NCN Council’s appeal for increase in NCN funding

Wed, 07/17/2024 - 09:00
Kod CSS i JS

The NCN Council has appealed to the Minister of Science for an increase in NCN funding by 300 million zlotys from 2025 onwards. “The Polish scientific community needs stable support to nurture their talents and develop ambitious research projects,” the NCN Council members wrote in their resolution. The increased funding would trigger, e.g., a higher success rate in NCN calls and discussions on how to make the salaries and scholarships for researchers more realistic.

In their appeal to the Minister of Science Dariusz Wieczorek, the Council members point out that the NCN is crucial for the development of science in Poland, while the increased funding would be an investment in the future that could be beneficial for the society at large and could contribute to Poland’s technological, economic and social development.

Between 2018 and 2023, the NCN budget was virtually frozen, with its grant-in-aid for research funding increasing by merely several percent, from 1.226 billion zlotys to 1.392 billion zlotys. This made the NCN unable to fund some very good projects. In 2023, only 11 percent of researchers applying to the NCN had their projects funded.

The situation improved earlier this year, with the Minister of Science deciding to increase the NCN budget by 200 million zlotys. This allowed us to fund 584 highly evaluated projects on our waiting lists. “Additional funds ware used as well as possible to fund the most valuable research projects in various scientific disciplines and research fields,” wrote the NCN Council members in their resolution. Funding was awarded to 322 projects on the waiting lists under OPUS 25, PRELUDIUM 22, MAESTRO 15 and SONATA BIS 13 and 262 projects under OPUS 26+LAP/Weave and SONATA 19.

The Council members emphasised that from 2025 onwards, the NCN budget should include the current increase in the grant-in-aid by 200 million zlotys and be additionally higher by 300 million zlotys. The Council members further held that this would allow us to fund more projects and resume discussions about the limited number of grants, how to make the salaries and scholarships more realistic, indirect costs, etc.

“If the funding of National Science Centre was increased, Polish researchers would be more competitive internationally and have better working environment which could result in an outflow of talented researchers from and inflow of outstanding researchers to Poland,” wrote the Council members.

The Council resolution was adopted on 5 July and send to the Ministry of Science.

Full text of the appeal

The current budget of the National Science Centre, including the additional 200 million zlotys, amounts to 1.643 billion zlotys of which 1.583 billion zlotys will be used for research funding.

For more information on the NCN budget, please go to Facts and figures.

OPUS 28 + LAP/Weave: Pre-announcement

Tue, 07/16/2024 - 12:00
Kod CSS i JS

On 16 September 2024, we will launch the OPUS 28+LAP/Weave call for research projects, including projects within the framework of LAP cooperation under the Weave programme.

LAP cooperation under the OPUS 28 call under the Weave programme

As of 2024, the National Science Centre has cooperated with the following partner institutions under the Weave programme:

  • Austrian Science Fund (FWF) from Austria,
  • Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) from the Czech Republic,
  • Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency (ARIS) from Slovenia,
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) from Switzerland,
  • German Research Foundation (DFG) from Germany,
  • Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) from Luxembourg,
  • Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) from Belgium - Flanders.

The NCN as the lead agency under OPUS 28+LAP/Weave will perform the merit-based evaluation of OPUS LAP proposals for bilateral or trilateral research projects carried out under the Weave programme by research teams from Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium Flanders.

If a research project is recommended for funding, the NCN will provide funds for the Polish teams, while the foreign teams will be funded by their respective partner institutions (FWF, GAČR, ARRS, DFG, SNSF, FNR, FWO).

OPUS LAP proposals under the OPUS 28+LAP/Weave call are eligible as long as they:

  • are drafted by the Polish research teams in cooperation with foreign teams under the Weave programme pursuant to the OPUS 28+LAP/Weave call text, which will be published on the NCN website on 16 September 2024;
  • concern any academic discipline covered by the NCN review panels;
  • involve basic research that has not been funded by the NCN or from other sources;
  • are based on an equal and complementary contribution by all research teams applying for parallel funding of their research projects to their respective research-funding institutions under the Weave programme. The contribution of each research team involved in the project must be significant and is required and their respective tasks should complement one another to create a coherent joint research project. If the Expert Team finds that an OPUS LAP proposal does mot meet the foregoing criteria, it will not be eligible for funding.

