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Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
Weyringergasse 35
[t] +43 1 505 67 4036
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central body for the promotion of basic research. It is equally committed to all branches of science and in all its activities is guided solely by the standards of the international scientific community.

All important data from the year 2003 have recently been made available (in both German and English) in the Statistics Booklet. This contains concise summaries of funding programs, FWF statistics, data on funding trends in different branches of science and figures about science and research in Austria, also in comparison with other countries.
Strong feelings - Latest findings on pain sensitivity
28 August, 2006
The recent discovery of the amplification of even low levels of pain has prompted the organisation of an upcoming symposium in Vienna on 'Risk Assessment in Pain Therapy'. This international expert meeting will aim to optimise pain therapy by taking account of this previously unknown phenomenon. As a result the findings of an Austrian Science Fund FWF project, which were recently published in SCIENCE, may soon be benefiting patients who suffering severe chronic pain.
How red apples mark a cognitive leap forward
17 July, 2006
Children aged about four suddenly become capable of recognising that an object can be described differently depending on how it is viewed. This apparently simple skill requires cognitive changes that are not far enough advanced until then. A project carried out by the Department of Psychology at the University of Salzburg with support from the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) reached this finding.
No man is an Island
07 July, 2006
The current issue of SCIENCE features an article on Simron Singh, a human ecologist and anthropologist, and his work on the Nicobar Islands both before and after the massive tsunami hit Southern Asia in December 2004. In the wake of the disaster, Singh was asked by tribal elders to help them rebuild their society. He helped in many ways and the Austrian Science Fund FWF supported some of his activities.
FWF project tackles football wanderers
10 June, 2006
The creation of the first comprehensive database on foreign players in Austrian professional football has opened the way for academic study of the relationship between migration and football. The project concerned, which is being supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, not only takes a systematic look at 50 years of Austrian football history but is also addressing current debates.
Philosophy On Stage, new approaches to knowledge at Tanzquartier Wien
15 May, 2006
An international cast is bringing fresh momentum to the current debate on education at the Tanzquartier Wien contemporary dance centre. A season of lectures and performances at special 'dance labs', entitled 'Education acts. Kunst macht Bildung', is putting the spotlight on the usefulness of education.
Is THREE more than three? Brain research is looking for answers
10 April, 2006
How do we process numbers? A new project from the Austrian Science Fund, FWF hopes to find the complex answer to this seemingly simple question by building on the recent findings of a team from Innsbruck. These show that while children and adults are equally good at processing numbers, they actually use different regions of the brain to do so.
When repulsive particles stick together, A new angle on clustering
13 March, 2006
Even when they mutually repel each other, material particles in a solution can still form clusters. Details on the conditions necessary for this seemingly contradictory phenomenon have now been published, following a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. Though they come from the realm of theoretical physics these findings may be very important for understanding of the ordering of polymer-like entities, and increase the standing of the fledgling field of soft matter physics in Austria.
Aid for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, how social ecology can help
13 February, 2006
A year after the tsunami devastated the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, wide-ranging field studies are helping to preserve the last remaining indigenous cultures. The tidal wave not only deprived the tribes of their livelihood, it also threatens to dispossess them of their cultural identity. Now a new Austrian Science Fund project is using scientific methods to assist the islanders in opting for a culturally appropriate sustainable future.
Genetic fingerprint unmasks microbial vandals
16 January, 2006
For the first time DNA analysis can identify paper-degrading microorganisms. This is made possible by a molecular process developed for fungal infected documents at the University of Vienna with support from the Austrian Science Fund FWF. Fungal species can now be clearly identified by means of a DNA region known as ITS1, making it easier to choose effective countermeasures for conserving historic documents.
Sparking hearts: SPARC promotes heart muscle formation from stem cells
12 December, 2005
The protein SPARC plays a key role in the development of heart muscle in the embryo. An Austrian Science Fund project has discovered this previously unknown role of SPARC. The protein has a significant effect on the activity of the genes that are responsible for the emergence of heart cells from initially undifferentiated embryonic stem cells.
Brown bears: The guile and wile of reproduction
02 November, 2005
Female brown bears are driven to having many partners, not because of lust but as part of a sophisticated strategy for protecting future offspring. This surprising discovery is the result of a large-scale project by the Austrian Science Fund FWF in which the bear population in Scandinavia was closely observed in the wild. The data, that goes back for over 20 years, is published today and is contributing to a better understanding of this species which is once again becoming native to Europe.
Lack of gene expression associated with ovarian cancer
24 October, 2005
The expression of two specific genes is almost completely downregulated in ovarian cancer tumours. An extensive analysis of gene expression in ovarian cancer tumour cells has revealed this important finding, which should be an aid to early diagnosis. The insights gained by the research at the Medical University of Vienna with the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF are also central to a recently launched EU project aimed at optimising ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Wood: simplified method shows complex structure
19 September, 2005
Mechanically-isolated wood fibres show several different properties in comparison to chemically-isolated fibres. This is one of the most recent results of a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna. The project yields significant findings on the structural changes in wood fibres after exposure to moisture and tension.
