Strategies of European 'frontier' research agencies

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European “Frontier” Research Agencies (Part 1 of 2)

As requested, an overview for each research agency, Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Swedish Research Council (VR), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has been provided.

I. Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is "Austria's central funding organization for basic research."

1. Objectives
On the agency's about page, FWF states its objectives as:
— To enhance Austria's science position (both in terms of research quality and reputed scientific location) on the world stage by funding high quality research and improve Austria's innovation system and capabilities.
— To train Austria's personnel for science and research
— To highlight the inseparable link between science and other fields (culture, economy...) and improve public recognition of science and research through purposeful public interactions.
2. Recent trends and adaptations

a. Open Access trend: Following the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, the FWF entails and encourages all researchers to publish their peer-reviewed projects freely online. On February 12th, 2018, the Austrian Science Fund declared its partnership with John Wiley and Sons and the Austrian Academic Library Consortium (KEMÖ) to "a three-year combined open access publication and subscription agreement".

b. Future strategies (2017-2020)
For the period of 2017 to 2020, FWF aims to:
— Bring Austria to become the top location for science and improve basic research.
— Effectively allocate resources in different areas.
— Develop and publish new content, including the high-risk topics.
— Establish an FWF Foundation to attract more funds.
To achieve these goals, FWF has implemented the “1,000 Ideas Programme” — a system assisting high-risk projects and “future chairs” — a program specialized for best young scholars. These initiatives will help to improve Austria's reputation as a scientific venue.

3. Other organizations

In Austria, there is another organization named Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), which also funds basic research and R&D applied research. FFG is a "national funding agency" and belongs to the Republic of Austria.

II. Swedish Research Council (VR)

The Swedish Research Council is under the control of Swedish Ministry of Education and Research. It is a research funding organization and policy-counseling agency for government. VR supports basic research.

1. Objectives
— Produce top-notch scientific research
— Bring Sweden to the top position in scientific research.

2. Strategies
Gender equality strategy
The Swedish Research Council states in its remit the importance of bringing about gender equality in science institutions. Frequent investigations are conducted on the issue, along with continual screenings of applications handling and follow-up discussions to improve the current situation. Moreover, from 2015 to 2018, the Swedish Research Council participate in a government developmental program specializing in improving gender equality in all initiatives.

3. Recent trends and adaptations
Over the next 10 years, one of the most notable enhancements in the Swedish Research Council's plan is its heavy investment focus on e-infrastructures, bringing its research environments to top-notch quality and achieving global standard.

4. Other organizations

In Sweden, there are 4 major funding research agencies: Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council, Forte and Formas. Vinnova is under the administration of the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and specializes in R & D funding. Forte is a research agency under the management of the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Formas also involves in research funding, but specializes in sustainable development.

III. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is a Swiss funding research agency with a mission to foster the development of young talents in science. SNSF focuses on basic research.

— Provide proper environments for excellent research.
— Close the researchers' budget gap
— Promote the value and supports the expansion of knowledge in different fields.

2. Recent trends and adaptations
Most notable trends during the period 2017-2020 are:
— SNSF will continue to focus on project funding, a scheme that helps researchers to apply for funds for project of their preferences.
— SNSF will introduce PRIMA — Promote Women in Academia, which promotes gender equality and supports women in scientific careers.

3. Other organizations
In Switzerland, there are two agencies that directly receive funding from the Swiss Confederation; they are the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Innosuisse — Swiss Innovation Agency. While SNSF focus on funding basic research, Innosuisse provides fund to applied research between institutions and industry.


From the research, we can conclude that these three research agencies all conduct basic research. In addition, they also share common goals: to ensure high quality research and improve its country's position in scientific research.

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European “Frontier” Research Agencies (Part 2 of 2)

"The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) is Israel’s leading organization that provides public support for basic research in Israel." In 1972, the Israel Science Foundation was established by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities as the 'Branch for Basic Research'. It became an independent non-profitable organization in 1995 primarily funded by the Council of education.