Polish research teams must submit their OPUS LAP proposals to the NCN via the OSF submission system available at: https://osf.opi.org.pl, between 16 September and 16 December 2024, 4 p.m.

Foreign research teams involved in the project must submit their funding proposals to their respective research-funding institution under the Weave programme together with the required documents by the required date and in accordance with the terms and conditions.

If, under the Weave programme, a partner institution requires applicants to submit a copy of their OPUS LAP proposals, a complete English language version of the OPUS LAP proposal in PDF format must be generated in the OSF submission system and sent to the foreign research team.

PLEASE NOTE: OPUS LAP proposals submitted to the NCN must be consistent with the proposals submitted to the partner institutions.

NCN Contact Persons:

General inquiries

Magdalena Dobrzańska-Bzowska

Magdalena Nowak, PHD

Scientific Coordinator:

Oskar Wolski, PHD

 

Discussions on NCN’s cooperation with MRA

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 12:00
Kod CSS i JS

The National Science Centre and the Medical Research Agency are intending to cooperate on calls of the MRA. On 4 July, representatives of the two agencies met in Krakow.

The Medical Research Agency (MRA) is a state agency responsible for development of scientific research in the field of medical and health sciences. The agency has been in business for 5 years. In its future calls for research funding, the MRA will use the expertise of the National Science Centre, including its experience in the organisation of the calls for proposals and work of the expert teams.

The first meeting to discuss the cooperation was held on 4 July in Krakow, and the next will take place this month in Warsaw.

“The NCN coordinators will provide support in the organisation of expert panels which will enable MRA’s grant evaluation system to be harmonised and strengthened. The call for translation research we are planning to launch in December will also require a reliable and objective review of basic research components. The support we may get from foreign reviewers and NCN experts experienced in project evaluation will be invaluable. We can only hope that the call will enable the best research teams to translate their discoveries from bench to bedside,” says Prof. Wojciech Fendler, President of the Medical Research Agency since July.

From its very beginning, the NCN has awarded almost 30 thousand grants for a total of nearly 16 billion zlotys. “The Medical Research Agency aims to support health care innovations with particular focus on the development of non-commercial clinical research and research experiments. The collaboration between the National Science Centre and the Medical Research Agency may soon result in joint initiatives and the best system of basic and experimental medical research. It is equally important to coordinate the efforts to ensure the highest standards of evaluation and selection of grant proposals,” says Prof. Krzysztof Jóźwiak, NCN Director.

Prof. Wojciech Fendler, Dr inż. Zuzanna Nowak-Życzyńska and Krzysztof Górski attended the meeting on the part of the Medical Research Agency, while the National Science Centre was represented by Prof. Krzysztof Jóźwiak, Prof. Anetta Undas, Prof. Piotr Skarżyński, Prof. Barbara Klajnert-Maculewicz, Dr Marcin Liana and Dr Anna Wiktor.

Prof. Wojciech Fendler, Prof. Krzysztof Jóźwiak, Prof. Anetta Undas, Prof. Barbara Klajnert-Maculewicz, Prof. Piotr SkarżyńskiProf. Wojciech Fendler, Prof. Krzysztof Jóźwiak, Prof. Anetta Undas, Prof. Barbara Klajnert-Maculewicz, Prof. Piotr Skarżyński

 

Dioscuri and NCN’s collaboration with DFG under German-Polish Action Plan

Thu, 07/04/2024 - 14:00
Kod CSS i JS

On 2 July, government leaders of Poland and Germany met in Warsaw to adopt a document in which they agreed to boost social and economic cooperation. A science section of the document refers to the Dioscuri centres, a joint initiative of the National Science Centre and the Max Planck Society, and NCN’s collaboration with the DFG.

