Almost € 16 million from the NCN towards scholarships and visiting fellowships


Thursday, 15 December 2016

The National Science Centre has issued its fifth call for proposals under the ETIUDA programme, and launched the first edition of the SONATINA and UWERTURA programmes. Researchers will be given the opportunity to apply for funding of fellowships in research institutions abroad, including postings with research teams carrying out European Research Council (ERC) projects. The Centre has also announced the MINIATURA funding opportunity for specific single research activities; the call is scheduled to open in April 2017.

International mobility

In December the well-known ETIUDA funding opportunity, addressed to researchers working on their doctoral dissertation, will be complemented by two new NCN funding opportunities for the first time: SONATINA (in the place of the formerly ministerial Iuventus Plus) and UWERTURA, a programme operating in close cooperation with ERC’s own Fellowship to visit ERC grantee opportunity. In April 2017 a call will be opened for research proposals under the third new development of the NCN’s offer: MINIATURA, a funding scheme supporting single research activities.

With the funding opportunities to be announced in December, emphasis is being put on developing cooperation between Polish and foreign research centres  – explained professor Zbigniew Błocki, director of the NCN. Today it is essential for one to build a CV from the very beginning of their research career. One of its most salient elements is mobility and the experience gained in the best research centres overseas. I have no doubt that in the future Poland’s university research personnel will be comprised of such people.

Scholarship programmes: ETIUDA, SONATINA, UWERTURA

ETIUDA 5 is a funding opportunity for doctoral scholarships. Doctoral candidates preparing their dissertations receive a monthly allowance of ca € 1,000 and visit a research centre abroad as a fellow. The budget of the fifth edition of ETIUDA has been set at nearly € 2.4 million.

Prospective entrants in the SONATINA 1 programme are researchers within 3 years of receiving their doctorate. Funding under the programme includes full-time employment in Polish research institutions, realisation of the research project, and a visiting fellowship at a research centre abroad of 3 to 6 months. The aggregate budget of the call will total over € 7 million.

UWERTURA 1 is an opportunity for researchers with a doctorate, who have carried out an NCN-funded research project as a principal investigator. The programme’s aim is to help Polish researchers successfully apply for European resources, and to increase their share among laureates of ERC grants. Within the UWERTURA scheme, Polish researchers will be visiting research teams abroad who are working on ERC-financed projects; subsequently, within 18 months of returning, the visiting researchers themselves  are required to prepare and submit a research proposal to ERC. The Centre’s contribution to the programme is close to € 1.2 million.

MINIATURA or “small grants”

And last but not least, MINIATURA, will enable researchers to secure financing of single activities that serve as parts of a larger research project. Winners of the so-called “small grants” will be able to direct the resources to e.g. initial and pilot studies, library and archival research, consultations, research travels and conferences. This funding offer is being extended to researchers holding a doctorate degree who have not been laureates of NCN programmes yet.

Working with a “small grant” will increase the chances of securing means for larger initiatives on the part of those researchers who haven’t carried out their own projects at earlier stages of their career, said professor Michał Karoński, chair of the Council of the NCN. The programme may prove particularly useful for researchers representing smaller research centres, with less robust institutional assistance in seeking funding. In this manner we wish to expand the circle of beneficiaries of grant programmes.

Laureates in MINIATURA will receive from ca € 1,200 to ca € 12,000. Proposals will be accepted on a continuous basis, with a simplified review procedure, thus bringing the time of issuing the funding decision down to three months. This programme will be funded with ca. € 6.8 million.

Proposals for ETIUDA 5, SONATINA 1 and UWERTURA 1 should be submitted through the OSF electronic system (https://osf.opi.org.pl) by 15th March 2016. Results will be published by September 2017. The call for MINIATURA applications starts on 3rd April 2017. From the December edition onwards, research proposals in all NCN calls will be submitted solely on-line.

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