Off to a good start: around 400 researchers from Austrian research institutions have submitted applications for the first edition of the 1000 Ideas Programme. In a next step, the submitted research ideas are being evaluated for risk appetite and originality.
The FWF's new 1000 Ideas Programme encourages researchers to apply for funding for new, bold or particularly original research ideas that go beyond the current understanding of science. Taking stock after the end of the first submission phase reveals just how great the need for funding is in this area. More than 400 submissions from all scientific disciplines clearly demonstrate the impressive creative potential that researchers in Austria have to offer - significantly inhibited only by the FWF's limited funding budget. And there is yet another effect: the new programme succeeds in expanding the range of first-time applicants and addressing new research institutions.
1000 ideas and the courage to fail
The programme aims to address new, forward-looking topics of pronounced relevance for science and research. For the time being, probability of successful completion will be of secondary importance in this endeavour.
“The ‘courage to fail’ is not an aspect held in high esteem in Europe, particularly in research funding,” says FWF President Klement Tockner, who goes on to explain: “It is, however, an integral aspect of the 1000 Ideas Programme. I am pleased to see that the new offer has been readily accepted by the research community.” The FWF President expects projects in the 1000 Ideas Programme to have the potential to transform research fields and challenge established paradigms in science and research. “The programme has triggered stimulating and lively discussions in the research institutions during the application period,” as Klement Tockner learned personally at many meetings.
Breaking new ground in reviews
The FWF is also breaking new ground with its 1000 Ideas Programme with respect to the review of project applications. The objective is to evaluate these highly original or high-risk research ideas as impartially as possible. The submissions will therefore be assessed anonymously and semi-randomly by an international jury with broad expertise under the direction of James W. Kirchner of ETH Zurich. Prior to this, only a formal review is carried out by the FWF, whereby the specifications for drafting a short and concise description of project ideas also introduce a new format. The award decisions are expected to be made at the June meeting of the FWF Board.
Austrian Science Fund FWF
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria’s central funding organisation for basic research as well as arts-based research. Applying international quality benchmarks, the FWF provides funding for outstanding research projects and excellent researchers who work to generate, broaden and deepen scientific knowledge.