The “German-Polish Action Plan” is a document adopted as a consequence of international consultations involving the Polish Prime Minister Donalda Tuska and German Chancellery Olaf Scholza. The consultations were held in Warsaw at the beginning of the week. The governments of the two countries declared their wish to cooperate in the area of economy, defence, science, education, etc.. 

In the science section of the document, the signatories expressed their wish to “provide a strong foundation for science, research and innovation through joint investment in order to secure prosperity, competitive strength and the technological sovereignty of Poland, Germany and Europe.”

Two initiatives of the NCN and its German partner are mentioned in the document: the Dioscuri centres jointly managed by the NCN and the Maxa Planck Society (MPG) and NCN’s cooperation with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

The document adopted by the two governments provides as follows “Dioscuri centres in Poland (…) set the benchmark for scientific excellence, promote brain circulation within Europe and develop the “European Research Area” further. We want these centres to become points of leverage to intensify European cooperation.”

The Dioscuri programme seeks to support outstanding scientists in their cutting-edge research at Polish research institutions. Eight Dioscuri centres have been established so far at the research institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and at the Jagiellonian University. The following early-stage researchers who have returned to Poland after years of work abroad are the previous winners, selected by the international research committee:

Strong efforts are underway to launch the next edition of the programme.

In the German-Polish Action Plan, the signatories provide as follows: “We are pleased about the intensive collaboration between the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Polish National Science Centre resulting from their participation in the multilateral European Weave initiative.” Furthermore, the document mentions the Polish-German Science Meetings organised jointly by the NCN, DFG and the Foundation for Polish Science.

Information on intergovernmental consultations and full text of the German-Polish Action Plan are available on the website of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland:

NCN Podcast on Dioscuri centres

Call for NCN Council members

Tue, 07/02/2024 - 16:00
Kod CSS i JS

The Minister of Science has announced a call for NCN Council members. The Council is made up of 24 researchers with half of them replaced every two years. Applications can be submitted by 5 August. 

The NCN Council was formed pursuant to the Act on the National Science Centre of 30 April 2010. It is made up of 24 scholars from various academic disciplines. Members of the Council are appointed for a period of four years and half of them are replaced every two years. 

On 2 July, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education published a call for NCN Council members who will start their term of office at the end of the year. 

The Council identifies priority areas in basic research in accordance with the state's development strategy, lays down the terms and conditions for calls for research proposals, allocates funding and publishes calls for doctoral scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships. Furthermore, the Council appoints members of expert teams evaluating research proposals and announces calls for the NCN Director.

The call for NCN Council members will last until 5 August. The Identification Team established by the Minister of Science evaluates the candidates and compiles a list of candidates recommended for the NCN Council.

A call for NCN Council members and terms that must be met by the candidates are available on the website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

PLN 2 million for research activities

Wed, 06/26/2024 - 13:00
Kod CSS i JS

53 researchers will perform their research activities with funding from the National Science Centre. The second ranking list of proposals submitted to MINIATURA 8 in March has been published.

MINIATURA is a call addressed to researchers with a PhD degree employed at Polish research institutions, who may request funding of PLN 5,000 to 50,000 for a single research activity in the form of preliminary/pilot studies, library and archive searches, fellowships, research visits and/ or consultations.

The call is meant to support research activities performed by researchers with no prior experience in research project management. The aim of a research activity under MINIATURA is to prepare a research plan for a project for which funding can be requested under an NCN call, or other national or international calls. A research activity may be performed by researchers whose scientific achievements include at least one paper published or at least one artistic achievement or achievement in research in art, who have been conferred their PhD degree after 1 January 2012. The eligibility period may be extended as provided for in the Regulations, for example, by the time of childcare leave or long-term sick leave or physiotherapy leave granted to the ones who are unfit to work.

