Thu, 11/17/2016 - 12:33

The National Science Centre has concluded the eleventh edition of the OPUS, SONATA and PRELUDIUM programmes and the second edition of the POLONEZ funding opportunity. 1090 projects have received funding. The total sum given to researchers exceeds € 118 million.

OPUS, SONATA and PRELUDIUM form the mainstay of the National Science Centre’s offer of funding opportunities, aimed at a large community of researchers pursuing basic research. Launched twice yearly, the calls have invariably enjoyed the biggest response from the research community. It was no different this time, with a total number of 3,783 entries.

­Again we have seen an increase in the success rate, i.e. the ratio of proposals qualified for funding to the proposals submitted. This time, in OPUS, SONATA and PRELUDIUM, it has reached 28%, which shows a 4% improvement in comparison to the previous edition, said professor Zbigniew Błocki, director of the Centre. This is one effect of the € 26 million increase in the Centre’s budget, and – most of all – of the plans to raise it by another € 36 million in 2017. We hope that this trend will continue, so that we will be able to reach a 30% success rate. Such a proportion allows for the financing of even more research projects  while also sustaining the high quality of  the awarded works and the competitive nature of the process.

The OPUS call welcomes entries from all researchers, notwithstanding their years of experience and degrees earned. The funding received in the call can serve a number of uses: it may be spent on launching a research team, but also on the purchase of research equipment needed in the procedure. It is, therefore only natural that OPUS should be the most popular NCN programme. Its eleventh edition has seen as many as 1,830 proposals, of which 500 have been granted funding totalling more than € 83 million.

SONATA is a call for projects carried out by researchers with a doctorate degree held for up to 7 years. Funding in this programme presents researchers at the beginning of their career with an opportunity to carry out innovative research, using state-of-the-art technology or an original methodology. In the present deal, 757 projects have been submitted, of which 204 have been awarded. The call’s budget has been set at just under € 21 million.

The PRELUDIUM call is specifically dedicated to persons at the earliest stage of their researcher pursuits and those who hold no doctorate. It sees entries predominantly from PhD candidates, since the programme gives this group of scholars the opportunity to independently lead a research project. There have been 1,196 registered submissions, and funding has been granted to 360 projects worth a total of more than € 9.2 million.

The final programme among the concluded funding opportunities has a different agenda. POLONEZ is addressed to incoming researchers seeking the opportunity to do research in Poland. Laureates of the programme will be granted resources that will enable them to carry out research and move to Poland with their families, as well as participate in training to develop various skills. In the second, penultimate edition, the Centre has received applications from 319 researchers, of whom 26 will have the opportunity to work in Polish host institutions. The budget of the scheme exceeds € 5 million.

NCN calls are open to representatives of all research disciplines. In the present edition the highest funding (€ 279,127) in the domain of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences has been granted to dr hab. Marcin Szwed of Jagiellonian University, laureate of the National Science Centre 2016 Award. In his project his Krakow-based team of psychologists will study the cerebral representation of numbers in people reading both Arabic and Braille numerals. In the area of Life Sciences the largest funding (€ 525,498) has gone to the team led by professor Jan Potempa, also of Jagiellonian University, working on the project titled “Structure and function characterisation of newly discovered unique inhibitors of proteases.” Among the representatives of Physical Sciences and Engineering, the most generous grant of € 451,196 will go to prof. dr hab. eng. Paweł Gryboś of AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The professor and his co-investigators will study “Application specific integrated circuit of colour digital imaging working with high X-ray radiation intensity.” All three projects have been submitted under the OPUS 11 call.

Ranking lists of the projects qualified for funding in the OPUS 11, SONATA 11, PRELUDIUM 11 and POLONEZ 2 programmes can be accessed on the National Science Centre’s webpage.