The NCN has just launched this year’s MAESTRO and SONATA BIS calls, under which researchers can submit proposals for pioneering basic research projects and projects aimed at forming new research teams. A total of 170 million PLN is up for grabs.
MAESTRO 13 is open to advanced researchers who wish to conduct pioneering research that goes beyond our current state of knowledge. To qualify as a principal investigator in a MAESTRO project, applicants need to hold at least a PhD; they are also expected to have served as a PI in at least two other research projects selected within domestic or international calls for proposals in the last 10 years. In addition, they need to demonstrate at least five publications in reputable scientific journals or publishing houses, as well as documented involvement in other academic activities. MAESTRO 13 has a total budget of 20 million PLN.
“MAESTRO is a programme designed for researchers with a considerable research record, which allows them to embark on innovative projects. It also gives them an excellent opportunity to expand their team to include researchers with other types of experience and prepare to apply for ERC grants. A MAESTRO grant attests to an institution’s high research quality”, says Professor Jacek Kuźnicki from the International Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, President of the NCN Council.
SONATA BIS 11 provides funding for projects aimed at establishing new research teams. It is targeted at researchers with a doctoral degree earned 5 to 12 years prior to the submission of the proposal; the principal investigator must also present a list of 1 to 10 of the most important publications, published or accepted for publication within the previous 10 years. Apart from the principal investigator, no other team member can hold a scientific title, a degree of associate professor or habilitated doctor, or any equivalent qualification; in addition, the team members must not include researchers who have already cooperated with each other in a call-funded research project. The total budget of SONATA BIS 11 is 150 million PLN. “This grant is an opportunity for young researchers who have an ambitious research idea and want to form their first research team. It is also a chance for institutions to use the grant to create new groups that will strengthen their potential and research infrastructure”, explains the President of the NCN Council.
In both MAESTRO 13 and SONATA BIS 11, the funding can go towards the costs of research team salaries, purchasing or building research equipment, as well as other necessary project expenses. There is no upper funding limit and the project may be planned for 36, 48 or 60 months.
Traditionally announced in June, MAESTRO and SONATA BIS are the highlights of the NCN’s call portfolio. Over the 10 years of the NCN’s existence, 262 grants in total have been awarded to master research projects and 728 for new research teams. Experts who review call proposals pay particular attention to the quality of the research project and its innovative character, its potential contribution to the development of the discipline and the principal investigator’s achievements.
Proposals must be submitted via the ZSUN/OSF system by 4 pm on 15 September 2021. Detailed information about the calls can be found in the MAESTRO 13 and SONATA BIS 11 call announcements published on the website of the National Science Centre.