The Luxembourg Ministry of Science and Research (MESR) commissioned WWTF GmbH of the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) to organise the evaluation of the PEARL and ATTRACT programmes of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). An independent, international evaluation panel analyses the data, writes the evaluation report and makes recommendations. WWTF GmbH supports the panel in its activities, takes over the project management and is the interface to the ministry. One work package of the evaluation is concerned with the bibliometric analysis of the publication performance of the grantees in the PEARL and ATTRACT programmes. The bibliometric study compares the productivity, visibility, impact and networks of the funded PEARL and ATTRACT researchers in the years after the start of the funding in comparison to rejected candidates and ERC grant holders with an affiliation in Luxembourg. inspire research carried out the bibliometric analysis in collaboration with the University Library of the University of Vienna.
With the Impact Innovation programme, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) promotes the use of innovation methods to find ways to contribute to the solution of an innovation problem. The aim of the ex-post evaluation carried out by inspire research in collaboration with the ZSI Centre for Social Innovation was to examine whether the programme objectives were achieved with the funding, whether and which critical aspects could be identified with regard to the programme design and implementation, and which potential for improvement could be derived from the analyses. In particular, the ex-post evaluation assesses the impact of the funding on the actors involved and beyond. Based on the empirical results, the evaluation identifies potential for improvement in the funding and in the accompanying measures, which can be used by the FFG to further improve the programme.
In 2015, the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) initiated the association "Industrie 4.0 Austria – die Plattform für intelligente Produktion" together with the Federal Chamber of Labour (BAK), the Federation of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (FEEI), the Federation of the Metalworking Industry (FMTI), the PRO-GE trade union and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) as a national platform to jointly address the opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0 in an open and cooperation-oriented format. The objective of the assessment was to examine whether the intended societal goals could be achieved through the federal government's membership in the platform. The assessment compared the role and function of the BMK in the Austrian platform with the roles and functions of the respective national bodies in the platforms of the countries Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland in order to draw conclusions on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Austrian model.
From 2015 to 2020, the Volkswagen Foundation conducted the funding initiative "Life? - A new view of the natural sciences on the fundamental principles of life" (funding initiative "Life?"). The aim of the initiative was to fund projects that contribute to the understanding of the fundamental principles of life at the intersection of the natural sciences and the life sciences. Funding was provided for basic research projects that combined highly topical developments in the natural and life sciences with a claim to knowledge about the question of the fundamental principles of life and promised significant progress in the scientific understanding of life. In a bibliometric and altmetric analysis, inspire research, in cooperation with the University Library of the University of Vienna, investigated how the performance of the “Life?” grantees developed as a result of the funding. In addition, the analysis provided information on the potential and usability of bibliometric and altmetric methods for evaluative purposes at the Volkswagen Foundation.
With the Licence.IP and IP.Market programmes, Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws) supported technology transfer through various consulting and financing instruments to promote in-licensing of external know-how as well as the commercialisation of intellectual property through out-licensing. Both programmes have already been terminated and will not be continued. The evaluation of the programmes should nevertheless provide insights for the further improvement of the aws service portfolio in the IP area. In cooperation with KMU Forschung Austria, inspire research analysed current international developments in the support of out-licensing and in-licensing of IP for this evaluation.
The Henriette Herz Scouting Programme (HHSP Programme) addresses rising and established researchers in Germany who act as scouts for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and propose up to three talented researchers from abroad for a Humboldt Research Fellowship. This new approach should make it possible, to a greater extent than in the past, to approach highly sought-after junior researchers from abroad and invite them to carry out joint research projects at the scouts' institutions in Germany. In the bibliometric analysis that inspire research conducted together with the University Library of the University of Vienna, the publication behaviour of the HHSP fellows was compared with "twins" from the group of selected HFST fellows in the same period. Bibliometric indicators were used to check whether differences between the two groups could be identified.
