STARs of Tomorrow: Supporting Junior Researchers

The new state funding program “STAR” is making Upper Austria even more attractive to high potential academics and scientists.

The Johannes Kepler University will serve as a partner for the first call and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) will handle the administrative side. “Step Ahead Through Research” (STAR for short) is an initiative by the strategic economic and research program “Innovatives OÖ 2020”, bringing an additional 40 million euros to flagship projects.

Dr. Michael Strugl, Research Administrator and Deputy Governor, explained, “The objectives have been clearly defined: strengthening this area as a location of research as well as making our state universities and research facilities more attractive. We want to not only recruit outstanding talent from around the world, but also retain talented academics and scientists by offering long-term career prospects.”  The program is aimed at institutions that wish to attract experts from around the world, provide them with an opportunity to build a research group, and offer long-term employment prospects.

JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas added, “For the first call, we have agreed on two future fields: Artificial Intelligence and Medical Engineering. These are two areas in which the JKU plays a pioneering role together with, among others, the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT). As Upper Austria’s leading institution for education and research, it is an innate part of our DNA to play an active and key role in shaping digital transformation and creating the jobs of tomorrow.” To mark the occasion, the Kepler University will create a tenure track position (in the form of a graduate university teaching assistant) for each of the aforementioned fields.

Klaus Tockner, President of the Austrian Science Fund, remarked, “The young research groups give Upper Austria and the Johannes Kepler University Linz a chance to keep pace with the rapidly increasing global competition and attract the best and brightest. By providing long-term career prospects and attractive funding, we can attract and support outstanding junior researchers. The Austrian Science Fund has been supporting outstanding young academics and scientists for decades and they have been well received in the scientific community. We are delighted to provide Upper Austria with our expertise in support of their ambitious goals.”

The Details, the Schedule
In coordination with each respective partner, the calls will define the research fields derived from the strategic program “Innovatives Oberösterreich 2020”. The “Young Research Groups” will be funded for an eight-year period (divided into two periods of four years each).

Project selection will be based mainly on scientific qualifications and head of the research group’s potential. Pre-requisites include, for example, international networking and mobility, corresponding references as well as the potential to become a leading scientist.

The application deadline is at the end of April 2019, the decision will be rendered by November 2019. By the end of next year, decisions on other calls will also be rendered.