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Innovation, Complexity and Policy

Contributions from 30 years of innovation policy research in Austria

Matthias Weber

This book brings together a set of contributions that show the breadth and depth of the scientific work of Josef Fröhlich and his influence on Austrian research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy. It is edited in honour of the occasion of his retirement as Head of Innovation Systems Department at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. The contributors provide an overview of important issues of debate at the intersection of innovation studies and government policy, which have been pivotal for the modernisation and consolidation of the Austrian innovation system since the early 1990s.

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RTI funding in Austria – Organisational structures and institutional change (Rupert Pichler)


Rupert Pichler

RTI funding in Austria – Organisational structures and institutional change

Abstract: Austria has a mature RTI funding system today. Being a late-comer in terms of institutionalisation, Austria developed councils and agencies as the standard organisational models since the 1960s. Institutional path dependencies, fragmentation, and contradicting claims of autonomy and political steering led to persistent tensions. Recent changes were therefore driven by the need for better coordination and rebalancing principal-agent relations.

1 Introduction

Today, Austria has a well-developed funding system covering the whole spectrum of research, technology and innovation (RTI). Within the institutional framework of RTI policies, the implementation of RTI funding usually requires a specific organisational approach with structures that mediate between government and the RTI community. Accordingly, the presence of RTI funding organisations (RFOs) indicates the maturity of a national innovation system: “Funding agencies were, since their origins, designed to work out and implement research policies, in preference to the usual public bureaucracy that lacked the necessary direct contacts with science.” (Braun and Guston 2003, 303) On the contrary, it can be observed that substantial direct government funding only survives in institutionally less developed systems (Lepori et al. 2007, 385).

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