The Heritage Science Austria funding programme of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which is financed by the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development, sponsors scientists and cooperative initiatives by institutions, such as libraries, archives, museums, universities, non-university research institutions where research into cultural heritage is conducted.


Heritage science is a rapidly expanding multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research field that comprises any form of research into cultural heritage. Objects and collections in museums, libraries and archives and also archaeological sites and monuments which are especially worthy of preservation constitute the object of its research which is carried out by using a well-established and at the same time innovative methodology of heritage science. The interdisciplinary combination of natural sciences and humanities is of great importance in this context.

Through the Heritage Science Austria impulse programme the Austrian Academy of Sciences supports the contribution that heritage science can make towards the preservation of cultural heritage. The programme promotes and ensures the enhancement of the transfer of knowledge between the players of the preservation of cultural heritage and science, on the one hand, and the general public on the other. The project findings will be made available through open access.

Target group

Heritage Science Austria addresses institutions of all disciplines in Austria where research into cultural heritage is conducted (libraries, archives, museums, universities, non-university research institutions). Several institutions may submit joint proposals which find solutions to specific questions in an interdisciplinary and innovative manner. Excellent research as well as the necessary infrastructure (equipment, efficient computers) on site will be financed.

The topic of the project must definitely be interdisciplinary. Cooperations with cultural heritage institutions are expressly encouraged. The project teams are requested to ensure the inclusion of young researchers and equal gender representation; also in this funding programme gender equality and the promotion of young researchers are of major concern to the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Application requirements

  • Submission as a group of at least two scientists.
  • One of the applicants must assume the role of application coordinator.
  • Each applicant may only take part in one application.
  • The applicants must be prepared to pro-actively contribute to the public presentation of the programme and attend associated events.
  • The project must be conducted at a research institution or an institution for the preservation of cultural heritage (libraries, archives, museums, universities, non-university research institutions); however, cooperations with other institutions may be established.
  • Approval from the representatives of the institutions involved must be enclosed with the application.
  • An institution may support multiple applications.

Funding term

  • Maximum of 4 years

Amount of grant

The budget envisaged for each of the projects is between a minimum of EUR 300,000 and a maximum of EUR 600,000. The total grant sum available is EUR 4.5 million.

The grant shall cover overheads in the amount of 10% of the direct project costs. The following direct costs may be applied for:

  • staff costs
  • costs for consumables
  • travel expenses
  • other expenses (e.g. costs of research infrastructure or equipment, software, commissioning of external services)

Application procedure

The call for proposals is open to all topics and in all of Austria.

It is a two-step application procedure: step 1 of the application (short proposal) is open to all applicants who fulfil the application requirements (see above); step 2 of the application (full proposal) can only be entered into upon invitation.

  • Call begins: 6 July 2020
  • Application step 1: The "Short Proposal" application form (description of the project), completed in full, CVs, publication lists and Einverständniserklärungen plus enclosures must be submitted by the coordinator by email to programmmanagement(at) by 15 September 2020.
  • All submissions which meet the necessary formal requirements for application (see application requirements) will be presented to an independent international jury. For the purposes of the objectives of the programme and based on scientific excellence and originality of the research project the jury will invite selected project managers to submit full applications by the end of October 2020. No expert opinions will be obtained in that stage. Unsuccessful applicants will immediately be notified of the rejection.
  • Application step 2: Full applications must be submitted by email by 12 January 2021 (stage 2 of the selection procedure). Full applications must include a detailed work plan and a number of milestones the achievement of which must be reported in annual progress reports. Furthermore, a data management plan (DMP) must be submitted, which shall ensure that the data generated in the projects will be securely maintained for the long term and will be made available for further research (open data as defined by FAIR principles). Expert opinions may be obtained in that stage.
  • A hearing before the jury during which the projects will be presented and discussed with the jury will take place in the spring of 2021. All project teams who have submitted a full application may be invited to the hearing.
  • The award decision of the independent international jury is expected to be announced in April 2021. The applicants will be informed of the outcome.

By their submission in connection with this call for proposals the applicants acknowledge that the related data and documents will be forwarded to the members of the jury and to experts. The data and documents will be forwarded for the purpose of evaluation of the application and decision-making with regard to the award of grants.

Funding modalities (excerpt)

  • The selected projects must start not later than 6 months after transmission of the grant letter and will have a maximum project term of 48 months. A funding agreement will be concluded with the project managers. Provided that no extra costs arise, the project term may be extended by up to 6 months if well-founded reasons are given.
  • The project progress and the use of funds must be reported once a year. The programme management must immediately be informed of any changes to the project plan. Changes which have not been reported will result in the discontinuation of the project. The programme management shall decide at their discretion whether to accept changes or to have them evaluated externally or, in the worst case, to reject them.
  • After completion a comprehensive final project report must be submitted, which will then undergo evaluation. The project shall only be deemed completed after successful evaluation of the project results.


Austrian Academy of Sciences
Research Funding - National and International Programmes
Dr. Alexander Nagler
T +43 1 51581-1272

Forschungs-News, Science Events & Co: Jetzt zum ÖAW-Newsletter anmelden!