Styria is at the leading edge of international scientific research and currently number one among all European economic regions. The R&D rate approximates the 5 percent mark, which means that about five percent of Styrian Gross Regional Product (GRP) are re-invested in research and development.
Research & Development
Styria is at the leading edge of international scientific research and currently number one among all European economic regions. The R&D rate approximates the 5 percent mark, which means that about five percent of Styrian Gross Regional Product (GRP) are re-invested in research and development. A critical factor has proven to be a traditionally close cooperation between industry and science in Styria: For decades enterprises of all sizes have worked successfully with universities and research institutes. The major part of R&D performed in business enterprises is funded by the enterprise sector itself, almost a quarter of it coming from abroad. The fact that 25 out of 42 Austrian COMET-centres and -projects are based in Styria further demonstrates the wealth of research talent in the region.
Styria is home to five universities, two universities of applied sciences and two universities of teacher education (listed below), forming an expert profile grown out of internationally recognised fields of excellence. Almost all scientific disciplines are present in the Styrian faculties, with post-graduate education and studies while employed also constantly expanding. Styrian universities are, in fact, large scientific enterprises creating significantly more than 12,000 jobs, acting as a mainstay for economy, integrated research and innovation far beyond the borders.
Joanneum Research is one of Austria’s largest non-university research institutes in Austria with more than 450 employees. Besides its headquarters in Graz it is also based in Weiz, Hartberg, Niklasdorf, Klagenfurt and Vienna. Research is performed in 7 research units specialising on topics ranging from digital information technologies, robotics and mechatronics to health sciences, surface technologies and environmental engineering. Joanneum Research is part of various national and international scientific communities. As one of Austria’s most important providers of new technologies, it stands for cutting-edge research on an international top level.
Silicon Alps Lab (SAL): The Silicon Alps Electronics Cluster is a public-private partnership that brings together Austrian players from business, science and the public sector for the development and positioning of the electronics and microelectronics industry with a regional focus on the locations of Carinthia and Styria. The Silicon Alps Cluster sees itself as a long-term strategic alliance and as an instrument for cooperative, efficient and business-oriented location development. The cluster is divided among the three provinces of Upper Austria, Styria and Carinthia with the cities of Linz, Graz and Villach. Each of these centres is dedicated to a specific focus: Villach is the centre for sensors and power electronics, Linz concentrates on high frequency and Graz is the SAL centre with a focus on system integration.
ZWI – Centre for Knowledge and Innovation Transfer / Unicorn: Unicorn does not simply offer space for people with innovative power, but actively drives networking and the initiation of joint projects. In the heart of the city, there is a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, fuelled by the power of university research. As a 100% subsidiary of the University of Graz, Unicorn drives innovation across disciplines, with a focus on modern ageing and demographic change.
ZWT – Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer: This concept is one of a kind in Austria, inspired by international role models. ZWT integrates independent life science companies and institutes directly into the medical university campus in Graz. This enables a sustainable, high-level interplay between key stakeholders in science and industry.
Biobank: Styria boasts the award-winning Biobank Graz – one of the largest clinical biobanks in Europe. Covering 30 years of collection, it stores about 20 million samples and their associated data.
Competence centres are pioneers in research in applied sciences on an international scale. They pave the way for tomorrow’s products and technologies and generate stimuli for the entire Styrian economy. Embedded in the nationwide development program COMET, they are at the heart of Styria’s role as a premier scientific and innovation location. Participating in 25 out of 42 Austrian COMET-centres and -projects, Styria takes a national pioneer role.
Styrians are among the most qualified employees in Europe. Five universities with more than 50,000 students, internationally renowned universities of applied sciences and countless research institutions make Styria a hotbed of European talent. Second level pupils can enjoy an early start in professional training in one of the seven Styrian Technical High Schools (HTLs).
Due to close cooperation between the sectors of education, research and industry, the tuition takes a hands-on approach in order to meet the requirements of the market and to effectively address the skills gap in certain technical fields. Enhancing the collaboration, Styria introduced new dual academic curriculums in the field of IT, further improving the professional standards. Students in IT faculties follow a standard curriculum, while simultaneously working in the regional industry. Finding specialists and key workers is therefore easy for companies, added to the fact that the density of qualified professionals is among the best anywhere in Europe, as is the engineer quota.
Styria is an attractive location to employers as well. With a corporate income tax rate of 25% (resulting in 22% effective taxation) and moderate personnel costs Austria/Styria holds a good position in the European middle ranks. Two special tax regimes particularly attractive to investors include a 14% tax credit for R&D expenses, as well as 20% tax allowance for staff training expenses.
Club International (CINT) offers assistance to new-comers to the region. The Styrian expat centre supports professionals and executives from all over the world, as well as their families, with characteristic Styrian warmth. In this way CINT takes the responsibility from the companies in which the expatriates are working and plays an important role in helping these expats to quickly feel at home in Styria.
Horizon Europe is the world’s largest research funding programme. With a budget of more than € 95 billion, the EU is handing out more money than ever before for market-oriented developments from 2021 to 2027.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon Europe is helping to achieve the above goals with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
Since 2021, numerous calls have been published in various thematic areas, along the entire value chain and at different stages of technology maturity. The companies or research institutions usually apply together in consortia from usually three different countries. Experienced companies act as coordinators, while smaller ones act as complementary know-how carriers. Highly innovative SMEs can also apply for support from the “European Innovation Council EIC” instrument on their own and receive up to 2.5 million euros in subsidies and up to 15 million euros in the form of capital participation.
Enterprise Europe Network
We are committed to forging links between Styria and the rest of Europe and beyond. The Enterprise Europe Network helps businesses innovate and grow on an international scale. It is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. The Network is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. It brings together 3,000 experts from more than 600 member organisations – all renowned for their excellence in business support.