An exciting year comes to an end, a new space year is just around the corner.

Looking back

Right at the beginning of 2022, the good news was announced that IWF is involved in a new NASA mission: With HelioSwarm the institute wants to unveil the mystery of the solar wind.

In June, BepiColombo flew by Mercury for the second time, collecting data from the planetary environment and preparing for the main mission.

Three missions with IWF participation made it into the top 5 of ESA's newly selected "Medium-size (M) Missions".

JWST detected sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet for the first time and Hubble and Spitzer discovered an ocean planet orbiting around Kepler-138.

In 2022, 150 scientific articles were published, 28 were first authored by the IWF. ESA, EU, FFG and FWF approved seven new projects for the coming years.

Awards and new "paths"

Our (former) staff members have received various awards and new functions.

Christian Möstl received an ERC Consolidator Grant and now heads the new Austrian Space Weather Office at ZAMG in Graz.

The newspaper Kleine Zeitung nominated Martin Reiss as "Head of the Year from Southern and Western Styria" in the category "Economy and Research". He is now working as a staff scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The long-time IWF Director Wolfgang Baumjohann was elected to the new OeAW Presidium Committee.

Oliver Herbort and Dominic Samra successfully defended their PhD theses at the University of St Andrews on "Atmospheres of Rocky Exoplanets" and "Mineral Snowflakes on Exoplanets and Brown Dwarfs", respectively.

The Planetary and Solar System Sciences (PS) division of the EGU awarded the "2022 Outstanding Student and PhD candidate Presentation (OSPP) Award" to Patrick Barth.


On 20 May, the Long Night of Research (Lange Nacht der Forschung - LNF) took place and - after a four-year break - attracted almost 1000 people visiting 13 stations in Schmiedlstraße and at the Lustbühel Observatory. The next date has already been set: 24 May 2024.

The highlight in the IWF’s event calendar was our birthday party. Around 150 people - including future Nobel Prize winner Anton Zeilinger – came to celebrate 50 Years of IWF Graz. During the event, IWF Director Christiane Helling inaugurated the new young researcher programme YRP@Graz and students of the Model School Graz presented an “ancestral gallery” of a special kind.

To mark this anniversary, the achievements and future visions of the IWF were summarised in a 7.5-minute film and shown in the special exhibition MISSION POSSIBLE!, which from 18 December 2021 to 11 September 2022 was visited by 15,514 people, including 4,000 pupils. Two main winners were drawn from the 299 validly submitted boarding passes. They were recently invited to a guided tour through the two IWF locations.

In summer, Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, and OeAW President Heinz Faßmann visited the IWF.

Throughout the rest of the year, international guest speakers and local lecturers informed about current research topics and scientific results in the new Thursday’s IWF colloquium and seminar series. Missed lectures can be watched and listened on the IWF YouTube channel.

The IWF in the media

The IWF received many media enquiries. A small selection of radio and TV appearances as well as newspaper reports can be read in our media review.

Manuel Scherf, Ludmila Carone and Martin Volwerk contributed to our space blog in the newspaper DER STANDARD.

Numerous social media news were spread via Twitter and LinkedIn. The OeAW reported on Facebook on the activities of its institutes, most recently also on those of IWF.

Preview into the new year

In 2023 we are looking forward to the launch of three (!) missions (including launch parties): JUICE in April, Macao Science 1 in July and CSES-2 in November.

In February, the new YRP call will start, which will bring three new PhD students to Graz. An overview of upcoming projects will be posted soon on the YRP@Graz webpage.

Research at the IWF is regularly evaluated by our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The next SAB meeting will take place on 24 and 25 April.

BepiColombo will fly by Mercury for a third time on 20 June (in total it is 1 x Earth, 2 x Venus, 6 x Mercury fly-bys; final arrival is planned for December 2025).

The five proposals for ESA's next medium-size mission will be reduced to three, hopefully keeping the IWF in the running.

Between 29 April and 5 November, the STEIERMARK SCHAU will show the "diversity of life". As part of the exhibition entitled "Atmospheres - Climate, Art and Cosmos", a mobile pavillon will take a closer look at the diversity outside the solar system, inspired and advised by IWF's exoplanet researchers.

From 11 to 20 July, also the Summer School Alpbach will deal with “Exoplanets: Understanding alien worlds in diverse environments”.

The IWF event calendar already offers a small foretaste of the upcoming colloquia and seminars as well as of the URANIA lecture series, which will be organised in collaboration with the IWF in the last trimester and deal with the James Webb Space Telescope and other space expeditions of the IWF.

In this spirit, the IWF wishes a

Merry Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year

with lots of exciting space adventures to come.