It is the task of academics employed by the University of Vienna to ensure outstanding performance in research and teaching at the 15 Faculties and four centres. Currently, approximately 6,700 are researching and teaching at the University, about 1,000 of which in projects financed by third-party funds. The academics are concerned both with knowledge-orientated basic research and problem-solving applied research.
Research at the University of Vienna comprises a wide spectrum of scientific subjects: Catholic and Protestant Theology, Law, Economic Sciences and Computer Science, Philological-Cultural Studies and Historical-Cultural Studies, Social Sciences and Psychology, Life Sciences and Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Sports Sciences and Teacher Education.
One of the main objectives of the University of Vienna is to join the ranks of the leading research universities of Europe; therefore, it intends to support its researchers and to create the best-possible conditions for research. By especially promoting inter-disciplinary research, the University of Vienna has been setting examples internationally for sustainable development.
In order to foster particularly innovative fields of research that have not yet been established at the University of Vienna, inter-faculty research platforms have been provided to act as organisational units. Competitive tenders ensure that the university funds are utilised for projects relating to the main areas of research.
An essential contribution to ensuring this at the highest international level, is made by the acquisition of third-party funds. The University of Vienna has been participating in programmes provided by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the EU Framework Programmes with a traditionally large number of projects.
Its research aims at ensuring the highest quality and, reflecting its objectives, is based on long-term considerations. A concerted transfer of knowledge and technology illustrates the desire of the University of Vienna to promote a continuing development of innovation potential of and for both society and the economy.
Young scientists and academics are the future of success and innovation, and ensure the continuity of research. Therefore, the University of Vienna has set up new, structured Doctoral Programmes, the so-called Initiativkollegs (Initiative Groups) to complement the previous doctoral studies with individual supervision. Thus, the University of Vienna supports young scientists and academics in shaping their careers according to international standards.
High quality criteria govern the selection of these Initiative Groups and the doctoral candidates studying there, and supervision is carried out by international peers. By using such structured Doctoral Programmes, the University of Vienna highlights the variety of its research and develops its profile for the future. As "early stage researchers", the doctoral candidates are integrated into research teams that have already formed at these groups.
To date, eleven Initiative Groups – as well as several Doctoral Programmes funded by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) – have been established at the University of Vienna.
At the University of Vienna, many initiatives have been taken to promote the careers of women. Apart from so-called "in-house head-hunters" (Suchbeauftragte), who address qualified female scientists and encourage them to apply for a Chair, other measures, such as the Coaching Project, are offered to support the careers of women in academia. Since 2000 177 mentees have been supported by 49 mentors, both male and female, in the course of the Mentoring Programme at the University of Vienna.
In order to ensure and enhance the current quality of research, the University of Vienna has taken numerous measures, e.g. establishing Scientific Advisory Boards (both for the entire university and single faculties and centres), and regularly conducting evaluations according to the method of "comprehensive evaluation" (at the faculties and centres, all activities in the fields of research, teaching, and administration are subject to a common quality analysis). With the aid of these evaluations, the University of Vienna aims to improve academic papers and to promote scientific creativity and the readiness for innovation.