A newcomer’s guide to some interesting research institutions in and around Vienna

The approximately 1,500 research organizations in Vienna come in all shapes and sizes. Half of them are businesses and nine are universities where, every day, discoveries are made and new knowledge is generated.

For potential research students and professionals, as well as any newcomer trying to find out more about Vienna’s research landscape, here is a quick rundown on some of the more prestigious and intriguing places.


Austrian Academy of Sciences /
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW)


Back in the 19th century, expeditions to the North Pole and southern Arabia were the preserve of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Today, it covers a wide array of research topics, from the vocabulary of Byzantine literature to miniaturized thermal sensors and limnology (biological properties of inland waters).
(Photo © Michael Weinwurm / ÖAW)


Focus: Interdisciplinary, non-university research in arts & humanities and the social & natural sciences

Year established: 1847. In 1914, it took over the Institute for Biological Experiments, one of the first of its kind

Renowned graduates/prizes: ÖAW’s Institute for Radium Research, founded in 1908, won several Nobel Prizes

Facts and Figures: (from 2015 annual report) 683 young academics in 29 institutes; 79 EU-funded research projects; 21 ERC grants; 100 stipends; 2,143 research publications; 780 local and international research members of the Academy; 1,216 FTE employees.

Location: 1., Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2

Contact: (01) 51581-0 webmaster@oeaw.ac.at



Austrian Institute of Economic Research /
Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (WIFO)


WIFO logo
WIFO was founded by “Austrian School” economists F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. WIFO perceives its core task as serving as a bridge between basic academic research and economic policy applications that is built on a foundation of careful empirical analysis.


Focus: Applied empirical economic research in the style of the Austrian School of economics

Year Established: Founded in 1927 by free-market economists Friedrich August von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises

Renowned Graduates/Prizes: Friedrich Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Facts & Figures: Divided into five research groups; 136 staff members; 2015-16 Annual Report (in German)

Location: 3., Arsenal, Objekt 20

Contact: (01) 798 26 01-0,  office@wifo.ac.at



Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)


A nuclear R&D institute until 1978, AIT now specializes in key infrastructure issues of the future and is Austria’s largest Research and Technology Organization (RTO)
(Photo: AIT’s TECHbase Vienna, © AIT/krischanz-zeiller)


Focus: R&D for the technologies, methods and tools of the future

Year Established: Founded in 1956 as the Österreichische Studiengesellschaft für Atomenergie. Since 2009 under its current name

Facts & Figures: 55 areas of research; jointly-owned by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Federation of Austrian Industries. 1,260 employees – mostly based at the main facilities Vienna Tech Gate, Vienna TECHbase, Seibersdorf, Wiener Neustadt, Ranshofen, Graz and Leoben

Location: 22., Donau-City-Straße 1 (TechGate Vienna)

Contact: (0) 50 550 – 0, office@ait.ac.at



Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI)


OFAI is one of Europe’s leading non-profit contract research institutions, using methods like machine learning and data mining, language and speech technology, neural networks, intelligent software agents and other software technologies, with many of the underlying methods developed in-house


Focus: Artificial Intelligence. Intelligent Music Information Retrieval is its youngest research field

Year Established: 1984 by the Austrian Society for Cybernetic Studies (Österreichische Studiengesellschaft für Kybernetik, or OSGK, founded in 1969)

Renowned faculty: In 2015, Gerhard Widmer received a € 2.3 million ERC Advanced Grant for the AI-music project Con Espressione (read more about Widmer in our July 2016 issue)

Facts & Figures: Four main areas of research; 28 specialists, mainly computer scientists and linguists, all graduates from universities, work as employees at OFAI, plus nine scientists, mainly professors at universities, on a contractual basis

Location: 1., Freyung 6/6/7

Contact: (01) 533 61 12, sec@ofai.at



Central Institute for Meteorology and Geomagnetism (ZAMG)


ZAMG is a subunit of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). Towering atop the Hohe Warte hill in Döbling (in Vienna’s 19th District), ZAMG is the source of all weather forecast and climate data in Austria
(Photo @ZAMG/ Baumgartner)


Focus: Meteorology, Climate Science, Environmental Science, Geophysics

Year Established: Founded in 1851

Renowned faculty/awards: ZAMG laid the scientific foundations of statistical meteorology – organizing the first international meteorological congress in 1873

ZAMG logoFacts & Figures: Its 90,000-work library contains meteorological, climatological and geophysical literature, historical maps and CDs, among many other things. At 3106 m above sea level, ZAMG’s Sonnblick Observatory has monitored meteorological parameters for more than 125 years

Location: 19., Hohe Warte 38

Contact: (01) 36-0-26



Institute for Advanced Studies /
Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS)


IHS logo
In the 1960s IHS trained a new generation of social scientists in the then cutting-edge methods and theories of economics, political science and sociology.


