Austria can’t afford a brain drain
In an open letter published on Monday, 17 leading Austrian scientists demand more support for fundamental research in Austria.
The Austrian Science Fund FWF for instance had to reject 160 eligible projects in 2019 due to insufficient funding, says the letter, signed by 17 Austrian Scientists of the Year.* One of them is CSH President Stefan Thurner.
“160 awarded projects mean work for about 500 highly committed people—mainly outstanding young talents—who want to contribute to a healthier, safer, more sustainable, liveable future with full commitment,” the letter states. “160 rejected projects mean: We could lose 500 well-educated, motivated people because the country offers them no opportunity for a secure scientific advancement. Austria cannot afford such a brain drain. We have to keep talent in the country or bring it (back) into the country.”
The researchers strongly recommend the funding for basic research in Austria to be increased by 100 million euros per year.
In addition, a nationwide Excellence Initiative should finally be implemented, as promised in the current government program.
*) The “Scientist of the Year” award is granted every year by the Klub der Bildungs- und WissenschaftsjournalistInnen (Club of Austrian education and science journalists) for outstanding science communication efforts.
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