As part of the preparation of the Expedition Future programme, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) commissioned inspire research to conduct an international benchmarking on support instruments for the promotion of disruptive and radical innovation. For the benchmark study, five examples of programmes and initiatives in Germany, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom were analysed in detail. Comparability with the FFG concept for the Expedition Future programme, comparability with the framework conditions in Austria and the international role model effect were used as selection criteria. Based on the analysis of the international benchmark cases, inspire research developed recommendations for the revision of the FFG programme concept.
To support research into coping with the corona virus pandemic, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) and the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) provided funding to the FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency for an Emergency Call in March 2020. The FFG funded experimental development R&D projects by individual Austrian companies dealing with corona virus and COVID-19 related issues that could be quickly implemented, including clinical trials and innovative manufacturing strategies in medically critical areas. The evaluation is intended to reflect the experiences with the administrative implementation of the Emergency Call as well as the results of the funding.
In cooperation with convelop cooperative knowledge design gmbh and the Bibliometrics and Publication Strategies unit of the University of Vienna library, inspire research evaluated the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme. The evaluation focused on the question of the extent to which the programme succeeds in attracting the best junior researchers and established researchers from abroad to spend a research fellowship in Germany. The evaluation also assessed the country-specific measures adopted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to approach highly qualified researchers and discussd the attractiveness of alumni offers for Humboldt Research Fellows.
With the funding scheme Clinical Research Units (KFO), the German Research Foundation (DFG,) aims to improve and strengthen research-oriented structures at university medical institutions in Germany. Central aspects in this context are the development of a scientific profile and research priorities, the strengthening of cooperation between natural scientists and clinicians and the promotion of young researchers among clinicians. In the evaluation, inspire research analysed to which extent the goals of the funding instrument could be achieved. The evaluation shed light on the value added which the instrument continues to offer in comparison to other DFG funding schemes to improve research structures at university medical institutions.
In cooperation with KMU Forschung Austria and VDI/VDE-IT, inspire research evaluated the Austrian Space Strategy 2012-2020. Since 1975 Austria has participated in ESA programmes. Since 2002, the Austrian ESA involvement has been supported by the national funding programme ASAP (Austrian Space Applications Programme). In addition to an online survey of the funding recipients of the ASAP programme, the evaluation included a Delphi survey and bibliometric analyses of the scientific output of Austrian space research in the period 2012-2018.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) inspire research gives strategic advice and support to the BMBF funding action „Strong Universities of Applied Sciences – Stimulus for the Region“ (FH-Impuls). The funding action provides financial support to research-active Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) that aim to strengthen their research priorities in collaboration with regional industry partners. The funding action supports projects with a high potential for (economic) exploitation and transfer in the region and a high potential to contribute to a focused UAS research profile.
M-ERA.NET is the European network for the coordination of national and regional research programmes in the field of "Materials Research and Innovation". The aim of the network is to support transnational partnerships of research institutions and companies in all fields of knowledge and application of modern materials science. In the face of increasingly growing numbers of Austrian applicants in recent years, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) has tried several approaches to support the largest possible number of qualitatively excellent project applications. inspire research analysed the rationale of Austrian companies and research institutions when participating in M-ERA-Net projects in relation with the national funding criteria for M-ERA-Net projects.
In 2014, the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) set up the BMVIT Endowed Professorship instrument. By providing funding for Austrian universities to appoint outstanding researchers as new full professors the instruments aims to establish new topics at Austrian universities that are of particular strategic relevance for Austria as a location for innovation. In cooperation with KMU Forschung Austria, inspire research evaluated the BMVIT Endowed Professorship instrument and derived recommendations for further improving the design of the funding instrument.
Until 2022 the Austrian Patent Office offered students at Austrian universities who were writing theses on technical subjects specific free of charge patent search services. With the so-called “Patent Scan”, the Patent Office wanted to support students in identifying patentable technical solutions and novelties in their theses and, if reasonable, to have them protected. In addition, the Patent Scan aimed to provide students with relevant patent literature that could be considered in their theses. inspire research conducted interviews with students who had requested the Patent Scan in the past in order to improve the design and implementation of the Patent Office's services for students.
