Klement Tockner: Understanding the world

“A crisis brings the really important things to the fore: science and research are part of that.  Who, if not researchers, can generate new knowledge and tools? Who, if not researchers, can point out possible solutions?

In March 2020, as an immediate answer to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FWF initiatited a SARS-CoV-2 a sponsorship – a fast-track procedure for research applications, which deal with prevention, early detection and research of SARS-CoV-2 and are building upon international cooperation. The expertise amongst almost all areas of basic research is needed in this situation. Guiding research projects encompassing around 7 million €  were put on track in Austria’s research sites. More are to follow.

It is within the essence of science to deal with history, present and future of humankind, all based on scientific methods, which are creating confidence at the same time as trying to meet the highest quality standards on the basis of curiosity, openness and independence. Along these guidelines, researchers funded by the FWF are gaining more knowledge – the most reliable insurance facing future challenges. This includes the corona pandemic, as well as the climate crisis and questions, which we do not even know yet. And this knowledge is open for everyone.”

Klement Tockner is president of the  Austrian Science Fund (FWF)  and  professor for Aquatic Ecology at the Freie Universität Berlin. As of 2021 Tockner will become Director General oft the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research in Frankfurt/Main. He received a PhD in zoology and botany from the University of Vienna. Between 2007 and 2016 he was director of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. He is elected member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).

Photo: FWF / Lusser