With Austria's entry into the EU the country is inevitably involved in the promotion and funding of European research, including the "Controlled Nuclear Fusion" programme, which is more tightly organised than the other parts of the 4th Framework Programme.
Research is carried out on the basis of association agreements by which countries must make their fusion research available. The EU pays for a percentage of the overall costs of this research. The association agreements contain a coherent research programme as part of the EU fusion programme. Given the current organisation form and financing structure of Austrian fusion research, significant funding by the EU and thus at least a partial "return" of the country's contribution is not very likely.
Consideration was therefore given to the question of whether better funding for Austrian fusion research would provide a more useful basis for participation in the European fusion research programme. According to practically all observers Austrian fusion research at universities and research institutes is good but fragmented. Funding is modest – half as much as in Portugal, for example - and the resources are allocated in such a way that long-term planning is impossible. The meagre funding over long periods has also resulted in considerable deficits in terms of equipment and infrastructure. Fusion research and development in Austrian industry is carried out by only a few companies, although these firms can offer a very good and internationally acclaimed standard in the special areas of material technology and supraconducting magnets. Other companies have not yet concerned themselves with fusion technology to date.
Experts suggest that Austria should participate in the European fusion programme and should, as a prerequisite, devise a coherent research programme and increase current project-related expenditure by ATS 7 million per year for an initial period of five years.
01/1994 - 12/1994