Hot Summer for Brainpower Austria

by Dan Kolmer and Gerald Müller-Niklas

In general, working in the summer months in Austria means a somewhat more relaxed working style for some, as many people are on vacation and business life winds down a little.


{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick - all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} The brainpower austria team, however, was busier than ever. It organized its first so-called BusinessBrunch, took part in the European Forum Alpbach, defined a cooperation with the Health Information Technologies Tyrol Competence Center (HITT) and organized the U.S. events taking place in November 2004 in New York and San Francisco.


brainpower austria organized and held its first BusinessBrunch. This event, in which brainpower and its services were presented to CSOs and research directors of innovative Austrian companies, took place in Vienna. The main speakers, Ingolf Schädler of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) and Gerald Müller-Niklas, the brainpower project coordinator, raised a lot of questions that led to very intensive discussions after the presentations. Information gained from these discussions will be used for fine-tuning future brainpower service offers. Overall, the BusinessBrunch has yielded excellent results, among them several companies joining brainpower and posting vacancies. More BusinessBrunches will be held in the months to come.
Forum Alpbach and HITT
The brainpower austria team also presented its services at the European Forum Alpbach in the third week of August, exactly one year after the initiative was announced there by Minister Hubert Gorbach.
press photo: Forum Alpbach/MinisterGorbach
Both Minister Gorbach and recently appointed Secretary of State for Research in the Ministry, Eduard Mainoni, mentioned recent brainpower success stories in their speeches. Far more important than the working groups and the plenary sessions were two other reasons everybody mainly goes to Alpbach: to meet people in a special setting removed from everyday constraints and to network.
press poto: Forum Alpbach/conference center
The brainpower team acquitted itself well of these tasks, bringing home dozens of new contacts. These are minted into new vacancy postings and contacts to job seekers at the time of this writing. The main prizes—well worth the time and effort—were 113 vacancies mainly in the semiconductor and software fields, which have been added to the brainpower job exchange. A work meeting with Philipp Steger of the Office of Science & Technology (OST) on future cooperation between the two organizations rounded off a very rewarding time in Alpbach.
Going to Tyrol was also a splendid opportunity for the team to meet Professor Roland Staudinger, member of the executive board for personnel and medicine of the Tyrolean Federal Province Hospital Management Company (Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten GmbH, tilak). Professor Staudinger has shown a keen interest in brainpower's progress ever since a May 2004 meeting with one of the officers of the brainpower team. This is hardly surprising, as the tilak is one of the partners in the HITT.
press photo: HITT
HITT itself is spearheading medical information technologies in German-speaking countries, being the only competence center active in this field. HITT has been operating since 2002, and has experienced a personnel growth of 70 percent last year. Ninetyone percent of HITT's personnel are research and development specialists!
Moreover, HITT is an incubator for start-up companies in its field. Many of the research projects organized and sponsored by HITT will lead to new enterprises being created to market newly developed products. HITT provides active support by means of help and advice for business plans, contacts to venture capital funds, etc., and by offering lab space, offices and distribution channels for the start-ups through HITT business partners.
Typically, a business idea is presented to the center personally. After positive evaluation, it will be either turned into a start-up company, integrated into the HITT network or referred to the Tyrolean Future Foundation (Tiroler Zukunftsstiftung).
HITT's infrastructural opportunities will be greatly augmented once the new EduardWalnöferCenter for Education and Innovation in Hall, Tyrol, opens in October 2004.
Financing is the crucial issue for start-ups, as venture capital is not only hard to get but also not always the best idea in the early stages of a new business, and personnel cost is usually the most important cost factor. For these reasons, Professor Staudinger has also been very interested in the Impulse Project funding line, which is available to companies hiring brainpower applicants.
If you have a business idea in the field of medical technologies and you can imagine living in Tyrol, think about visiting HITT at
Upcoming events in the United States
Much work has also gone into the planning of two events in the United States that brainpower has been organizing together with the OST for the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Austrian Research Centers (ARC).
The events address not only Austrian experts, researchers and scientists living in North America, but also welcome researchers of other nationalities who are interested in current and future developments in Austria's innovation landscape. The program includes opinion leaders from academia, industry and R&D policy as invited speakers who will provide a broad overview of the R&D job market, the current situation and opportunities for scientists in Austria and coming developments and trends. A final discussion forum will provide an opportunity for answering questions and picking up participants' comments and suggestions; these comments and suggestions will be used for fine-tuning brainpower service offers.
Dates, venues and the program for both events have now been set:
  • Friday, November 19, 2004, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Millberry Union/ UCSF, San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Avenue, CA 94143-0234
  • Tuesday, November 23, 2004, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Austrian Cultural Forum, 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

No participation fees will be charged.

image: Austrian Cultural Forum New York
photo credit: Robert Polidori
All participants will be invited to attend the social programs. In New York, you will enjoy an evening in the Austrian Cultural Forum tower in midtown Manhattan. The tower, designed by architect Raimund Abraham, has been hailed by many of New York's architectural intelligentsia as the most important structure to be built in that city in the past 40 years (Architecture Week, 12/2002).
For a full program and to register for attendance, please contact:
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Division for International Research and Technology Cooperation (FFG/BIT)
Vienna, Donau-City-Strasse 1
Tel: +43-1-26013-204, Fax ext. 16

The actual program will also be available soon at brainpower's Web site at
The new Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
As of September 1, the BIT, host to the brainpower initiative, has become the Division for International Research and Technology Cooperation of the new Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft).
FFG is the new Austrian central organization for the funding of research and innovation, but it is much more than that. It also provides consulting and support for research and innovation projects, services that are much needed by Austria's SMEs in the innovation sector.FFG is a fusion of four of the major service and planning institutions in Austria's research landscape: FFF, TIG, ASA and BIT.

One of the most important benefits of FFG is expected to be a leaner administration and management structure. In the first phase, the operations of the divisions will largely remain unchanged to ensure continuity while a concept for the bundling of resources is worked out by the new CEOs, Henrietta Egerth-Stadlhuber, former member of Economy and Labor Minister Martin Bartenstein's cabinet, and Klaus Pseiner, former CEO of ASA.
image: Haus der Forschung

Brainpower austria is looking forward to the developments in the most interesting reform project in Austria's research landscape in the last decades. On completion of the building, FFG will move into its new abode, the Haus der Forschung, in Vienna's ninth district.