ABA Roadshow 2012

bridges, vol. 33, May 2012 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad
By Philipp Marxgut

Texas GroupIn the last week of March 2012, a delegation from the Medical University of Vienna, INiTS (the Hightech Business Incubator in Vienna), ABA – Invest in Austria, and the OST were welcomed by the Austrian Honorary Consul Gerald Seidl in Texas for a week of exciting visits, meetings, and workshops. The aim was to identify interest in establishing exchange programs and research cooperation as well as to promote Austria as one of the most dynamic locations for research and development activities in Europe:  offering excellent research universities, a high availability of qualified staff, and a motivated workforce in one of the most secure countries in the world with an unsurpassed quality of life.

Karin Gutierrez-Lobos, vice rector of the Medical University of Vienna, and the neurologist Dietrich Haubenberger, a former visiting fellow at NIH who returned to the Medical University of Vienna in August 2011, explored opportunities for collaboration, exchange, and mutual learning in numerous meetings in Houston and Dallas.

The Texas Medical Center of Houston is one of the world’s leading locations for patient care, research, and education, consisting of 50 institutions dedicated to the highest standards. The Medical University of Vienna, building on a tradition of almost 650 years, is one of the largest biomedical research centers in Europe, linked to Europe’s largest hospital and providing its medical staff.

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Gerald Seidl set up meetings with representatives of the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Houston, Rice University, the Gulf Coast Consortia, the Bayer College of Medicine, the Memorial Hermann Health Care System, Bio Houston, and the Southwestern Medical Center. There was great interest on both sides in increasing the collaboration between these two world-famous medical institutions, and we look forward to the start of a potentially long-lasting collaboration.

The strategy of creating a network of Austrian scientists in the US and Canada again proved its value. Not only were the Austrians “on the ground” instrumental in setting up numerous meetings, but they were also a great source of knowledge for identifying opportunities to develop the collaboration.

Texas Group NTECHubert Zajicek, managing director of NTEC (North Texas Enterprise Center), a business accelerator in the city of Frisco (north of Dallas), and also president of ASciNA (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America), welcomed the delegation at his start-up center, introduced NTEC and showed us the impressive infrastructure the incubator offers to its tenants.  INiTS – the largest start-up center for entrepreneurs in Austria, led by Michael Rauhofer – and NTEC will keep this dialogue going, not only to learn from each other, but also with the possibility of supporting each other’s start-ups if they want to expand their innovative products into the European or US markets.  

In addition to these meetings, ABA – Invest in Austria and the OST Washington hosted two evening workshops in Houston and Dallas on “Research Location Austria – Opportunities for R&D Cooperation and Start-ups.” Following the model of last year’s road shows on the west and east coasts, the participants were informed about funding opportunities in Austria for potential entrepreneurs, incentives from the government for R&D start-ups, and the favorable corporate tax rates and investment incentives. In addition, Gisbert Mayr from ABA – Invest in Austria pointed out that, according to Mercer’s 2010 Worldwide Quality of Living Survey, Vienna offers the highest quality of life of any city in the world, followed by Zurich and Geneva.

We look forward to an increasingly strong scientific and business exchange between the state of Texas and Austria.


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