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The Innovation Foundation, for which ACA member OeAD is not only the funding agency but also serves as administration office, is a completely new instrument which is to take innovative ideas to the Austrian education system in a “bottom-up” approach and to implement them there. The Innovation Foundation makes use of the resources of the Austrian funding agencies FWF (Austrian Science Fund), FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency), AWS (Austria Wirtschaftsservice) and OeAD, which have been commissioned by the Foundation to manage a broad spectrum of new funding programmes and are also going to provide their expertise in the development of new funding instruments to the Foundation.
In contrast to the educational policy discussions in the past, which were mainly geared to the structures and the administrative organisation of the education system, the foundation is to help ideas to be generally accepted within the system. In this context the use of new digital forms of learning is addressed as well as questions regarding inclusion, teacher training or the promotion of educational research at the universities and university colleges of teacher education. What is important is on one hand a practical approach – only projects in which at least one educational institution takes part – can be supported and on the other hand the results must be immediately applicable in the classroom, lecture hall or seminar room.
The Innovation Foundation will address challenges for the education system, from basic research to innovation support for companies: The development of new didactic concepts for elementary education will be taken into account as well the support of start-ups in the EduTech area.
For future applicants’ the foundation will be a one-stop-shop and calls for application for the different funding programmes will be published on the Innovation Foundation’s website (www.innovationsstiftung-bildung.at) as of the autumn of 2017.