For the last 10 years, we have supported Polish science by providing assistance to researchers working in Poland. Our celebration included a gala event that was followed by discussions on science in times of pandemic and open science to research.
First day of celebrations – 9 September
“Since the beginning, our main goal has been to focus on the quality of research based on the best standards in world science. We consistently strive to increase the importance of Polish science in the world”, stated Professor Zbigniew Błocki, Director of the National Science Centre, summarising its activities at a gala event at the Julius Słowacki Theatre in Krakow.
In our 10 years of operation, we have announced over 200 calls and awarded over 23,000 grants. We created a fair and transparent system for evaluating proposals from scratch, with foreign experts playing a central role. We finance research for leading Polish scientists, based on the assumption that the most important factor in the development of Polish science is support for highly qualified research staff.
“It is worth emphasising the fact that the NCN’s activities for scientists are organised and run by scientists and have measurable effects”, said Prof. Jacek Kuźnicki, President of the NCN Council during the gala. “In the opinion of many people from Poland and abroad, the quality of grant proposals has significantly improved over the 10 years of the NCN's operations. The projects implemented are at an increasingly high level, which can be seen, among other things, in the increasing number of publications in the world’s best journals”, he added.
The National Science Centre’s budget for funding projects has grown over the years from less than PLN 300 million in 2011 to PLN 1.3 billion in 2021.
“I believe that the way a country treats such far-reaching investments as research funding is one of the markers of modern patriotism, and future generations will hold us accountable for such investments. In this context, I would like to note with great satisfaction the recent information that, after three years of stagnation in financing NCN, the Ministry of Education and Science decided to significantly increase the National Science Centre’s targeted subsidy by PLN 150 million, i.e. by over 12% in the budget for 2022”, the NCN Director emphasised during his speech.
The number of projects financed by foreign funds, including those of the European Commission, is also increasing. The NCN is one of the largest Polish recipients of funds from the Framework Programmes and these funds are allocated to scientists working in Poland.
During the gala ceremony, congratulations and words of appreciation were given by Przemysław Czarnek, Minister of Education and Science, Wojciech Murdzek, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education and Science, Marc Schiltz, President of Science Europe, and Katja Becker, Chairwoman of the Governing Board of the Global Research Council (GRC). The assembled guests also had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by the philosopher and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Åsa Wikforss, on “Science Denial in the Post-Truth Era”. The ceremony ended with a concert by the Sinfonietta Cracovia Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Krakow under the baton of Edmon Levon.
Second day of celebrations – 10 September
On the second day of the 10th anniversary of the NCN, representatives of Polish and European research funding institutions and scientists representing various fields of science gathered at the International Cultural Centre to discuss science in times of pandemic and open access.
Invited guests reflected on the impact of the pandemic on the conduct of scientific research, the challenges it poses to scientists and how science can support countries and societies in functioning in a pandemic reality. The second panel discussion focused on open access to scientific content, primarily in the context of the cOAllition S initiative, whereby European research funding agencies have adopted Plan S to strive for full and immediate (no time embargo) access to publications containing research results resulting from publicly funded or co-funded research projects.
An important element of the conference was the presentations by three winners of National Science Centre competitions who, thanks to funding from the NCN, were able to build internationalised scientific teams, conduct ground-breaking research and achieve world-class results. Their research was presented by Prof. Grzegorz Pietrzyński (Astronomical Centre im. Mikołaj Kopernik PAN), Dr Katarzyna Cantarero (SWPS University of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology in Wrocław) and Dr Sebastian Glatt (Małopolska Center of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University).