Research is an essential element in the objectives of universities, and research takes place at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in many forms. Research forms the basis of research-guided teaching at the Academy; as basic research, it is part of everyday life for artistic-scientific university staff and professors. However, research also, increasingly, takes on the form of projects and can thus be realized outside of the daily routine within explorative and experimental arrangements. Acquiring funding from third parties is especially important in this area, since the university is able to provide only a part of the necessary resources from its operative budget; it is not able to afford complete financing of the projects.
At the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the field of arts-based research, or the so-called artistic research, is gaining increasing significance along with the area of natural-scientific research such as materials research, color chemistry, and restoration and conservation. In the field of Austrian research, the idea at the base of this concept is described as the "development and complementation of the arts": research questions are worked out using artistic means, artistic-ontological interests are called up within scientific methodology; scientific research is deconstructed in its knowledge-producing role in the application to artistic contexts. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna supports a whole series of projects from this area and continually strives to expand the field.
Project research makes it possible to conduct indispensible basic research and thus makes an essential contribution to international art-research discussions. Project research also allows early stage researchers and their research achievements to be presented in a larger context and allows project participants to finance their intended dissertations. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna strives to makes early-stage researchers more prominent in their fields of project research.