FFG FORUM 2022: Research funding success story
Research and innovation part of the solution in times of multiple crises
After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the FFG FORUM took place yesterday, Wednesday, in the Kursalon Vienna, with a focus on promoting the future. More than 600 participants from business, science and politics accepted the invitation of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG which hosted this annual Austrian research community fixture for the 12th time.
The FFG FORUM 2022 was divided into different sub-events, workshops and masterclasses throughout the day. These included the FFG ENTREPRENEURSHIP DAY ’22 which was aimed at start-ups and social entrepreneurs, the 3rd Hub Circle of the DIGITAL INNOVATION HUBS, the HORIZON EUROPE Meet & Share, and a networking event run by the FFG’s Aeronautics and Space Agency (ALR). At the same time, there was a get-together for all COMET centres, the FFG’s flagship programme for Austrian cutting-edge research.
FFG Managing Directors Henrietta Egerth and Klaus Pseiner, together with FFG Supervisory Board Chair Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, welcomed prominent guests at this year’s FFG FORUM: the Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher; Viktoria Schnaderbeck, former ÖFB captain of the Austrian women’s football team, who described her approach to innovation and success from the perspective of the top athlete; and Günther Mayr, head of the science department of Austrian broadcaster ORF. The evening was hosted by radio presenter Andi Knoll.
“More than two years of the pandemic has encouraged a focus on research and innovation. Now the current crises bring new challenges. At the same time, however, they also show that cooperation between industry and science can offer solutions. Austrian know-how is a driving force, facilitating transformation, bringing competitive advantages, and creating valuable jobs for Austria as a business location,” stressed FFG Managing Directors Henrietta Egerth and Klaus Pseiner in their opening statement.
Cooperation between business and science
"The Austrian Research Promotion Agency supports applied research and development which is conducted in close cooperation between industry and science and brings added value to society and Austria as a business location,” said Martin Kocher, Minister of Labour and Economy. “Innovation is crucial for future prosperity as well as for jobs in Austria. That’s why the Austrian government invests heavily every year in applied, industry-focused research.”
“The current situation in Europe clearly shows that climate policy, supply security, location and innovation policy can only work in unison. That’s why I’m doing everything I can to ensure that targeted innovations can be implemented and rolled out quickly,” affirmed Climate Action Minister Leonore Gewessler in her video greeting.
55 years of research funding
On behalf of the public sector, the FFG and its predecessor organisations have brought about an enormous increase in domestic innovations in more than 55 years of research funding and have not experienced any crisis themselves in the past two years. On the contrary: “In contrast to the financial crisis of 2008, there was a massive increase rather than a slump in demand for projects,” said an optimistic Managing Director Klaus Pseiner at the FFG FORUM. “Companies in Austria are using the crisis to further expand their R&D capabilities and are preparing themselves for the time afterwards.” The FFG itself has now developed from a pure programme manager to act as a node and ‘innovation hub’ between politics, business, and science, Egerth added.
In 2021, 3.1 billion euros were invested in business-related research and broadband infrastructure in Austria. In detail, the FFG supported and initiated:
- around 1 billion euros in research premiums, which require an FFG assessment;
- around 1.8 billion euros in total project volume (921 million euros of FFG funding + 897 million euros provided by the funding recipients themselves);
- 233 million euros flowing into Austria from EU or ESA funds. Here, the FFG acts as a national contact point.
The FFG FORUM 2022 was organised in accordance with green event criteria.
Credit: FFG/Klaus Morgenstern