“DNA is the hard disk, RNA the software”, explains biochemist Andrea Barta from the Medical University of Vienna. Her research focuses on the functioning of RNA and, thus, the fundamental question of how genetic information is passed on. In a doctoral programme funded by the FWF, 14 interdisciplinary research groups are exploring the complex networks of RNA and the way it regulates gene expression, i.e. how it transmits genetic information into the cells and translates it into the respective functions. “Our greatest highlight in the context of this programme was the discovery of the gene scissors by Emanuelle Charpentier”, says the principal investigator, and she adds: “Innovations for applied research can only evolve from basic research.”