Health Care: Women from ethnic minorities often neglected
22 August, 2005
Women from ethnic minorities who live in Western societies are exposed to substantial health risks. The reason is that modern health care does not always take cultural values into account. These are the findings of a continent-spanning project by the Austrian Science Fund and identifies the lack of cultural and gender-sensitive health care and its consequences, based on the example of New Zealand and Austria.
Multi-cultural aspects breathe new life into faith in Brazil
19 July, 2005
Believers in Brazil can choose from a wide variety of religions. The main reason for this rich selection lies in the country's colonial history and its current socio-economic development. This is the key message of a project recently concluded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF in order to analyze why Brazil of all countries experiences such a big run on faith.
Linguistics meets Veterinary Medicine, 13th Century Armenian Medical Book on horses has been translated
20 June, 2005
An Armenian manual about horse medicine from the 13th century has been translated into German for the first time. The compendium is Armenia's oldest preserved veterinary medical work and offers an overall view of expert knowledge about horses during the late 13th century in the Near East. The Austrian Science Fund FWF supported this project and it was made possible thanks to an Austrian Armenologist, her excellent knowledge about the country and its language as well as her close cooperation with veterinarians in Vienna.
Missing receptor molecule causes tumor growth
15 June, 2005
A missing receptor molecule contributes to the growth of tumors in human ovaries. This surprisingly evident connection has now been proven by a team at the Medical University of Vienna, who published their data in the science journal Molecular Cancer Research. The team, who is supported by funding from the Austrian Science Fund FWF, also discovered the possible genetic reason why the receptor molecule, which is an important factor in regulating cell growth, is missing.
Five centuries of Austria's blooming cultural heritage recorded
23 May, 2005
Over 1,700 Austrian parks and gardens from five centuries were documented in a work spanning 20 years. With the publication of the last of the three-volume series, this enormous survey of Austria's historic gardens has now been concluded. With aid from the Austrian Science Fund, the Institute of Landscape Architecture and Garden Design of the Vienna University of Technology has thus succeeded not only in creating a consolidated basis for further scientific work, but also in delighting the hearts of Austria's garden lovers.
Careers take an unexpected course
25 April, 2005
Careers are influenced by manifold factors, and in other ways than we think. This has been demonstrated by a study now-published by the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. The extensive project traced numerous job histories over an extended time period and analysed critical influencing factors. The project funded by the Austrian Science Fund thereby questions some popular beliefs. The most important results will now be published as a book.
Protein protects chromosome bonds
29 March, 2005
The protein Mnd2 inhibits premature separation of chromosomes during the formation of gametes. The now published discovery of this regulatory function may help to understand the origin of some common congenital chromosome defects. The project of a team of the University of Vienna funded by the Austrian Science Fund contributes to the Campus Vienna Biocenter maintaining a top-level position in the field of cell division research.
The effects of ecstasy, It takes two to tango in the cell
22 February, 2005
Amphetamine derivatives like the life style drug Ecstasy cause the release of neurotransmitters through an ingenious interplay of cellular components: an enzyme causes two transport proteins of the same type to work in opposite directions. These new findings are in contrast to previous assumptions that individual transport proteins alone were responsible for the release of neurotransmitters by such drugs.
Horizontal densification, Living quality at a low cost
17 January, 2005
Courtyard houses and terraced houses are the central topics of a newly released publication on the forms of horizontal densification in domestic architecture. Besides the history of these building types, the various types, quality criteria and their implementation within the purview of the numerous concepts of urban development are dealt with in detail. The book, published with the aid of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), thus offers a unique review of a residential building type that, once again, assumes increasing significance in our society.
The Jew as research object, Anthropology in Nazi Times
13 December, 2004
Scientific 'objectivity' is moulded by contemporaneous general conditions. That is the central finding of a research project conducted by the Department of Anthropology of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. In the scope of this work, the fate of 440 Jews abused as research objects in September 1939 was documented and analysed. As the project shows, the anthropological study conducted at the time was meant as the proof for the 'racial' differentness of Jews. With this finding, the project aided by the Austrian Science Fund contributes a critical angle to look at the history of science.
Superconductivity - Electrons in Single File Provide New Insights
22 November, 2004
A team at the University of Innsbruck, Austria has been successful in conducting electrons in metals along predetermined channels. This behaviour, observed for the first time in metals, provides important insights into the interactions of electrons - and on how the phenomenon of the current flow without any resistance loss, termed super-conductivity, can occur.