The Israel Science Foundation's goal is to promote Israeli basic research through a “bottom-up” approach to nurture entrepreneurship among the scientific research community initiated by curiosity-driven and talented individuals. Such initiatives inspire the establishment of different ISF programs and funding opportunities.
All grants awarded involves thousands of scientists in Israel and across the world each year who select on the basis of scientific excellence and are vetted through a competitive peer-review process.


The Israel Science Foundation goals are;
⦁ Increasing support for Israeli research significantly through a core and dedicated programs.
⦁ Developing Scientific excellence.
⦁ Make certain stable and sensible success rates of grant funding for about a third of the proposals tendered.
From the above, it is apparent that ISF performs BASIC RESEARCH.


ISF takes part in Joint Research programs in Israel with parallel organizations such as;

The Israel Institute for advanced studies: They work with this institute to fund scientific workshops in Israel.

The Israel Foundation Trustees: Both ISF and The Israel Foundation Trustees have set up a new program for young researchers in social sciences.

The Nancy & Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine –(G-INCPM; ISF are collaborating with G-INCPM to allow the Israeli community access to the use of IT centers located in Higher Institutions.


The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) takes part in the Global Research Council with organizations such as;

National Natural Science Foundation of China- NSFC); They have a collaborative agreement with the NSFC for funding joint research grants and workshops.

The Canada-Israel Partnership; The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Azrieli Foundation and the ISF work in partnership to fund Israeli and Canadian researchers in biomedicine, as well as researchers from developing countries.

The Broad Institute; The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) together with MIT and The Broad Institute of Havard work together to advance biomedical research through a number of funding options.
India University Grants Commission- (UGC); They have a collaboration agreement with the UGC for funding joint research grants.


In 2015, ISF launched their new website together with ISF online which serves as the main interface between Israeli Researchers and The ISF and a central source of knowledge for ISF activities.

In 2017/2018, a head of field is appointed for Humanities for the first time.

In the research area of "Meaningful Learning", a distinctive program supporting centers of excellence was opened for a one-time submission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

The ISF launched its online system for submitting scientific reports. This also allows the body to collect resulting data from the research supported.

The National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NRDI)

The Hungarian Parliament (RDI Law) created a joint"National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NRDI Fund) to provide state support for research, development, and innovation and can be used solely for this purpose".

The NRDI provide predictable funding and enacts well planned and transparent use of available resources.

NRDI Fund perform both BASIC and APPLIED RESEARCH.


The National Research, Development, and Innovation Office (NRDI Fund) goal is to guarantee that Hungary adequately invests in RDI by funding outstanding research and supporting innovation to increase competitiveness and to develop RDI policy.


National Research, Development, and Innovation Fund's (NRDI Fund) objectives are;

To provide state support for research, development, and innovation in Hungary and the fund can be used solely for this purpose only.

To establish an internationally attractive RDI environment in Hungary, a stronger link of RDI to the economy and society for increase growth and prosperity and to be a world-class RDI Funding agency.
NDRI FUND has no collaboration with any other agency because it is separated and the sole agency serving this purpose although, Hungary has science and technology cooperation agreements with 36 countries at intergovernmental level with 10 countries at the inter-institutional level which aids its Scientific Research.


In 2017, NRDI fund increased its disbursement to domestic business and research centers to HUF 83.3 billion (EUR 273 million), and for international RDI cooperation projects and access to research infrastructures".

NRDI fund with a total budget of HUF 31 billion (EUR 101.5 million) opened up new grounds to enhance technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, protein research, and clean water.

To wrap it up, ISF performs Basic research, NRDI Funds perform Basic and Applied research. ISF and NDRI Fund goals are to increase support for research and develop scientific excellence, to establish an internationally attractive RDI environment in Hungary, a stronger link of RDI to the economy and society for increase growth and prosperity and to be a world-class RDI Funding agency respectively.