53 research ideas

The second ranking list includes 53 research activities with a total value of PLN 2,024,930.

Projects recommended for funding in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences include studies of the impact of current market conditions on workers’ personal and professional life. Dr Katarzyna Woźniak-Jasińska from the Poznań University of Economics and Business will study the attitudes, preferences and presenteeism of workers in terms of their hybrid work. Funding awarded under MINIATURA 8 will enable Dr Marcin Rojek from the University of Lodz to perform preliminary/pilot studies on educational qualities of co-working.

In the area of Physical Sciences and Engineering, researchers all over Poland will investigate numerical modelling of selected phenomena, study material properties and use of modern methods to produce substances for specific application. Dr inż. Sylwia Baluta from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology will go on a research visit to study a novel approach to stable biosensors using plasma-enhanced laccase immobilization. Dr Sebastian Jurczyk from the Institute for Engineering of Polymer Materials and Dyes at the Łukasiewicz Research Network will carry out a research activity aimed to study and evaluate the efficiency of selected biodegradable polyesters modification by reactive extrusion method to improve their physicochemical properties.

Research activities in Life Sciences recommended for funding focus on human health, animal health and plant processes. Dr Jakub Kryściak from the Poznań University of Physical Education will investigate the effects of specific soccer training on neuromuscular fatigue and acid-base homeostasis in young soccer players. Dr inż. Luiza Tymińska-Czabańska from the University of Agriculture in Krakow will pursue a research activity focusing on the use of GPR with 3D scanner to measure root system variability of Scots pine trees.

Research activities recommended for funding under MINIATURA 8 on Ranking List No 2

Ranking List No 2 under MINIATURA 8 in pdf format

Funding per research group:

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: 18 research activities with a value of PLN 435,998
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering: 20 research activities with a value of PLN 901,120
  • Life Sciences: 15 research activities with a value of PLN 687,812

Call for proposals under MINIATURA 8 is ongoing

The call for proposals under MINIATURA 8 started on 1 February and will end on 31 July 2024, 4 p.m.. In MINIATURA, the evaluation procedure differs from other NCN calls for research projects. Proposals are processed as they are received by the NCN and do not have to wait until the end of the call for proposals. They are evaluated by the experts forming the evaluation team. A merit-based evaluation is performed in a single stage and the results are published once a month for proposals submitted in a specific month of the call.

The NCN Council has decided to designate PLN 20 million for MINIATURA 8. The call for proposals may be suspended if the total amount of requested funds exceeds PLN 40 million. 

Funds for research activities under MINIATURA 8 are divided proportionally to the number of months of the call for proposals. Funding can only be awarded if the proposal is within the pool of funds available in a month.

Podcast 2, 2024: Quantum Technologies

Tue, 06/25/2024 - 16:00
Kod CSS i JS

Does Poland need a quantum computer? What are quantum technologies? How can researchers at Polish research centres contribute to quantum technologies? We are discussing these topics in our podcast today.

Our guests today are Sylwia Kostka from the National Science Centre, coordinator of the QuantERA network and Prof. Konrad Banaszek, physicist and author of numerous papers and patents on quantum technologies, coordinator of the QuantERA network.

According to researchers, within a decade or so, quantum technologies will significantly impact our lives. Medical diagnostics will be faster and more precise, online data security incomparably better and new materials with innovative properties will be developed. Yet, the vision of a quantum computer appeals most to the broader imagination. A few months ago, there was a vivid public discussion in response to a research institution’s intention to buy a quantum computer. Does Poland need a quantum computer? Prof. Konrad Banaszek replies that available quantum computers are far from perfect and “make noises,” and remarks that our understanding of quantum computer development is often wrong. “It is wrong to assume that quantum computers are just classical computers that work faster and solve all kinds of issues and computational problems much faster than regular PCs or specialised devices installed in the computer centres,” he says and emphasises that available quantum computers are mainly used to solve quantum algorithms. “We are currently looking for practical problems that could be solved by quantum computers,” he adds.

