Styria is at the leading edge of international scientific research and currently number one among all European economic regions. In summer 2017, the R&D rate exceeded the 5 percent mark, which means that more than five percent of Styrian Gross Regional Product (GRP) are re-invested in research and development.
Research & Development
Styria is at the leading edge of international scientific research and currently number one among all European economic regions. In summer 2017, the R&D rate exceeded the 5 percent mark, which means that more than five percent of Styrian Gross Regional Product (GRP) are re-invested in research and development (currently 5,14%). A critical factor has proven to be a traditionally close cooperation between industry and science in Styria: For decades enterprises of all sizes have worked successfully with universities and research institutes. The major part of R&D performed in business enterprises is funded by the enterprise sector itself, almost a quarter of it coming from abroad. The fact that 25 out of 39 Austrian competence centres are based in Styria further demonstrates the wealth of research talent in the region.
Styria is home to five universities, two universities of applied sciences and two universities of teacher education (listed below), forming an expert profile grown out of internationally recognised fields of excellence. Almost all scientific disciplines are present in the Styrian faculties, with post-graduate education and studies while employed also constantly expanding. Styrian universities are, in fact, large scientific enterprises creating significantly more than 12,000 jobs, acting as a mainstay for economy, integrated research and innovation far beyond the borders.
Joanneum Research is one of Austria’s largest non-university research institutes in Austria with more than 450 employees. Besides its headquarters in Graz it is also based in Weiz, Hartberg, Niklasdorf, Klagenfurt and Vienna. Research is performed in 7 research units specialising on topics ranging from digital information technologies, robotics and mechatronics to health sciences, surface technologies and environmental engineering. Joanneum Research is part of various national and international scientific communities. As one of Austria’s most important providers of new technologies, it stands for cutting-edge research on an international top level.
Silicon Alps Lab (SAL): Austria is currently building a new premier microelectronics research centre, divided among the three Federal States of Upper Austria, Styria and Carinthia with the cities of Linz, Graz and Villach respectively. All the hubs will be dedicated to a specific focus: Villach will be the centre of sensors and power electronics, Linz will be focusing on high frequency and Graz will be the SAL headquarters with the emphasis on system integration. Work is about to start in 2018 with a predicted 500 new jobs in the coming years.
ZWI – Centre for Knowledge and Innovation Transfer: As a part of the University of Graz, a new centre for knowledge and innovation transfer is being built in 2018. Interlinking young entrepreneurs, international start-ups and the academic world, it creates an ecosystem of enterprises in different stages of development for mutual benefit. Research evolves around questions of modern ageing and demographic change, such as geriatric disorders, consequences of migration and population growth or generations management.
Biobank: Styria boasts the award-winning Biobank Graz – one of the largest clinical biobanks in Europe. Covering 30 years of collection, it stores about 20 million samples and their associated data.
Competence centres are pioneers in research in applied sciences on an international scale. They pave the way for tomorrow’s products and technologies and generate stimuli for the entire Styrian economy. Embedded in the nationwide development program COMET, they are at the heart of Styria’s role as a premier scientific and innovation location. Participating in 25 out of 39 Austrian competence centres, Styria takes a national pioneer role.
Styrians are among the most qualified employees in Europe. Five universities with more than 50,000 students, internationally renowned universities of applied sciences and countless research institutions make Styria a hotbed of European talent. Second level pupils can enjoy an early start in professional training in one of the seven Styrian Technical High Schools (HTLs).
Due to close cooperation between the sectors of education, research and industry, the tuition takes a hands-on approach in order to meet the requirements of the market and to effectively address the skills gap in certain technical fields. Enhancing the collaboration, Styria introduced new dual academic curriculums in the field of IT, further improving the professional standards. Students in IT faculties follow a standard curriculum, while simultaneously working in the regional industry. Finding specialists and key workers is therefore easy for companies, added to the fact that the density of qualified professionals is among the best anywhere in Europe, as is the engineer quota.
Stereo is an attractive location to employers as well. With a corporate income tax rate of 25% (resulting in 22% effective taxation) and moderate personnel costs Austria/Styria holds a good position in the European middle ranks. Two special tax regimes particularly attractive to investors include a 12% tax credit for R&D expenses, as well as 20% tax allowance for staff training expenses.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. The last call for applications with a budget of €30 million is currently running (2018).
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve the above goals with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
More than €870 million of EU funding went to Austria since the programme has started in 2014, ranking us 3rd among all European countries. Styria was allocated €188.4 million thereof, placing us second of nine Austrian provinces, just behind Vienna. With 347 sponsored projects Styria is involved in nearly every fourth Austrian project.
Enterprise Europe Network
We are committed to forging links between Styria and the rest of Europe and beyond. The Enterprise Europe Network helps businesses innovate and grow on an international scale. It is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. The Network is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. It brings together 3,000 experts from more than 600 member organisations – all renowned for their excellence in business support.