The steady stream of guest researchers (senior, research and junior fellows) visiting the institute ensures that the VWI's research agendas remain steadily innovative; the institute currently does not employ it own researchers. The concept of an annual substitution of fellows guarantees that guest researchers remain in permanent exchange with their relevant scientific community and thus ensures that top young scholars are included and supported. Young researchers and experienced scholars are thus to engage in a mutual exchange as they work on their questions, present the results to the public at conferences, lectures and in publications, and use their insights to contribute to the institute's ongoing research and education projects. In this way, the fellowship programme makes it possible for the VWI to bring the best and most interesting researchers of all age groups and from various academic disciplines to the institute from Austria and abroad, allowing the scholars to form a temporary affiliation to the institute without interrupting their academic or other careers. The VWI International Academic Board is solely responsible for the awarding of fellowships on the basis of individual applications. It is the aim of the programme to ensure the diversity of the research programme by choosing fellows from a broad range of regional backgrounds, methodical approaches and a mixture of academic disciplines.
The first VWI fellowship programme was started in the academic year 2012/13, when two senior fellows, two research fellows and four junior fellows began their stay at the institute on October 1, 2012.
The programme is planned to be continued in the coming years. A call for applications will be issued for junior, research and senior fellowships in November of each year. Applicants will be free to chose any topic of their research; the deadline for applications will be around mid-February of the following year. The International Academic Board will appoint a sub-commission who will meet each March in order to decide on the award of the fellowships.