In this episode of our podcast, we are discussing quantum technology as such, and research performed at the Polish research centres. “There is no doubt that Polish researchers are an equal partner for the top research teams in the world,” Prof. Banaszek emphasizes.

Fundamental research work on quantum entanglement was initiated in the 1990s at the University of Gdańsk, where Prof. Ryszard Horodecki together with his co-investigators created an institution that had evolved into a world quantum computing centre. Research institutions in Warsaw and Krakow have a longstanding history of quantum optics which has evolved into the majority of current research on the new ways of communication, sensing, metrology and imaging. Researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń work at the National Laboratory of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics (FAMO) on the new generation of optical atomic clocks, state-of-the art timekeeping devices in the world that can be used for surveying and navigation. They are also looking into other applications of quantum metrology.

In addition to theoretical work, experimental work results are also arriving. Furthermore, Poland coordinates the QuantERA programme, the leading European network which funds research in quantum technologies. The programme coordinated by the National Science Centre associates 41 research funding agencies from 31 countries. “The network was created in Poland because international contacts of quantum physicists and Polish research community were ideal for us to build on. We were convinced that researchers will respond to the programme very well,” says Sylwia Kostka.

Our guests emphasize that the Polish quantum community is currently missing a strategy for the development of quantum technologies and hope that, just like in other European countries, there will be the political will, and an appropriate document will soon be adopted. The first discussions on the matter have already been held at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Podcast host: Anna Korzekwa-Józefowicz.

The recording is now available on Spotify and Apple Podcast.

Apple Podcast

Polish and German research project funded under Weave-UNISONO

Tue, 06/25/2024 - 15:00
Kod CSS i JS

Dr Maciej Starostka from the Gdańsk University of Technology together with German researchers will carry out a research project funded under Weave-UNISONO. The Polish research team will be awarded nearly PLN 455,000.

Morse theoretical methods in Analysis, Dynamics, and Geometry” is the title of the awarded project which will be headed by Dr Maciej Starostka (PI), mathematician at the Gdańsk University of Technology. The German research team will be managed by Jun. Prof. Dr Luca Asselle from Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

The Morse theoretical method is a mathematical theory that describes decompositions of differential manifolds into simple pieces, used to study differential equations admitting a variational formulation. Researchers involved in the project will build on the theory, e.g. developing a Morse homology theory for an abstract class of functionals on Banach manifolds as well as for specific classes of functionals. The project will continue the study that has already been funded under the BEETHOVEN project “Morse theoretical methods in Hamiltonian dynamics”.

The project was evaluated by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in its capacity of the lead agency under Weave-UNISONO. The National Science Centre approved the results of the evaluation and decided to fund the Polish research team.

Weave-UNISONO ranking lists

Weave-UNISONO

The Weave-UNISONO call is the result of multilateral cooperation between research-funding agencies associated in Science Europe and aims at simplifying the submission and selection procedures for research proposals that bring together researchers from two or three different European countries in any discipline of science.

The selection process is based on the Lead Agency Procedure (LAP), under which only one partner institution is responsible for merit-based review and the others simply accept the result.

Under Weave, partner research teams apply in parallel to the lead agency and their relevant domestic institutions. Their joint proposal must include coherent research programmes and clearly spell out the added value of international cooperation.

The Weave-UNISONO call accepts proposals on a rolling basis. Polish teams wishing to partner up with colleagues from Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium-Flanders are encouraged to carefully read the call text and submit their funding proposals.

Black holes may only comprise a fraction of dark matter: Polish astrophysicists in Nature

Mon, 06/24/2024 - 17:05
Kod CSS i JS

Researchers involved in the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) have summed up several years of their research into dark matter, in particular massive primordial black holes. Their research findings have been published in two articles published in prestigious scientific journals, including Nature. Their work was funded by the National Science Centre. Night over the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The OGLE project observing station and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Credit: Krzysztof UlaczykNight over the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The OGLE project observing station and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Credit: Krzysztof Ulaczyk

Gravitational wave detectors, LIGO and Virgo, have detected a population of massive black holes whose origin is one of the biggest mysteries in modern astronomy. According to one hypothesis, these objects may have formed in the very early Universe and may compose dark matter, a mysterious substance filling the Universe. A team of scientists from the OGLE survey from the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw have announced the results of nearly 20-year-long observations indicating that such massive black holes may comprise at most a few percent of dark matter.

