Petition “Science equals Future” (for the continued existence of publicly funded research in Austria)
The future of publicly funded research in Austria is at stake in the negotiations currently ongoing between the Austrian Finance Ministry and the other departments of the government for the federal budget for the years 2016 to 2018. All major research institutions in Austria have been running on grossly insufficient budgets for years; the Austrian Science Fund, the country’s largest agency for fundamental research, has used up its financial reserves and, without a substantial increase to its annual budget, will have to severely curtail its activities. The Austrian Academy of Sciences is in a similar situation. The universities are likewise seriously affected. A willingness to commit to even the most urgently necessary measures is not currently detectable on the part of the leaders of the Federal Government. Even taking into consideration the difficult overall budget situation of the Republic, this attitude is difficult to understand given that the sums involved are comparatively quite moderate.
Several Austrian research agencies and numerous scientists and researchers from all fields and disciplines are therefore taking part in the petition “Science equals Future“, initiated by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund. This petition aims to persuade the decision-makers in Austria’s government to finally give a serious commitment at least to the most essential level of funding required for the continued operation of the agencies.
The petition is available in English here. Any voice in support, whether from inside or outside Austria, from within the scientific community or from any part of society, is heartily welcome.
Some newspaper reports (in German) detailing the grim situation for research in Austria:
– the leaders of the Austrian Science Fund discuss the situation of their institution here
– the former president of the European Research Council, Helga Nowotny, speaks on the insufficient recognition of research in Austrian politics here
– the chairman of the Austrian Research Council, Hannes Androsch, articulates similar demands here
– information in the Austrian Science Fund’s newsletter on the discontinuation of its two highest-ranking funding schemes for 2014 here