International research programmes

The research programme “Earth System Sciences (ESS)”, a programme of the Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) conducted by the OeAW aims at the exploration of the system of the earth. A series of calls offer funding for state-of-the-art scientific research projects. The ESS programme seeks to fill gaps in the Austrian funding landscape by supporting, for example, interdisciplinary projects, long-term research projects and projects focussing on areas that have hitherto gone largely unexamined and that thus can be considered pioneering.


New: MAB_Call 2016:

The Call is open from 17 October to 30 December 2016.

MAB_Call, Application Form (pdf), Application Form (docx)


Three national committees have been formed for the administration of the programme:

  • “Global Change”: the national committee takes over the agendas of the earlier programmes Alpenforschung, Global Change, International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and with them representation in many international research programmes, cooperations and networks, such as: Future Earth World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCAR) and Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER).
  • “Geo/Hydro-Sciences”: the national committee takes over the agendas of the earlier programmes Geophysik der Erdkruste (GdE), UNESCO International Hydrological Programme – IHP and UNESCO International Geoscience Programme (IGCP), which also represents the UNESCO Geoparks in Austria. Research foci include inter alia global transformation, all areas of hydrology and water management, geogenic risks (e.g. mass movements), environmental safety as well as mineral and groundwater resources.
  • “Man and the Biosphere (MAB)”: This UNESCO programme, founded in 1971, focuses on the relationship between humankind and the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources. The programme aims to strike a balance between protecting biological diversity, fostering economic and social development and retaining cultural values. MAB supports interdisciplinary and internationally connected research, development of models and training in the sustainable use of natural resources. The concept of a worldwide biosphere park network is one of the key components of the MAB programme for the realisation of sustainability in the relationship between humans and the environment. These internationally recognised areas serve as a kind of ”field laboratory” in which models of integrated development of the region that also protect the environment are conceived, tested and put into practice.  

The national committees comprise esteemed researchers and representatives of ministries and national organisations. The national committees monitor the Austrian research landscape, analyse which areas require attention and formulate ideas for new programme foci. The national committees are also responsible for the scientific orientation of the call and the coordination of research activities.

An “Earth System Sciences Advisory Board (ESS-AB)” was formed, tasked with quality assurance. The ESS-AB advises the national committees, the OeAW and the BMWFW on the development of programmes and on related scientific matters.