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Changes afoot at ARC

Management shake-up planned amid concerns over political influence at Austrian Research Centers

Jane Burgermeister(janeburgermeister@yahoo.co.uk)

The Austrian government is planning to reorganize the management structure of the Austrian Research Centers (ARC), a move that scientists hope will result in more power moving to the scientific director, and away from a management team with strong political links.

The ARC in Seibersdorf is the largest government-funded organization undertaking applied research in Austria, with an annual budget of €100 million. Its 700 employees work mainly on information technology and the life sciences, including projects such as biosensors.

The centers are currently run by Helmut Kruenes, a former defense minister belonging to the far right Freedom Party (FP)–whose entry into a coalition government in 2000 triggered sanctions from the European Union–as well as a scientific director, Erich Gornik.

The Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology–which runs the ARC–has commissioned a report from the Malik Management Institute in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on whether the current management structure...

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