The FFG programme "R&D Infrastructure Funding" aims to support the research profile and strategic planning of Austrian universities and research institutions. The programme also gives companies the opportunity to establish and expand commercially used R&D infrastructures in accordance with EU state aid regulations. inspire research analysed the experiences with the first two Calls for Proposals of the programme and made suggestions for the redesign of the administrative and content-related application requirements and for the improvement of the proposal selection criteria.
On behalf of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), in 2018 inspire research conducted an assessment of the 1st Call for Proposals of the FFG funding programme "Laura Bassi 4.0 - Women create equal opportunities in digitalisation". The assessment focused on questions regarding the comprehensibility of the call topic and the attractiveness of the funding and networking offers. The results of the assessment formed recommendations to better address the target group of the programme and to optimise the funding requirements and funding conditions according to the target group. In 2023, inspire research once again contacted the partners of the funded projects to provide the FFG with information on the achievement of the overall funding goals.
In 2017, the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) launched the TECXPORT initiative to support Austrian technology providers in international technology transfer and technology export. inspire research evaluated the concept and the implementation of the initiative. Based on the results, inspire research came up with proposals for improving the design and the implementation of the the TECXPORT initiative.
On behalf of the Austrian Patent Office, inspire research, in cooperation with Technopolis Austria, analysed pros and cons for the establishment of a software register at the Austrian Patent Office as a registry for software. By means of focus groups and a survey among software producers in Austria, inspire research investigated whether software developers expect advantages in the enforcement of copyrights through a public register and what demand a public software register could expect.
The Carinthian Economic Development Fund (KWF) commissioned inspire research to evaluate the governance structures and the service activities in the business areas aiming at the support of non-university research and development in the province of Carinthia ("Carinthian Research"), Industry 4.0 and foreign investment promotion of the the Carinthian Agency for Investment Promotion and Public Shareholding (BABEG). In the evaluation inspire research drew up proposals to improve the governance structure between KWF and BABEG and to align the services offered by BABEG with the innovation policy goals of the State of Carinthia.
In co-operation with convelop cooperative knowledge design gmbh inspire research evaluates the Research Award programmes of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award is granted to outstanding academics from outside Germany in recognition of the researcher's entire achievements to date. The award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year at a research institution in Germany for joint research activities with German partners. The evaluation focuses on the Research Award programmes‘ impact on stimulating and strengthening research collaborations and networking between the award winners and researchers in Germany.
With the 2018 Pilot Call Ideas Lab 4.0 the FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency aimed to stimulate the creation of new interdisciplinary teams among (academic) researchers and industry in order to fast-track applied R&D projects for product development or services that benefit society. Over several days the participants in the Ideas Lab, coming from various research fields and professional backgrounds, generated ideas and formed project teams to flesh out the projects and apply for funding. A group of mentors provided support and advice to the Ideas Lab participants. At the end of the Ideas Lab, the mentors recommend the most promising projects for public funding. inspire research evaluated the 2018 pilot call regarding the Call’s objectives innovativeness, interdisciplinarity and setting-up new collaboration networks. In 2023 and 2023 inspire research also carried out the ex-post evaluation of the 2018 Pilot Call and the 2019 Pilot Call of the Ideas Lab 4.0 programme.
On behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) an evaluation team of convelop creative knowledge design GmbH and inspire research carried out the interim evaluation of the Production of the Future R&D funding programme of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation & Technology (BMVIT). The interim evaluation covered both the design and the implementation of the programme since its start in 2012. The evaluation team also collected empirical data on the programme’s impacts on access to knowledge and human resources, economic and scientific outcomes and overall competitiveness. The evaluation was carried out with the particular view on assessing the effectiveness of new funding instruments such as financing of endowed chairs, pilot factories and lead projects.
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) has been funding ambitious collaborative R&D and innovation projects through several thematic programme lines in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). One particular characteristic of BMVIT’s ICT R&D programme funding is the linkages to related European funding activities in key technology areas such as microelectronics and embedded systems, but also in response to societal challenges such as demographic change. BMVIT commissioned inspire research to evaluate its ICT R&D programme funding beginning in the year 2002. The evaluation provides recommendations for further strengthening the programmes’ implementation and presents evidence on the structural impact of BMVIT funding on the Austrian ICT R&D landscape.
