TWIST Fellowship Program Details

The internal “TWIST Fellowship Program” kick-starts the development of scientific findings into innovation. It allows alumni and postdocs of IST Austria to refine and explore their start-up ideas for one year.

Two options are available:

  • Full-time: TWIST Fellows can dedicate 100% of their time to the development of their concrete product idea for one year after the completion of their academic program at IST Austria.
  • Part-time: TWIST Fellows have the option to spend 20% of their working time for one year during their academic program on exploring the commercial opportunity of their research results using external resources.

Objectives

The objectives of the individual projects under the TWIST Fellowship Program are:

  • Explore the commercial opportunity of IP generated through IST research
  • Get and incorporate feedback from industry and mentors
  • Develop a path towards proof of concept
  • Assemble a team and identify a business leader
  • Apply for public grants for continued funding
  • Meet prospective investors and begin fundraising where applicable.

Benefits

The support of the TWIST Fellowship Program is transitional and intended to help develop projects to a stage where further development in the existing ecosystem of external grants, industry cooperation, business angel investment etc. is feasible. This implies that a concrete objective for each project has to be the acquisition of external funds to continue the development.

Mentoring and support: TWIST Fellowship Program will support the projects through a mentoring program and help project leaders to interact with industry, grant agencies and other necessary external contacts.

The TWIST Fellowship Program will cover the salary of this researcher and necessary other cost for a period of one year up to a ceiling of EUR 75,000.

Application procedure

The applicant needs to complete:

  • A project description including

o   the underlying research and the invention;

o   the intended commercial application;

o   the current status and plans regarding IP;

o   likelihood and size of the opportunity;

o   intended next step following completion of the Fellowship;

 

  • A description of the planned activities during the Fellowship including

o   Work plan;

o   Required resources and project budget;

o   In case of external resources, name, CV and date of availability of the planned hire

  • A nomination letter from the Group head addressing the selection criteria and providing transparency over academic and project deliverables.

 

The applicants will present to the selection committee.

Grant awards will be decided by the TWIST Fellowship Selection Committee, which is appointed by the President and includes IST faculty, the Head of TWIST Program Management and outside experts. It should not include more than 6 members and not more than half should be IST professors.

Upon successful nomination by the selection committee, the person will be appointed a “TWIST Fellow”, on the basis of a dedicated, one-year TWIST fellowship contract. The contract will be governed by the Rules for Employees including its standard IP provisions. TWIST Fellows will work on the project on a full time dedicated basis. He/she will not perform academic research work unassociated with the project and consequently will not count towards the group headcount. Organizationally (both functionally and disciplinarily) TWIST Fellows will report to the TWIST Program management (Tech Transfer Office). The salary levels will remain unchanged from the status before entering the Program.

If a project is closely linked to a research group, the group head needs to support the application.

The TWIST Fellowship Program is intended to be flexible and each project is a highly collaborative team effort between the TWIST Fellowship Program and the researchers. Therefore, any decision during the course of the project will be made by the Program management. This includes redeployment of resources within approved budgets or termination of the project.