Picture credits: Standortagentur Tirol

Research

Francesca Ferlaino, "The geniuses come here, give lectures and hold courses. In Tirol you learn from and with the best people in the world."

"A location full of power and innovations"

What makes jobs in research attractive? Strong themes, the employer's reputation, growing budgets, good prospect of receiving third-party funding, intensive international co-operation and committed as well as excellent colleagues. Researchers in Tirol enjoy all of these factors. And two increasingly valuable elements: trust and time.

Trust, just like Gerhard Kirchmair has received. The young physicist started a professorship of experimental physics in March 2013, at only 32 years of age, and in turn also became the junior research director at the Institute for Quantum Physics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck. This opportunity to dedicate his efforts to a cryostat – a very, very cold refrigerator, which is at the centre of his experiment – he also owes to Peter Zoller, the renowned quantum physicist from Innsbruck. As he initiated a procedure in Innsbruck similar to tenure tracking that is supposed to provide young scientists with better prospects. Kirchmair cools down superconducting circuits in his mega cold refrigerator to a few millikelvins above absolute zero. Because artificial atoms can be built and their quantum properties controlled with superconductors that conduct electricity without energy loss. In the long term, the native Tirolean would like to use his technology to create interfaces between supraconducting qubits and optical photons that a quantum Internet needs.

Time, just like Oriol Romero-Isart is making use of it. The 35-year-old physicist from Barcelona and an ERC Starting Grant recipient started a similar kind of professorship at the same time as Kirchmair.

"The professorship in Innsbruck and the ERC Starting Grant have provided me with the perfect conditions for the exciting and challenging task to set up an independent research group," Romeo-Isart explains. The theorist is also considering a hybrid system made of superconductors and ferromagnets, which would strengthen the coupling between remote magnetic nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond. His aim is to develop a processor for quantum information that is completely magnetic. Like Kirchmair, Romero-Isart's professorship is for five years. Five years for these two young men to concentrate entirely on their research. A lot longer than is customary at other locations.

Francesca Ferlaino has long since left the "promotion of young researchers in Tirol" programme. Ferlaino was born in Naples. After completing her physics doctorate in Florence, she first came to the Institute for Experimental Physics in Innsbruck as a guest lecturer. Having received a scholarship from the Lise Meitner programme and supported by the Austrian Science Fund, she was able to research ultracold quantum gases. She also organised her own team of scientists, set up a laboratory and produced the world's first Bose-Einstein condensate of erbium atoms. Today she leads the Physics Research Centre at the University of Innsbruck and emphasises in particular the quality of the environment:

"You don't get to meet the best scientists in Innsbruck by reading their papers. The geniuses come here, give lectures and hold courses. So can you learn from and with the best in the world."

Hardly surprising then that Tirol has become a melting pot for scientists from all over the world. Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and China are just a few of the countries of origin at the various institutes. A large number having also been attracted to the life sciences in Tirol.

Born in Vienna, the renowned molecular biologist Lukas Huber, head of the Division of Cell Biology at the Biocentre of the Medical University of Innsbruck and scientific head of the COMET K1 centre OncoTirol as well as the ADSI, Austrian Drug Screening Institute, explains why, "In Tirol, biotechnologists and life scientists find an extremely dense infrastructure and cooperation opportunities with researchers and practitioners at the clinic. With the campus located in the centre of town near the clinic, this quick route from research via the clinic to its application has grown over time and, therefore, stably. "On the whole, Huber finds Tirol is "a location with power and innovation", adding, "The people are reliable, ambitious and innovative. Nothing comes close to the local conditions here. What's more, my family really feels at home here."

Researchers and their families from around the world feel at home in Tirol because of the support provided by not only the public sector but also organisations such as FFG (the Austrian Research Promotion Agency) or the Standortagentur Tirol. The former supports scientists relocating to Tirol, starting with the job interview through to the actual move to professional integration as well as so-called career grants. The Standortagentur Tirol, on the other hand, runs its own expat service. To ease the new employees' start in Tirol and to speed up integration, they give them advice and assist them with the most important matters regarding their professional as well as private start in Tirol. Because when young researchers from abroad come to Tirol, then it really is about two key issues: trust and time.

 

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Passionate for science? Then have a look at one of the following universities and universities of applied sciences in Tirol as a future employer:

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You also enjoy doing applied research? Industries and science join forces at the COMET centres. Selected centres and funding programmes: