Unlike many other countries, Austria offers scholarships to a wide range of students, both indigenous and international. Austria, to date, has suffered from an image of being an expensive place to live and study, but this is gradually changing as more information becomes available on living expenses, the benefits available through having a student ID card and also the fact that there are essentially no tuition fees in Austrian universities. Austrian Universities are gradually moving up in the international university ratings thanks, in part, to the strong performance of a number of universities carrying out specialist medical research.
Unlike a number of other countries, Austria has a diverse range of scholarships available covering a number of different areas. As would be expected, there are scholarships available for those who have demonstrated academic excellence either in their pre-university work, or during their first degree. Students who come from poor backgrounds will also find that there are scholarships available so that they are then able to continue their studies. Funding opportunities can also be found that help to support foreign students coming into Austria to study either at undergraduate or postgraduate degree level and those who wish to specialise in a particular research area and who demonstrate a commitment to learning and research in that particular specialism. In addition to these main types of scholarship, there are also a small number of scholarships that are available to women working in scientific disciplines and also for anyone that comes from a background of innovation and wishes to pursue both their ideas and their technical excellence further.
All scholarships are administered by the OeAD-GmbH, which is the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research, but the sources of the scholarship funds come from a wide range of funding sources, some government and some dedicated research funding organisations.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, there are 1644 scholarships advertised for study in Austria. The availability will depend heavily upon the area that is to be studied. There are many more scholarships available in the medical and biomedical research areas than in most other research areas. Many scholarships are designed with specific students in mind, therefore some will be for local students only, while others will be specifically for foreign students.
The conditions for being successful in an application will be set be each scholarship individually, so it is good practice to ensure before starting an application that a scholarship matches up with previous experience, achievements and future research aspirations.
The Austrian scholarship scheme for foreign students is administered in its entirety by the OeAD-GmbH. There are a number of scholarships available due to the desire to increase the percentage of foreign students studying in Austrian universities. Some of these are targeted by subject and are most applicable to those who are planning to study in Austria who are from within the EU, while others are targeted at specific countries, mostly outside the EU, in order to both build international cooperation within research, but also to offer high quality university education to those who may not be able to afford it, or have access to it, in their home countries.
Typical scholarships in Austria are provided through the OeAD-GmbH and can last for the entirety of a degree programme down to a single semester depending on the funding source and the aim of the funding. For example, there are funded PhD programmes that pay all tuition fees and also provide a stipend to the student, with the proviso that a certain amount of teaching is carried out by the student during their studies. It is highly advisable to make the most of the search provided by databases like the European Funding Guide in order to find relevant funding options.