Focus: independent, non-profit research Institute bringing together economists, sociologists, and political scientists, among others, to address fundamental economic and social problems and policy choices

Year Established: 1963

Renowned faculty/awards: launched with funds from the Ford Foundation under the auspices of two former Austrian scholars of world renown, Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Oskar Morgenstern

Facts & Figures: More than 1,000 alumni since its founding in 1963

Location: Recently expanded and relocated to Palais Strozzi in Vienna’s 8th district
8., Josefstädter Straße 39

Contact: (01) 599 91-0, office@ihs.ac.at



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)


A child of the Cold War, IIASA once enabled East-West scientific cooperation. Today it grapples with some of the world’s most pressing problems, including energy resources, climate change, environmental pollution, land use and sustainable development, risk and resilience, and population growth
(Photo ©IIASA)


Focus: Policy-oriented research/think-tank

Year Established: 1972

Renowned faculty/awards: Four Nobel laureates (Economics, Chemistry) have worked there. Multiple other awards have been bestowed as well

IIASA logoFacts & Figures: In 2015, 333 researchers from 49 countries worked at IIASA, 1,815 collaborators visited IIASA, and around 25% of IIASA alumni were actively involved in the institute. Together, they made up a global research network of over 3,000 scholars

Location: Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg

Contact: (0) 2236 807 0, info@iiasa.ac.at



Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)


At the 2002 Alpbach Technology Forum, Anton Zeilinger suggested establishing a new outstanding institute for basic research. An International Committee consisting of Haim Harari, Olaf Kübler, and Hubert Markl published a report which became the blueprint for the Institute of Science and Technology in June 2006
(Photo @ IST)


Focus: Theoretical and experimental research in the natural and mathematical sciences; PhD program

Year Established: 2009

Renowned faculty/awards: The first President of IST Austria is Thomas A. Henzinger, a leading computer scientist and former professor of the University of California at Berkeley and the EPFL Lausanne in Switzerland. Several ERC awards have been granted to faculty members

IST logoFacts & Figures: More than 40 research groups are working on campus. The planned campus development will allow a growth of up to 90 research groups by 2026

Location: Am Campus 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg

Contact: (0)2243 9000, office@ist.ac.at



Institute for Human Sciences /
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)


IWM logo
In the early days, IWM primarily sought to reintegrate the ideas and experiences of Eastern Europe into Western debates following decades of isolation. This goal remains of crucial importance even more than 25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.


Focus: Advanced study in the humanities or social sciences with regional expertise in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, India, South Asia etc.

Year Established: 1982

Renowned faculty/awards: The Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor and permanent IWM fellow leads a research project on religion and secularism. Together with Jürgen Habermas he won the John W. Kluge Prize (the so-called “Nobel Prize for Social Sciences”) in 2015

Facts & Figures: The IWM is registered as a private non-profit organization and receives its core funding from the Austrian Government (Ministry for Science, Research and Economy), the Polish Government (Ministry of Science and Higher Education) and the City of Vienna (Cultural Affairs and Science)

Location: 9., Spittelauer Lände 3

Contact: (01) 313 58-0, iwm@iwm.at



Medical University of Vienna (MedUni)
(formerly the Medical Faculty of the Vienna University)


MedUni Vienna is one of the youngest independent universities in Vienna, however it first gained international renown in the eighteenth century, when the First Vienna School of Medicine was founded. A General Hospital opened in 1784 and gradually rose to prominence as a research center. In the course of the nineteenth century, doctors and students successfully fought for freedom of teaching and learning, not least the freedom to perform autopsies of every patient who died at the Hospital.


Focus: Biomedicine

Year Established: 2004 (as an independent university)

Renowned faculty/awards: Carl von Rokitansky, founder of the Second Vienna School of Medicine

Facts & Figures: With its 3,630 researchers, 27 university departments and three clinical institutes, 12 medical theory centers and numerous highly specialized laboratories, MedUni is one of the most important cutting-edge research institutions in the field of biomedicine. In 2014, it became one of the Top 50 of the best medical schools in the world, ranked 14th in Europe and ranked 3rd in the German-speaking area. The General Hospital is the largest in Europe. The Josephinum, built in 1785, houses the world’s largest collection in the field of medical history.