Electrons in single file provide new insights
22 November, 2004
A team at the University of Innsbruck has been successful in conducting electrons in metals along predetermined channels. This behaviour, observed for the first time in metals, provides important insights into the interactions of electrons, and on how the phenomenon of the current flow without any resistance loss, termed superconductivity, can occur. Thereby this project aided by the Austrian Science Fund combines fundamental research, at its best, with potential applications in the future.
Meteorite crater drilling provides extensive samples, and a Mystery
18 October, 2004
Drillings made in the Bosumtwi crater in Ghana, one of the youngest meteorite craters in the world, led to yet another mysterious finding, the rock formation caused by the heat of the meteoric impact is only half as thick as expected. This is the first result from a large international drilling project, which will provide new information simultaneously to both the earth and climate sciences as a result of detailed planning.
Heavy metal rocks plant cells too
20 September, 2004
Heavy metals can trigger widely varying stress reactions in plants. A team at the Campus Vienna Biocenter was now able to provide evidence for this in a research funded by the Austrian Science Fund. The results, now awaiting publication, are an important basis to comprehend how plants cope with an increase in heavy metal concentrations in the soil, and how these abilities can be profitably utilised.
Absence of stellar pulsations baffles astronomers
23 August, 2004
Readings done by a Canadian-Austrian team present a puzzle for astronomers. Expected surface phenomena, which provide information about stellar structures, could not be evidenced from readings obtained by means of a Canadian microsatellite. The precise satellite readings leave no doubt on the data published in NATURE. The project, organised in co-operation with the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Vienna and supported by the Austrian Science Fund, challenges the existing understanding of the structure of stars.
Latin American cities join the global club
15 July, 2004
The urban development in Latin America confronts an exciting phase of change. The reason for this is the globalisation of its metropolises. For a long time these were the centres and end points of the economic and social development, but today they serve as the 'gateways to the world'. According to a study sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund, this change of significance, known only in the USA and Europe previously, can be evidenced now for the first time in Latin America as well.
Media war in Austria-Hungary, War photography as propaganda in World War I
14 June, 2004
Unprecedented in the history of war, photography was used extensively as propaganda material to strengthen national feeling at home and demonstrate military might. This is the finding of the photo-historic analysis of the photographic collection at the picture archive of the Austrian National Library, one of the FWF-sponsored projects.
Tibetan Temples and Monastery Complexes, architectural Reflection of the Buddhist Worldview
17 May, 2004
Architecture has played a significant role in the spread of Buddhism from India to Tibet. Buddhist temples and monastery complexes in the Western Himalayas reflect the Buddhist worldview. This was revealed by the analysis of partially preserved buildings done by scientists of the Institute of Architectural Science and Architectural Design at the Graz University of Technology.
The Bronze Age, Austrian settlements as centres of trade
26 April, 2004
Austrian settlements in the Region of the Danube were prosperous and cosmopolitan in the Bronze Age. That's what new studies undertaken by researchers in the Prehistoric Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences show in a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. It is centred around analysing the findings from excavations on the Oberleiserberg Mountain in Lower Austria where scientists discovered traces of a major trade and relics of a once-flourishing culture of crafts.
Protein & Sugar, Bacteria's proven recipe for survival
22 March, 2004
Adverse conditions for survival may have an impact on the arrangement of important bacterial genes. Researchers at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Science in Vienna discovered that three strains of bacteria adapted to increased temperatures had genes for coping excellently with environmental conditions directly next to one another on the genome.
Strength through shape
09 February, 2004
If they are intelligently engineered, lightweight materials can have three times the strength while maintaining the same material density. This is one of the results of a project on the properties of cellular materials at the Vienna University of Technology that is supported by the Austrian Science Fund.
Ice, a Hot research topic
19 January, 2004
There are 18 different types of ice and one of them was only recently discovered in a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. This project was done at the University of Innsbruck and it got a lot of attention because it precisely determined the temperature and pressure required for creating a wide variety of ices. This allows the production of ultra-pure ice for subsequently analysing its structure.
Living in two worlds, Second-generation children of foreigners
09 December, 2003
Integrating young people of foreign origin growing up in Austria is the issue being focused on in a current study at the Institute for Sociology at the University of Vienna. A paramount aspect in this debate is young people caught between the cultures of their parental houses and Austria. By supporting this study, FWF Austrian Science Fund proves once again how committed it is to the social sciences.
Terra Incognita, Europe's senior citizens
03 November, 2003
The way of life, physical and mental health, and financial and family circumstances of senior citizens are the core topics of the European Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe study, launched last year. Thanks to support from the Austrian Science Fund an Austrian group was able to join this long-term, international multidisciplinary research project at the start of 2003.
An aerial for light, Austrian physicists report unusual light-metal interaction
17 October, 2003
A team under Professor Franz Aussenegg at the University of Graz in Austria is looking into unusual interactions between light and submicroscopic metal particles. The physicists' findings represent a major advance towards the development of improved data storage media and optical sensors.
