Research and Innovation System

The graph below illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of the Austrian R&I system. Reading clockwise, it provides information on human resources, scientific production, technology valorisation and innovation. Average annual growth rates from 2000 to the latest available year are given in brackets.

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The graph shows that the Austrian R&I system is balanced, with a good performance in all areas: human resources, scientific production, technology development and innovation. Progress has in general also been good. However, some warning signals come from falling innovation in SMEs and declining shares of R&D investments by foreign firms. In the field of human resources for research and innovation, Austria performs at or above EU average and progress has been good since 2000. Tertiary attainment has been traditionally low in Austria, with many graduates classified as post-secondary, non-tertiary (ISCED 4), but a relatively high share of Austrian students study science and technology subjects and an above average proportion of them graduate at the doctoral level. Despite a strong inflow of foreign students, notably from Germany, Austria still has a lower share of foreign doctoral students than comparable countries.

Highly-skilled graduates are relatively well absorbed into the Austrian economy, as evidenced by the relatively high number of business enterprise researchers and, linked to that, the good performance of Austria in the field of patent applications. Austria does not significantly outperform the EU average in high-quality scientific publications, nor in success in international competitions for EU Framework programme funds to R&D. There is a high share of Austrian universities among the good performers in major international rankings, but Austrian universities are not well represented at the very top of such rankings. Austria has improved public-private cooperation considerably in the past, both in scientific production and in contract research by business enterprises cooperating with public research organisations and now performs above the EU average in this field. Austria also performs well as regards innovation in SMEs.