Location: Various locations in the 9th district

Contact: (0)1 401 60-0, buero-universitaetsleitung@meduniwien.ac.at



Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI)


Since the beginning of the millennium, SERI has been looking for ways to achieve a “good life for all” distributed fairly over all people, today and tomorrow


Focus: Sustainable future growth

Year Established: 1999

Renowned faculty/awards: Prior to founding SERI, Friedrich Hinterberger was the leader of the working group Ecological Economics and Ecological Economical Policy at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

Facts & Figures: SERI supplies ten permanent and fairly paid jobs that are not bound to the duration of a project and has a yearly turnover of about half a million Euros

Location: 9., Schwarzspanierstraße 4/3

Contact: (01) 969 07 28-0, office@seri.at



Vienna Biocenter (VBC)


Vienna Bio Center
The VBC campus is located in the revitalized Neu Marx area of Vienna, which was a quarantine zone during the plagues of the Middle Ages and a central slaughterhouse in the 19th century. With the founding of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in 1985 the nucleus for the VBC was established


Focus: Life sciences, biotech

Year Established: 1988

Renowned faculty/awards: Several biotech companies have spun-off from the research and educational institutions on site. Sixteen such companies are situated on campus and are focused in the areas of vaccine development, disease diagnostics, manufacturing and therapeutics

Facts & Figures: A staggering 1,400 scientists and 700 students from over 40 nations have found a home in this modern mix of university departments, commercial companies and a business incubator. The VBC’s superior research infrastructure allows it to compete with Europe’s leading researchers in the life sciences at all stages of their career. Research at the VBC is conducted by more than 80 different research groups within two universities, the IMP, and the two institutions (IMBA and GMI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In addition many of the companies at the VBC are research intensive, adding to the career perspectives of its researchers

Location: 3., Campus-Vienna-Biocenter

Contact: (01) 79730 3601, office@viennabiocenter.org



University of Vienna


Affectionately nicknamed the “Hauptuni,” or main university, the oldest of Vienna’s universities is also the largest, with well over 90,000 students. Suffice to say, it is the undoubted backbone of Viennese research.
(Photo ©UW/ Alex Schuppich)


Focus: 20 diverse research platforms

Year Established: Founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 as Alma Mater Rudolphina

Renowned faculty/awards: The 15 Nobel Prize winners affiliated with the University include Austrian School of Economics founder Friedrich Hayek and quantum theory pioneer Erwin Schrödinger

University of Vienna logoFacts & Figures: 19 faculties and centers, and some 9500 employees, of which 6600 are academic staff

Location: Various locations around Vienna include the main building at 1., Universitätsring 1 and the Research Services and Career Development office at 9., Berggasse 7

Contact:(01) 4277-0



Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU)


Offering programs from Bachelor’s through doctoral, as well as executive education, for some 20,000 students, WU has consistently increased its global profile by offering a range of master’s programs taught in English and by expanding its international research activities


Focus: Not only business and economics, law, and socioeconomics, but also research “on the socially, ecologically, and culturally relevant questions we as a society are faced with today.” WU research is organized into individual departments and institutes. Competence Centers act as coordination and communication hubs.

Year Established: Founded as the Imperial Export Academy in 1898, it became the University of World Trade in 1919, and finally rebranded as the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU) in 1975

Renowned faculty/awards: Fewer than 1% of universities worldwide can claim WU’s triple accreditation by EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. Noted alumni include Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz and Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

Facts & Figures: 1,600 research associates, post-doctoral researchers, assistant and associate professors, and full professors produce over 1,100 academic publications per year. Roughly one in four students on campus has come to study at WU from abroad

Location: 2., Welthandelsplatz 1

Contact: International Office (01) 31336-4310



University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)


BOKU offers 9 Bachelor’s and 25 Master’s (10 in English) study programs for over 10,000 students


Focus: Forestry and Wood Science, Water Management, Agriculture, Food Chemistry and Biotechnology, Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering, Landscape Design and Landscape Planning, Environment and Bio-Resources Management

BOKU logoYear Established: Established in 1872 as Hochschule für Bodenkultur it became a fully-fledged university one hundred years later. 2009 saw the opening of a new facility: the Vienna Institute of BioTechnology (VIBT)

Location: 18., Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33, plus satellite campuses on Vienna’s Muthgasse (19th District) and Tulln

Contact: (01) 47654-0


Vienna University of Technology (TU)


TU Wien is among the most successful technical universities in Europe and is Austria’s largest scientific-technical research and educational institution. It emphasizes research-based teaching and project collaboration with other universities, research institutes and businesses


Focus: Five key areas – Computational Science and Engineering; Quantum Physics and Quantum Technologies; Materials and Matter; Information and Communication Technology; and Energy & Environment

Year Established: Born in 1815 as Imperial-Royal Polytechnical Institute, it started awarding doctorates in 1902

Renowned faculty/awards: Christian Doppler (Doppler effect), architect Otto Wagner, Nobel Prizewinner for Chemistry Richard Zsigmondy, Viktor Kaplan (Kaplan turbine), computer pioneer Heinz Zemanek, Rudolf Steiner (founder of anthroposophy) and Franz Viehböck, Austria’s first astronaut all attended TU

TU logoFacts & Figures: 30,000 students including Bachelor’s, Master’s, diploma and doctorate. 4,809 staff for eight faculty departments. The TU features its own two orchestras, a choir and annually hosts Vienna’s oldest ball (TU-Ball)

Location: 4., Karlsplatz 13

Contact: (01) 58801-0


Science: A Magnet for Keen Minds