New approach to epilepsy, magnetic fields guide surgery
06 October, 2003
Electrical signals from nerves in the brain cause weak magnetic fields which can be measured by means of magnetoencephalography. A project supported by the Austrian Science Fund has investigated the extent to which direct measurement of neural electrical activity can be coupled with MEG to diagnose and treat epilepsy. The findings are important in view of today's spiralling health care costs, as the apparatus used to detect magnetic fields in the brain is 30 times as expensive as that used to measure electrical signals directly.
Austrian plant sciences saved from wallflower status
08 September, 2003
Austrian research projects aimed at improving understanding of plants and their interaction with the environment are now being coordinated. The organisation responsible for this work is the Austrian Platform of Arabidopsis Research. The programme will enable the scientists taking part to join forces in contributing to a global research offensive targeting molecular processes in plants. APAR was established with assistance from the Austrian Science Fund.
An electrifying topi, polymer foams as charge carriers
04 August, 2003
A research team in Austria has been unravelling the secrets of the charging of plastic foams. Its findings open the way for the development of flat microphones and loudspeakers, as well as 'smart' surfaces that could be used as floor coverings, among other things. The interest in the success of the group's work, which was co-funded by the Austrian Science Fund, has resulted in the integration of the project in a European interdisciplinary research network.
Friend or foe? Viennese chemists optimise analysis of bones found at 7,000-year-old battlefield
07 July, 2003
Precise determination of strontium in bone material now makes it possible to distinguish between friend and foe on neolithic battlefields. A team of researchers at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, has succeeded in using this sophisticated method to analyse skeleton finds. The interdisciplinary project, supported by the Austrian Science Fund, has opened the way for fascinating reconstructions of prehistoric events.
Graz team sheds new light on dark states, another Austrian breakthrough in quantum physics
16 June, 2003
Light shines through opaque materials if certain conditions are met. By establishing the existence of another such condition, scientists at the Graz University of Technology have created additional possibilities for using light to control revolutionary new optical components. The project, funded by the Austrian Science Fund, has experimentally demonstrated an effect previously only known from theoretical calculations.
Shining sweetness, fluorescent sugars shed new light on future TB therapies
19 May, 2003
The discovery that fluorescent sugar molecules mark important enzymes of the tuberculosis bacillus will facilitate investigation of the potential importance of the enzymes for future tuberculosis therapies This insight is a gratifying 'by-product' of research at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Graz University of Technology. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund encountered the fluorescent sugar molecules while analysing the mode of action of an existing TB therapy.
My castle is my home, the Innsbruck Hofburg as a mirror of eras and personalities
17 March, 2003
Claims to rulership, personal tastes and short-lived fashions made for frequent alterations to the interior design of the Imperial residence in the Austrian city of Innsbruck. This rapid change, which spanned the period from the reign of Maria Theresia to 1918, has now been comprehensively reconstructed as part of a project sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund.
The Vienna stage in the First Republic
14 March, 2003
An extensive new collection of original documents compiled by the University of Vienna Institute of Theatre, Film and Media Studies provides fascinating insights into the influence of politics on historical drama between 1918-1938. The collection, published on CD-ROM, for the first time reveals the connections between details of productions at Vienna theatres and the political developments of the period.
Building blocks of the future, Structure and properties of carbon nanostructures
05 December, 2002
The discovery in 1985 of fullerenes, tiny carbon balls of nanometer dimensions, ushered in a new era in international science. Only a few years later (1991) scientific interest also started to focus on so-called carbon nanotubes. The discovery of improved production methods (1996) has meanwhile turned the analysis of the structure and properties of nanotubes into a vigorously growing field of research.
Wittgenstein's Letters, Wittgenstein's entire correspondence electronically recorded for first time
14 November, 2002
The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote and received more than 2300 letters during his lifetime. Sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund, Monika Seekircher from the Brenner Archive Research Institute at the University of Innsbruck searched for, structured and recorded these letters in a comprehensive database over a period of six years.
Spiritual Austrians, Religion in the life of the Austrian people from 1970 to 2000
17 October, 2002
The results of a representative long-term study on the significance of religion in the life of the Austrian people concludes that religion is currently undergoing a process of transformation. Paul Zulehner from the Institute of Pastoral Theology at Vienna University, sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund, has been investigating the question of religion in the Austrian population and has recorded the current trends. The remarkable results offer insight into several interesting developments in Austria's religious culture.
New Emergency Drug for Cardiac Arrest, Vasopressin as an agent for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
30 September, 2002
Diseases of the cardiovascular system continue to be the most frequent causes of death in the Western world. For over 100 years, Adrenaline has been the standard drug of choice in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest.
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