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FWF approves EUR 76.1 million for outstanding projects in cutting-edge research

MedUni Vienna researches the regulation of T cell mediated immunity by histone deacetylases
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(Vienna, 06-12-2018) At the 71st meeting of the FWF Board of Trustees, EUR 43.8 million in grants were approved for a total of 157 outstanding projects. In addition, there are three new special research areas with a total of EUR 13.3 million and six extensions of doctoral colleges with a total volume of EUR 19 million. One of the new special research areas is located at MedUni Vienna. Wilfried Ellmeier (Institute of Immunology) and colleagues are researching the regulation of T cell mediated immunity by histone deacetylases.

The FWF Board of Trustees has approved three new Collaborative Research Centres (SFBs) with a total volume of 13.3 million euros. The SFB programmes make it possible to work on innovative topics in a research network at an international level. The three new projects are dedicated to immune diseases (Medical University of Vienna), fat and energy metabolism (Medical University of Graz) and development in quantum technology (University of Vienna). By 2019, the FWF had funded a total of 48 SFBs with a total amount of 366 million euros.

The new special research areas
F 70 Regulation of T cell mediated immunity by histone deacetylases
The research network has set itself the task of gaining a profound understanding of the manifold functions of histone deacetylases (HDAC enzymes) in the regulation of T-helper cells and characterising the specific tasks of individual enzymes of this large protein family. The aim is to be able to use specific HDAC inhibitors to combat immune diseases.

Speaker: Wilfried Ellmeier, Medical University of Vienna

Besides Ellmeier, Nicole Boucheron, Michael Bonelli, Karl Kuchler and Christian Seiser from MedUni Vienna as well as Christoph Bock (CeMM), Iris Gratz (University of Salzburg) and Markus Hartl (University of Vienna/MFPL) are involved in the project.

F-71 Quantum Information Systems Beyond Classical Capabilities
The “BeyondC” priority programme builds on the broad knowledge spectrum of many different individual experiments and combines different theoretical and experimental approaches. On the theoretical side, the aim is to identify applications and methods that enable us to go beyond the current capacities of the classical computer and, in parallel, to further develop the programmability, quality and quantity of quantum platforms on the experimental side.

Speaker: Philip Walther, University of Vienna

Partner institutions: Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Max Planck Society, Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Innsbruck

F-73 Lipid hydrolysis: cellular lipid catabolism
The SFB investigates lipid hydrolases, which are known as key enzymes for cell growth and proliferation, cellular signal transduction and energy metabolism. Functional disorders of these lipid hydrolases, as essential enzymes for all living beings, can be the cause of many common diseases. Therefore, this special research area is working on a detailed understanding of the structure, function and physiological relevance of lipid hydrolases, which should lead to the elucidation of disease mechanisms and the development of new, innovative treatment strategies.

Speaker: Dagmar Kratky, Medical University of Graz

Partner institutions: Medical University of Vienna, Graz University of Technology, University of Graz

Six doctoral colleges extended
Funding amounting to 19 million euros was also provided to extend six of the 41 doctoral colleges (DK) currently underway. The focal points and their supporting institutions are protein research (Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences), population genetics (Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine), cardiovascular diseases (Graz Medical University), molecular pharmacology (University of Vienna), psychology (University of Salzburg) and discrete mathematics (Graz University of Technology).
The newly approved funds will be used to finance training places for almost 70 doctoral students. The doctoral colleges are a central funding instrument for the further development and quality assurance of the training of young researchers at Austrian universities. Since 2017, no new DK projects have been funded; instead, the doc.funds programme was launched as a new funding instrument for structured doctoral training. Existing DKs can apply for a continuation within the framework of an interim review.

The six DK extensions in detail
(in alphabetical order)

W 1232 Molecular Drug Targets - MolTag
Speaker: Steffen Hering, from 2019: Gerhard F. Ecker, University of Vienna
Partner institutions: Medical University of Vienna, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Project website: Molecular Drug Targets - MolTag

W 1226 Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease – DK MCD
Speaker: Gerald Höfler, Medical University of Graz
Partner institutions: University of Graz, Graz University of Technology
Projektwebsite: Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease

W 1224 - Bimolecular Technology of Proteins – BioToP
Speaker: Christian Obinger, from 2019: Chris Oostenbrink, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Project website: BioToP

W 1233 Imaging the Mind: consciousness, higher mental and social processes
Speaker: Manuel Schabus, University of Salzburg
Partner institution: Paracelsus Medical Private University Salzburg
Project website: Imaging the Mind

W 1225 Population Genetics - PopGen
Speaker: Christian Schlötterer, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Partner institutions: University of Vienna, Gregor Mendel Institute
Project website: Population Genetics

W 1230 Discrete Mathematics
Speaker: Wolfgang Woess, Graz University of Technology
Partner institutions: University of Graz, Montanuniversität Leoben
Project website: Discrete mathematics

Individual project funding, mobility, career and artistic research
The individual projects, such as the FWF’s proven bottom-up funding programme, make up the bulk of the grants. With an application total (including clinical research) of EUR 82.8 million, EUR 25.2 million euros were able to be approved, which corresponds to an approval rate of 30.4 percent. In addition, 28 grants under the mobility programmes “Schrödinger” and “Meitner” were approved, 11 projects under the PEEK programme for the promotion of artistic-scientific research and 15 grants under the Richter programme for excellently qualified female scientists.

FWF Austrian Science Fund
The FWF is Austria’s central institution for the promotion of basic research. In accordance with international quality standards, it supports outstanding research projects and excellent scientists dedicated to the acquisition, expansion and deepening of scientific knowledge.

For further information, please contact
All approved research projects can be found in the project data base (“Project Finder”) on the FWF website: »

In addition, statistics are provided for each board meeting, to be found at: »