Numerous measures have been put in place in Austria with the main aim of promoting the close relationship between business and research. The objective is to move Austria forward into the group of Europe's most innovative countries. Companies and research institutes will benefit equally from this increased cooperation.

With research and development accounting for nearly three percent of the country’s economic output (GDP), Austria is performing well above the EU and OECD average. But it needs more than just high level investments. Numerous structural reforms have paved the way to growth in the area of research expenditure: milestones have been reached with the development of the universities of applied sciences sector in the mid-1990s, the reform of the study system (Bologna Process) and the granting of autonomy to universities. The system of research funding was reformed, and important new funding programmes and tax concessions for research activities introduced. The non-university research institutes were also reorganised, and means for funding application-based research (business-oriented research) were increased. Various measures were implemented to significantly expand the collaboration between science and business, competence centres were set up – such as within the framework of the research funding programme COMET – and research headquarters were established.


The joint efforts are bearing fruit: today, Austria boasts several universities and non-university institutes with an international reputation and an excellent scientific output. The number of scientific publications has been significantly increased; Austrian researchers are also very active internationally, evidenced, for example, by their highly successful participation in the EU research framework programme.
The achievements of the active research policy are visible: for example, Austria’s patent activities since 2000 have seen above-average growth and are – in proportion to its number of inhabitants – clearly above EU average. At 56 percent, the share of innovative companies is also far above the European average. Small and medium-sized companies in particular have been set on the path of innovation through a custom-tailored funding programme.


Austria’s economic policy has long since recognised the huge significance of entrepreneurial innovation and has constantly sought to promote innovative entrepreneurial performance with the appropriate support tools. The proportion of companies that enjoy innovation-specific funding is higher in Austria than in all other EU Member States. The collaboration between science and business has been strongly expanded in recent years. There has also been a sharp rise both in the earnings from research and development work that the universities generated for clients and joint venture partners from the world of business, and in the number of spin-off foundations from universities.


Examples of technological pioneers and world market leaders in Austria:

Agrana (fruit preparations, fruit juice concentrate) • AMAG (aluminium semi-manufactured products) • Andritz (plants for wood pulp and steel) • Anton Paar GmbH (measuring and analytical equipment) • AT&S (printed circuit boards) • Atomic (skis) • AVL (engine development) • Berndorf AG (toolmaking) • Blum (furniture fittings) • BWT (water technologies) • Doppelmayr (cableways and transport systems) • Engel (plastic machinery) • FACC AG (aircraft components) • Fischer (skis and bindings) • Frauenthal Holding AG (utility vehicle components) • Frequentis (security technology for airports), • Geislinger (clutches for maritime engines) • Greenonetec (solar thermal collectors) • Infineon Technologies Austria AG (chip technologies) • ISI (propellant gas capsules for food and car airbags) • Isosport (composite materials for skis and snowboards) • Isovolta (special films for photovoltaic modules) • Jungbunzlauer (citric acid) • Kapsch TraffiCcom (fully electronic toll systems) • Keba (automation solutions) • Knapp AG (warehouse logistics) • KTM (off-road motorcycles) • Lenzing (Lyocell fibres) • Liebherr (cooling equipment, cranes) • Magna Powertrain (drive systems) • Mayr-Melnhof Karton AG (packaging) • MIBA AG (sintered components, slide bearings) • OMV AG (crude oil exploration) • Ovotherm (transparent egg packaging) • Palfinger (truck cranes) • Pankl (precision parts for aviation and motor sports) • Pelzmann (pumpkin seed oil) • Plansee (high-performance metals) • Pollmann (control units for sliding roofs) • RHI (fireproof materials) • Rosenbauer (special fire service vehicles) • Riegl Laser Measurement Systems (measuring and scanner technology) • Schiebl (unmanned flight systems) • Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield (components for oilfield development) • Siemens AG Österreich (transport technologies) • SKIDATA AG (access systems) • Sunkid (lift facilities for children) • Swarovski (crystal products, optical equipment) • Teufelberger (cables) • Tupack (packaging for cosmetic items) • voestalpine (steel products) • Wienerberger (building materials) • Wintersteiger (machines for winter sports, sowers) • Zizala (lighting systems for motor vehicles) • Zumtobel (electronic light technology)