On behalf of the Division EIP European and International Programmes of FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency, inspire research provided support to EIP in developing a proposal for priority actions regarding the support measures for the European framework programme "Horizon Europe" 2021 to 2027. inspire research assisted the EIP team in preparing and conducting a series of internal workshops. The results of the workshops were summarised in a proposal on the action areas for support services for Austrian actors in Horizon Europe.
The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (FH Upper Austria) commissioned inspire research to conduct a benchmarking study of R&D input and R&D output indicators comparing FH Upper Austria with other leading universities of applied sciences in Austria and Germany and with selected Austrian research universities. Among the input indicators considered are funds for R&D and R&D personnel; among the output indicators scientific publications and R&D collaborations with national and international partners in academia and industry. The benchmarking mainly drew on a comparative bibliometric analysis of the institutions‘ research output, which allowed, for example, conclusions regarding the development of certain publication patterns over time.
The FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency develops its activities to promote research, technology, development and innovation in line with its Multi-Annual Programmes. In order to identify thematic contributions for the upcoming Multi-Annual Programme period 2018 – 2020 FFG organised focus groups with external experts. inspire research provided support to the design and the analysis of the focus group results.
Commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, convelop and inspire research developed an action plan to better embed gender mainstreaming and diversity management at Austria’s universities of applied sciences. To develop a realistic action plan, convelop and inspire research worked closely with the universities of applied sciences, the Association of Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences’ Working Group on Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Management and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy’s Staff Unit for Gender and Diversity Management.
Das Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) contracted inspire research and KMU Forschung Austria to evaluate the BRIDGE funding programme. BRIDGE funds basic science research projects at universities and other public research organisations that demonstrate realistic application prospects. Companies participate in these projects either financially, or non-financially by giving advice and guidance. BRIDGE project funding aims to facilitate the transfer of basic science results into industrial applications.
Hannover Messe is the world’s leading industrial technology show, and for many companies among the most important fairs to present innovative manufacturing and production technology. In particular, Hannover Messe is among the worldwide leading industrial digitalisation exhibition venues. Aim of this feasibility study on behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) was to collect information on the requirements and strategies of companies and regional governments concerning their participation in the Hannover Messe, to assess options for a joint Austrian Industry 4.0 stand at Hannover Messe 2018 and to define specification requirements for further planning.
The FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency commissioned inspire research to design and document a workshop on “Digitalisation and Services” in the framework of the Smart & Digital Services Initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). The workshop participants discussed approaches to future funding priorities and support actions to fully exploit the potential of digitalisation-driven services in the economy and in society.
Documentation of the workshop
Since 2012 the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) supports with the funding priority KLIPHA clinical trials (phase I and phase II) that are carried out by SMEs in collaboration with clinical centres in Austria. FFG contracted inspire research to assess the results and impacts of KLIPHA funding so far. The assessment draws conclusions with regard to the effectiveness of the KLIPHA funding concept.
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inspire research supported the Swiss Federal Audit Office EFK Swiss Federal Audit Office EFK in evaluating the long-term impacts of R&D project funding by the Swiss Innovation Agency KTI (since 2018 innosuisse). Based on case studies and questionnaire survey results, the evaluation informed the EFK on the key facilitating and impeding factors for achieving the goals and objective of KTI’s R&D project funding activities.
In collaboration with Technopolis Austria and the University of Vienna, inspire research evaluated the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship programme. With prize money amounting to up to five million euro, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is the most highly-endowed research award in Germany and draws top international researchers to German universities. The evaluation provides evidence on the structural impacts of the Humboldt Professorship programme on the nominating universities and research institutions.
The European Commission invited Anton Geyer to join the expert panel for the interim evaluation of the Active and Assisted Living Programme – ICT for Aging Well (AAL Programme). The AAL Programme is the trans-governmental funding activity of more than 20 countries to create better conditions of life for the elderly and to strengthen the industrial opportunities in Europe through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).