Various astronomical observations indicate that ordinary matter, which we can see or touch, comprises only 5% of the total mass and energy budget of the Universe. In the Milky Way, for every 1 kg of ordinary matter in stars, there is 15 kg of “dark matter,” which does not emit any light and interacts only by means of its gravitational pull.

One of the biggest mysteries of astronomy

“The nature of dark matter remains a mystery. Most scientists think it is composed of unknown elementary particles,” says Dr Przemek Mróz from the Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw, the lead author of both articles. “Unfortunately, despite decades of efforts, no experiment (including experiments carried out with the Large Hadron Collider) has found new particles that could be responsible for dark matter.”

Since the first detection of gravitational waves from a merging pair of black holes in 2015, the LIGO and Virgo experiments have detected more than 90 such events. Astronomers noticed that black holes detected by LIGO and Virgo are typically significantly more massive (20–100 solar masses) than those known previously in the Milky Way (5–20 solar masses).

“Explaining why these two populations of black holes are so different is one of the biggest mysteries of modern astronomy,” says Dr Mróz.

One possible explanation postulates that LIGO and Virgo detectors have uncovered a population of primordial black holes that may have formed in the very early Universe. Their existence was first proposed over 50 years ago by the famous British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and, independently, by the Soviet physicist Yakov Zeldovich.

“We know that the early Universe was not ideally homogeneous—small density fluctuations gave rise to current galaxies and galaxy clusters,” says Dr Mróz. “Similar density fluctuations, if they exceed a critical density contrast, may collapse and form black holes.”

Since the first detection of gravitational waves, more and more scientists have been speculating that such primordial black holes may comprise a significant fraction, if not all, of dark matter.

Gravitational microlensing

Artist s impression of a microlensing event caused by a black hole observed from Earth toward the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: J. Skowron / OGLEArtist s impression of a microlensing event caused by a black hole observed from Earth toward the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: J. Skowron / OGLE Fortunately, this hypothesis can be verified with astronomical observations. We observe that copious amounts of dark matter exist in the Milky Way. If it were composed of black holes, we should be able to detect them in our cosmic neighborhood. Is this possible, given that black holes do not emit any detectable light?

According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, light may be bent and deflected in the gravitational field of massive objects, a phenomenon called gravitational microlensing.

“Microlensing occurs when three objects – an observer on Earth, a source of light, and a “lens” object – virtually ideally align in space,” says Prof. Andrzej Udalski, the principal investigator of the OGLE survey. “During a microlensing event, the source’s light may be deflected and magnified, and we observe a temporary brightening of the source’s light.”

The duration of the brightening depends on the mass of the lensing object: the higher the mass, the longer the event. Microlensing events by solar mass objects typically last several weeks, whereas those by black holes that are 100 more massive than the Sun would last a few years.

The idea of using gravitational microlensing to study dark matter is not new. It was first proposed in the 1980s by the famous Polish astrophysicist Bohdan Paczyński. His idea inspired the start of three major experiments: Polish OGLE, American MACHO, and French EROS. The first results from these experiments demonstrated that black holes less massive than one solar mass may comprise less than 10 percent of dark matter. These observations were not, however, sensitive to extremely long-timescale microlensing events and, therefore, not sensitive to massive black holes, similar to those recently detected with gravitational-wave detectors.

In the new article in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, OGLE astronomers present the results of nearly 20-year-long photometric monitoring of almost 80 million stars located in a nearby galaxy, called the Large Magellanic Cloud, and the searches for gravitational microlensing events. The analyzed data were collected during the third and fourth phases of the OGLE project from 2001 to 2020.

