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Research and development (R&D) at private universities is becoming increasingly important in Austria and constitutes one of the main remits of private universities. Since 2012, private universities have access to central public research funding. Since then, research projects at private universities are able to directly compete with projects carried out at public institutions and research at private universities is increasingly brought into the focus of international public opinion. A common measure of success is the acquisition of external funds, i.e. funds that are allocated following a strict selection process and are meant to support promising research projects. In this regard, private universities have already been very successful: A study published by the ibw in 2017 found that, with an investment ratio of 15% of the university budget spent on R&D, private universities are ahead of public universities with an investment ratio of 13%. When it comes to funds from international sources (e.g. the EU), private universities are not lagging behind public universities either. Among the most highly coveted funds are those granted by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in the field of basic research.
In the year 2018, private universities were able to secure €2.7 million in funding; the highest value they have achieved to date. Another example is applied research with funds provided by the Austrian research promotion agency FFG. In the year 2018, private universities were granted over €600 000 in funding. 50% of these funds were allocated to the domain of information and communication technology. Another important instrument of securing external funding is contract research where private universities cooperate directly with companies.