral program in Austria and Germany.

IST Austria president Thomas Henzinger: “The significance of this grant cannot be overstated. Not only is it the largest scientific grant that has been awarded to IST Austria up to now. It also acknowledges the international excellence that our graduate school has been able to achieve in a short time. The doctoral program of IST Austria, with its currently 100 students, is the centerpiece of the institute, because of the virtuous cycle that top students attract top professors, and vice versa. Our structured PhD program fits perfectly to the ‘triple-i’ principles of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie program:  internationality, interdisciplinarity, and intersectoral mobility.”

With the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant IST Austria hits the € 50 mio mark of third-party research grants acquired since 2009. About 75 percent of these funds have been obtained from the European Commission, the majority (€ 24 mio, which equals almost half of the total) from the European Research Council (ERC), which funds 16 professors on campus. IST Austria thus contributes significantly to the status of Austria as a net profit recipient of European research grants. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is the second-largest source of third-party research grants with € 8.5 mio. IST Austria is obliged by law to obtain a sizeable amount of its budget through research grants and donations.

The recent grant is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, which support researchers at all stages of their careers irrespective of their nationality. For more information see

This financial milestone will soon be accompanied by another milestone: the institute will soon reach 500 employees, from more then 50 countries. In September 2009 the institute had 20 employees.


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