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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2017-1/2685 – measures in Austria

Impact Innovation

Impact Innovation

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 2017
Context Green Transition, Digital Transformation, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Change of production/Innovation
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 19 October 2022)

Background information

The goal of the programme is the research and development of innovative and efficient business models that will have a positive social or societal impact. The website mentions examples such as solutions for education programmes, networking and societal participation, transparency and environmental protection.

It is eligible for SMEs (Start-ups, partnerships or corporations with or without a profit intention, natural persons/sole proprietors and non-profit organisations that offer a product or a service) from all economic sectors. It is funded by the national government and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency as well as the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development.

Content of measure

The funding programme 'Impact Innovation' encourages enterprises to explore ideas using innovation methods and pays half of the projects costs. Up to €75,000 are available, regardless of topic or industry for projects lasting up to a year.

Applicants should describe a planned project development and implementation. If they do not have any specific knowledge or information they can also build up know-how during the project and, if desired, involve experts. 

The project is run by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency in cooperation with Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development. 

There are many successful projects which have been funded so far. Some beneficiaries are 'destination:development' for their solutions for qualitative impact measurement in tourism, 'MILES Learning' for their development of Digibook project which offers digital school book and 'Teach for Austria Alumni Club' for their design of innovative schooling processes that increase educational opportunities in the long term.

Use of measure

The projects must research possible solutions for defined and existing problems. The research programme should be suitable for applicants' business and manufacturing models.

In 2017, a total number of 104 organisations or persons have submitted an application. Of these submissions, 16 projects received the funding, resulting in a success quote of 15.4% ( ZSI 2019 ).

The relatively open design of the programme has made it very attractive for enterprises, especially for innovative ideas without a strong technological focus. Thus, unconventional ideas have had a valuable chance to participate in a funding programme ( ZSI 2019 ).

According to the evaluation by the Austrian Centre for Social Innovation, only few significant jobs were created by this funding ( ZSI 2019 ).

Another criticism is that the programme is designed only for SMEs, whereas bigger social enterprises could bear innovative potential as well.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions



  • 01 April 2019: Zentrum für soziale Innovation (ZSI), 2019, Assessment der Zielerreichung des Pilotprogramms 'Impact Innovation'. (
  • 07 October 2022: Impact innovation - promotion, conditions (
  • 07 October 2022: Impact Innovation - project examples (


Eurofound (2022), Impact Innovation, measure AT-2017-1/2685 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.