FFG Austria – CORNET member from the start
Based in Vienna, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) is the national funding agency for industrial research and development in Austria. As a “one-stop shop” offering a diversified and targeted programme portfolio within one organisation, the FFG gives Austrian businesses and research facilities quick and uncomplicated access to research funding. Each year, the FFG grants funding to approximately 3,000 projects and also strongly supports the realisation of international Collective Research projects within the CORNET framework.
Austria, represented by FFG, has been a CORNET member from the very beginning. Lisa Berg, who has been responsible for CORNET projects and proposals at FFG for many years, gave us some more details regarding FFG’s participation in CORNET:
Mrs. Berg, could you tell us a bit more about FFG’s special role in the founding phase of CORNET?
FFG has been one of the driving forces for CORNET from the very beginning, when CORNET was drafted as an ERA-NET supported by the European Commission. The actual start as ERA-NET took place in 2005 when FFG (then FFF) was amongst the agencies which funded several pilot projects within the very first call. Meanwhile, being self-sustained since 2011, CORNET has developed into a successful and stable running network, now including partner countries and regions from several continents. Being a founding member and a very active partner in CORNET, continuously driving forward several Collective Research projects with Austrian participation, FFG has certainly contributed to the stability and growth of the network.
How does your funding agency fund CORNET projects?
FFG has a national funding programme for Collective Research that has been successfully running for many years with approximately 30 to 40 applications per year, forming the basis of application-oriented research and technology promotion in Austria. International CORNET projects are funded in the same manner: in an international CORNET project with Austrian participation, our national programme financially covers the activities of the Austrian participants – with a funding rate of up to 60 % of the project costs. As regards cost categories, we accept personnel costs, material, infrastructure, subcontracting and travel costs. Various kinds of organisations are entitled to apply: eligible applicants are SME organisations, trade associations of the Chamber of Commerce, non-university research institutions and clusters that function as SME associations.
We always make an effort to keep the time to contract as short as possible, so that the project consortia can start their work quickly. Our national requirements also apply to international CORNET projects, so, for applicants, the process is less complicated and they can easily work cross-border.
How do SMEs that benefit from Collective Research organise themselves in Austria?
More than 99 % of Austrian companies are SMEs according to the definition of the European Commission. A good example of how SMEs successfully organise themselves is the so-called “clusters”, which are authorised to submit applications in the same way as an SME organisation. There are more than 60 cluster organisations in Austria with various thematic fields, such as automotive, food, wood, mechatronics, materials etc. – most of them powerful networks of innovation. Clusters are meant to be “hubs”, connecting member companies, research institutes, educational and public institutions as well as decision makers for common activities. This forms the basis for a national competitive edge.
What are the advantages of CORNET for your funding agency and how is CORNET running in your country today?
CORNET is a very useful addition to our national programme and offers the unique possibility of working on an international scale in the field of pre-competitive Collective Research. For us, CORNET stands for an uncomplicated application process, a bottom-up approach, fast decision-making processes and added value for our applicants through the possibility of international collaboration within a strong and active network.We will gladly continue to use this opportunity in the future!
Pictures: © Ingo Bartussek / fotolia.com, CORNET
Get in touch with FFG – Austrian Research Promotion Agency
As a transnational funding network, CORNET realises international projects in the field of pre-competitive Collective Research combining national/regional funding programmes and mechanisms from different countries worldwide. At least two countries participate in one project and each country finances its own participants.
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