Mon, 06/17/2024 - 14:00
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We are now taking in proposals under the SONATA BIS 14 call for researchers planning to set up new research teams and MAESTRO 16 for advanced researchers involved in pioneering research. The total budget of the two calls is PLN 170 million.

The two calls are an opportunity for researchers working or planning to work at Polish centres to acquire funding for the most ambitious project in the field of basic research.

Masterclass projects

It is now the sixteenth time that we have the pleasure of inviting experienced researchers to apply to the MAESTRO call for proposals for research projects that involve pioneering research of great interest to science, often interdisciplinary in nature, which goes beyond our current state of knowledge and is likely to bring important scientific discoveries. A total budget of PLN 20 million is up for grabs for PhD holders who can demonstrate at least five publications released by renowned Polish or international academic publishers/journals in the last 10 years, and have served as principal investigators in at least two research projects selected in international or domestic calls. Applicants also need to meet at least three other research record criteria, such as having published a monograph, sat on a scientific committee of a renowned academic conference or won an international award.

The projects may be planned over 36, 48 or 60 months. There is no official cap on the budget of any single project, but all its costs must be well justified and will be carefully assessed during the evaluation procedure. The grant can go toward funding salaries for the research team, including scholarships for students and PhD students, research equipment and other necessary project expenses.

A good start for new teams

SONATA BIS 14 is targeted at researchers planning to set up new teams in order to conduct innovative basic research projects. The principal investigator must have earned their PhD degree 5 to 12 years prior (i.e. between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2019) and is expected to be able to demonstrate at least one research paper published or pending publication.

SONATA BIS14 projects may also be planned over 36, 48 or 60 months. The terms and conditions of the call do not set a limit on the maximum number of members in the research team, but the grant must employ one or more PhD students for a total period of at least 36 months. Other team members may also be hired, including post-docs or students.

The budget of SONATA BIS 14 is PLN 150 million.

In all our MAESTRO calls to date, we have awarded 297 grants with a cumulative budget of PLN 830.5 million. These statistics also include 12 projects worth more than a total of PLN 47.8 million, which were originally put on waiting lists under MAESTRO 15 but ultimately received funding thanks to a 200 million increase in the NCN budget this year.

In all the thirteen SONATA BIS calls concluded thus far, grants have been awarded to 981 projects with a total budget of PLN 1.84 billion. Similarly, the figure now includes an additional 100 projects, worth nearly PLN 267 million, which received a positive funding decision after the recent activation of SONATA 13 waiting lists.

We would like to encourage you to take a look at the outlines of NCN-funded projects that have been, or will be, conducted by researchers in Poland. Visit the NCN website and open the following tab: or find us on social media under the following hashtags: #projektyNCN #NCNToTlen #ludzieniebudynki. We are waiting for your stories!

Proposal intake, evaluation procedure, results

Proposals under MAESTRO 16 and SONATA BIS 14 can be submitted via the OSF system until 4pm on 17 September 2024.

All proposals that have passed our eligibility check will go on to undergo a merit-based evaluation by Expert Teams appointed by the NCN Council, which consists of two stages.

At stage one, each proposal is individually reviewed by at least two team members. The team then agrees on a final score, based on these individual expert reviews, and draws up a list of projects passed forward to stage two. At stage two, each proposal is again evaluated by at least two reviewers. Moreover, under MAESTRO and SONATA BIS specifically, the principal investigator is also invited to an interview (held in English) at the main offices of the NCN. The final score is agreed on during the second team meeting, based on all individual reviews and the interview results. The team then draws up the final ranking lists of proposals recommended for funding.

MAESTRO 16 and SONATA BIS 14 interviews will take place in January/February 2025; principal investigators will be notified of the date at least 14 days prior.

The review process at the NCN is based on the following criteria: research excellence and innovation; the impact of the project on the advancement of the discipline; the project’s feasibility, and the research record of the principal investigator, including publications in renowned journals; and the necessity and manner of setting up a new team in SONATA BIS.

The results of the two calls will be published by March 2025.