“This data set provides the longest, largest, and most accurate photometric observations of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud in the history of modern astronomy,” says Prof. Udalski.

13 relatively short phenomena Expected vs. observed microlensing events by massive objects toward the Large Magellanic Cloud as seen through the Milky Way halo. Credit: J. Skowron / OGLEExpected vs. observed microlensing events by massive objects toward the Large Magellanic Cloud as seen through the Milky Way halo. Credit: J. Skowron / OGLE

The second article, published in Nature, discusses the astrophysical consequences of the findings.

“If the entire dark matter in the Milky Way was composed of black holes of 10 solar masses, we should have detected 258 microlensing events,” says Dr Mróz. “For 100 solar mass black holes, we expected 99 microlensing events. For 1000 solar mass black holes – 27 microlensing events.”

In contrast, the OGLE astronomers have found only 13 microlensing events. Their detailed analysis demonstrates that all of them can be explained by the known stellar populations in the Milky Way or the Large Magellanic Cloud itself, not by black holes.

“That indicates that massive black holes can compose at most a few percent of dark matter,” says Dr Mróz.

The detailed calculations demonstrate that black holes of 10 solar masses may comprise at most 1.2% of dark matter, 100 solar mass black holes – 3.0% of dark matter, and 1000 solar mass black holes – 11% of dark matter.

“Our observations indicate that primordial black holes cannot comprise a significant fraction of the dark matter and, simultaneously, explain the observed black hole merger rates measured by LIGO and Virgo,” says Prof. Udalski.

Therefore, other explanations are needed for massive black holes detected by LIGO and Virgo. According to one hypothesis, they formed as a product of the evolution of massive, low-metallicity stars. Another possibility involves mergers of less massive objects in dense stellar environments, such as globular clusters.

“Our results will remain in astronomy textbooks for decades to come,” adds Prof. Udalski.

Dr Przemysław Mróz studies black holes as black matter. His research project is funded by the NCN under the OPUS call. Both articles include information on the grant. Dr Mróz also performed a research project under the ETIUDA call. The other co-investigators are also the winning applicants of NCN calls.

“Notes from Council Meeting”, part 2.

Fri, 06/21/2024 - 13:45
Kod CSS i JS

Over the past few months, the NCN Council has discussed many topics, e.g. NCN call portfolio, principal investigator’s grace period and mentoring programme. Prof. Alicja Kazek-Kęsik writes about the work of the Council.

“Notes from Council Meeting” are articles published in Forum Akademickie, in which members of the NCN Council explain and discuss their work.

In her second article, Prof. Alicja Kazek-Kęsik writes that the principal investigator’s grace period is discussed over and over again. Under the applicable regulations, a principal investigator whose proposal is not passed on to stage two (merit-based evaluation) must wait one round of the call to resubmit their proposal. This will give them time to read the review and modify their proposal will also help reduce the processing costs of weaker proposals. 

Prof. Kazek-Kęsik says that the quality of proposals has recently evolved, while researchers highlight the urge to have the restrictions relaxed. Therefore, the NCN Council has considered to amend the regulations pertaining to the grace period. “It happens more and more often that proposals submitted to stage one are evaluated very well or well, their number is higher than ever before, and it is not uncommon for only exceptional proposals to reach stage two of evaluation. (…) Therefore, the doubts raised by the scientific community are well justified,” says a member of the NCN Council.

The article also addresses NCN Council’s discussions on other restrictions of grant proposals, call portfolio and MINIATURA monitoring programme.

Notes from Council Meeting: grace period, call portfolio, mentoring programme, Forum Akademickie, 20 June

In the first article of the “Notes from Council Meeting” series, Prof. Joanna Golińska-Pilarek wrote about modifications to the proposal form and evaluation criteria, PhD scholarship rates and mentoring programme. The article was published on the website of Forum Akademickie on 19 March.