The Austrian Industrial Research Promotion Fund (FFF) is Austria's most important source of finance for research and development projects carried out by industry. The fund - established in 1967 under the Austrian Research Promotion Act - is an independent legal entity. Since 1968 FFF has provided assistance in the amount of 2.2 billion Euro for 16.890 research projects.
In 2001 alone, about 227 million Euro were paid to companies working on the development of new products and technologies. Included is a total of 28.8 million Euro which was made available by the OeNB (The Austrian National Bank) to industrial research projects and sureties for bank loans to the amount of 48.2 million Euro.
However, FFF also supports scientists working on new products together with companies. It helps companies by providing them with an objective evaluation of each project chances of success, co-operates with know-how transfer agencies and helps in the search for joint research ventures. FFF also offers young researchers interesting programmes.
In 2002 the FFF was assigned to supervise seven impulse programmes, which were newly created by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT).
In addition, the FFF takes care of a total of 15 industrial competence centers and networks attached to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor (BMWA) with a granted volume of 147.30 million.
Recent budget in the year 2002: 246 million.
Beside the general programme FFF is currently involved in special initiatives:
The micro technology initiative in Austria commenced at the start of 2001. Micro technology is a key technology which shall now be implemented on a broad basis. To promote the initiative on a large scale both company projects and know how transfer will be supported. Also the development of foundations for scientific research will be promoted. The FFF will provide 12 million Euro annually for this 3-years-programme.The other network partners as well will provide additional support.
Successful innovation is based on continuity. SMEs often lack the necessary infrastructure to perform research on a regular basis. Therefore FFF funds SMEs for the setting up, extension, adaption and modernisation of laboratories and the costs for additional research personnel needed for the more efficient execution of a regular FFF innovation project.
Austrian Enterprises have a lot of innovative ideas but the implementation is often not undertaken due to unforeseen risks. Feasibility studies can reduce those risks. This new initiative is designed especially for SMEs to give them a more rational decision base. The feasibility studies should be carried out by expert organisations such as universities, research institutes and similar organisations.
Young researchers programme
This initiative sets out to support the involvement of young researchers in joint research, development and innovative projects with companies. The objective is increased co-operation between science and industry. It is often possible to convince small and medium-sized enterprises in particular of the advantages of joint ventures under this initiative and of establishing their own research and development facilities. This alsoenables young researchers to find jobs in the field of industrial research.
Food & Nutrition
The food industry is an economically important sector in Austria. However, R&D efforts in this field are weak and in many cases the technologies used are not even state-of-the-art. FFF launched this special initiative in 1998 with the intention to promote research and development in the field of food and nutrition as well as in the related technological areas. As this initiative was an excellent success, FFF decided to continue this program called Food and Nutrition 2002 until 2004. This time the focus is on projects from SMEs and projects based onco-operations. The objective of the initiative is to improve the technological level and to enhance the competitiveness of these enterprises. This initiative is part of a network of partners from industry, administration and science.
FFF also finances EUREKA, COST, e-content and other international projects and supports Austrian companies preparing proposals for EU-research programmes.
FFF, Kaerntnerstrasse 21-23, A-1010 Vienna Austria
Tel. +43 1 512 45 84/43, Fax +43 1 512 45 84/41