The Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) is the most important agency in Austria for funding basic research projects. It is in fact the Austrian national science foundation. Since a few years the FWF does not only fund individual research projects, but also so-called Spezialforschungsbereiche (SFBs), special research initiatives. Such an SFB must be physically located at one place (usually at a university) and combine different aspects of science for achieving a common goal. Proposals for such SFBs are refereed very carefully by a team of international referees, this refereeing process culminating in a site visit by the referee team. If an SFB is finally approved, then it gets initial funding for three years. After this period a next evaluation takes place, and if all goes well, an SFB is really designed to last for 10 years. Currently 12 such SFBs exist.
A group of researchers at the University of Linz submitted a proposal for the initiative ``Numerical and Symbolic Scientific Computing'' to the FWF. These groups have different scientific backgrounds, namely numerical analysis, symbolic computation, graphical and parallel data processing, robotics, and mechanical engineering. The speaker and co-speaker of this group and the SFB are Prof. Ulrich Langer and Prof. Bruno Buchberger. In October 1997 the proposal was accepted by the FWF and it will be funded for the next three years, starting April 1998, the funds for these three years being approximately 30 mio ATS or 2.2 mio ECU.