Austria launches research dialogue

By Redazione

Austria has launched a wide-ranging research dialogue with the goal of gathering ideas and generating discussions that will feed into a new science strategy for the country.

‘We need an Austria-wide strategy for self-sustaining and efficient research funding,’ said Johannes Hahn, the Austrian Science and Research Minister. ‘The research dialogue should be a
platform to rethink and reshape Austria’s research landscape.

‘Which research policies our country needs and how research can be linked with technological developments and innovations are just a couple of the issues that I would like to discuss with
scientists, researchers, research institutes, businesses and all interested people,’ he added.

One area which has already been selected as a focus for the research dialogue is human resources. ‘We must raise the potential of the talent that is already in Austria,’ said Mr Hahn. ‘Luckily
we aren’t starting off at zero. Austria is already a very attractive research and work location. Furthermore, many young talents are returning from abroad, because they find ideal conditions in
Austria. The brain drain doesn’t go in just one direction.’

Raising the level of research spending to 3% of GDP is another goal. ‘A special emphasis is placed on basic research, which forms the basis for research and development in a country,’ commented
Mr Hahn.

According to the Research Dialogue website, the topics picked for discussion will be launched via an online video conference. This will provide people with the opportunity to ask questions and
make comments straight away.

The Austrian government has set itself the goal of becoming one of Europe’s leading knowledge-based societies by 2015. Nevertheless, a recent survey of 1,000 Austrians revealed that their
knowledge of the Austrian research scene was relatively poor. The majority were unable to name a famous Austrian scientist.

‘We have to make research and its results more popular,’ said Mr Hahn. ‘We need personalities who give research a face.’ With this in mind, Mr Hahn revealed that he would like to see an
Austrian win a Nobel Prize within the next 10 years.

The government is also taking action to raise public awareness of the research going on in their country. Programmes are already up and running to get young people involved in research projects
and plans are afoot to set up further initiatives aimed at the general public.

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