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15 September 2022

The National Science Centre (NCN) hereby announces the POLONEZ BIS 3 call for 24-month research projects carried out by incoming researchers. The purpose of the call is to help researchers develop their professional careers by supporting their international mobility and to fund ambitious research projects at the best Polish research institutions. The call is addressed to researchers who hold a PhD degree or have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience and who have not lived, studied or been employed in Poland for an uninterrupted period of over 12 months within 3 years prior to the call launch.

The National Science Centre (NCN) hereby announces the POLONEZ BIS 3 call for 24-month research projects carried out by incoming researchers. The purpose of the call is to help researchers develop their professional careers by supporting their international mobility and to fund ambitious research projects at the best Polish research institutions. The call is addressed to researchers who hold a PhD degree or have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience and who have not lived, studied or been employed in Poland for an uninterrupted period of over 12 months within 3 years prior to the call launch.

The fellowship budget may cover remuneration of the principal investigator and research team members, including scholarships for students and PhD students, as well as project-related costs, i.e. research equipment and small instruments, materials, outsourced services, business trips, open access to publications, etc.

Researchers who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty or research career, and those who are forced to flee or have been displaced because of such threats, are encouraged to apply.

NCN has allocated PLN 27 M for research projects funded under the POLONEZ BIS 3 call.

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the submission system OSF, available at https://osf.opi.org.pl. The proposal submission procedure is described in more detail in the document “How to complete and submit a proposal to POLONEZ BIS call”.

The deadline for submitting proposals via the OSF submission system is 15 December 2022 (4:00 p.m. Polish local time).

Please read the call documents in this call text.

Researchers and hosts institutions interested in the call are encouraged to take part in webinars:

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Which entities are eligible as host institutions?

A POLONEZ BIS project may be hosted by any entity specified in Article 27 (1) (1) (3)-(7a) and (1) (1) (9) of the Act on the National Science Centre (NCN). These are:

  1. universities;
  2. federations of science and Higher Education (HE) entities;
  3. research institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, operating pursuant to the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1796, as amended);
  4. research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1383, as amended);
  5. international research institutes established pursuant to other acts and acting in the Republic of Poland:
    • 5a. the Łukasiewicz Centre operating pursuant to the Act on the Łukasiewicz Research Network of 21 February 2019 (Journal of Laws 2020, item 2098, as amended),
    • 5b. institutes operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network;
  6. the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  7. other entities involved in research independently on a continuous basis;
  8. scientific and industrial centres laid down in the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1383, as amended);
  9. research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences laid down in the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1796, as amended);
  10. scientific libraries;
  11. companies operating as R&D centres within the meaning of the Act on Certain Forms of Support for Innovative Activity of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 706);
  12. legal entities with their registered office in Poland; and
    • 12a. President of the Central Office of Measures;
  13. companies conducting research in another organisational form than laid down in sections 1-12a.

Who may act as the principal investigator (applicant)?

Principal investigators in the projects carried out under POLONEZ BIS 3 must be incoming researchers who are planning to conduct basic research at an institution located in Poland.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must fulfil two fundamental eligibility criteria:

  1. research experience: at the date of the call launch, the PI must hold a PhD degree or have at least 4 years of documented full-time research experience;
  2. mobility requirement: within the 3 years immediately before the date of the call’s launch (i.e. between 15 September 2019 and 14 September 2022) the PI must not have lived, studied or been employed in Poland for more than 12 months in total. The following types of stays do not count towards the 12-month limit:
  • short holidays,
  • time of mandatory military service,
  • time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status,
  • time spent in Poland, beginning on or after 24 February, in the case of persons defined in the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection.

In addition, PI’s scientific achievements should include at least one research paper published or accepted for publication. In the case of research in the arts, the PI must have at least one paper published or accepted for publication or at least one artistic achievement or achievement in research in art completed. The proposal should include artistic work and/or achievements covering the period of the last 10 years before the proposal year (as of 2012). In specific cases, this period may be extended.

Are there any restrictions on submitting proposals for research projects under the POLONEZ BIS 2 call?

Yes, there are restrictions referring to different aspects of the proposal:

  1. No double funding: proposals that are or were funded by the NCN or from other sources must not be submitted to the call.
  2. Principal investigators: researchers cannot apply for POLONEZ BIS 3 if:
    • they were funded as POLONEZ fellows in any previous POLONEZ or POLONEZ BIS call;
    • within 3 years prior to the call’s launch (i.e. between 15 September 2019 and 14 September 2022), they held the role of principal investigator in a research project carried out at a Polish institution, including projects funded by the NCN;
    • they hold the role of principal investigator in any other proposal submitted to the NCN in answer to any call launched on 15 September 2022 (including POLONEZ BIS 3) or in a proposal for which a funding decision was issued and remains in legal force or in any proposal under evaluation or under appeal;
    • they represent the host institution.
  3. Host Institutions: an institution cannot host the applicant if:
    • it granted the applicant the PhD degree, unless since the PhD award the applicant has completed a documented post-doctoral fellowship(s) outside Poland, lasting a total of at least 3 years, including at least one post-doctoral fellowship lasting an uninterrupted period of 12 months;
    • it has employed the applicant within 3 years before the proposal submission date (i.e. between 15 December 2019 and 15 December 2022);
    • it constitutes a group of entities;
    • it is under receivership, in liquidation or subject to bankruptcy proceedings.
  4. Mentor: on the date of the call launch (15 September 2022), the mentor must already be employed by the host institution.

Will any other restrictions apply during the POLONEZ BIS 2 funding term?

During the POLONEZ BIS 3 funding term:

  1. the host institution must employ the principal investigator for the entire funding term pursuant to a full-time employment contract, exclusively for the implementation of project research and training tasks;
  2. the principal investigator must reside in Poland for the entire project funding term and be available to the host institution. This obligation does not apply to documented project-related business trips, as well as holidays, time off work and other excused absences from work regulated by generally applicable laws;
  3. the principal investigator must not use any other sources of funding for his/her arrival or stay in Poland;
  4. the principal investigator must not be involved in international mobility activities during the project funding term, with the exception of the trips necessary to carry out the project research and training tasks under POLONEZ BIS 3.

What is the subject-matter of the call?

Proposals submitted to the call must involve basic research in any of 25 NCN review panels comprising three groups:

  • HS – Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • ST – Physical Sciences and Engineering;
  • NZ – Life Sciences.

What is the project duration?

Under the call, research projects may be planned for a period of 24 months. The applicant may choose to start the project on 1 September, 1 October or 1 November 2023.

What are the positions for members of the research team?

Apart from the principal investigator, research tasks in the project funded under the POLONEZ BIS 3 call may be performed by co-investigators, including:

  • a mentor (mandatory);
  • other investigators (optional);
  • students and PhD students (optional).

The mentor must have research experience sufficient to allow for adequate supervision of the project and mentoring of the principal investigator. The host institution must employ the mentor on the date of the call launch and throughout the project funding term.

The rationale for the involvement of individual members of the research team in the project shall be evaluated by the expert team. The project must include the description of competencies and tasks to be performed by individual members of the research team.

The terms of the call do not specify the maximum number of research team members.

How can the project budget be planned?

The project budget must be well-justified as regards the subject and scope of research, based on realistic calculations and must specify the expenditures to be covered by the NCN (eligible costs). The budget must be prepared in Polish currency (PLN).

The project budget (eligible costs) includes direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs include funds for:

  1. Salary of the principal investigator: the salary paid by the host institution under the full time employment contract for the entire project funding term.

    The PI’s remuneration for the 24-month project is composed of the following:

    • living allowance - EUR 65,760;
    • mobility allowance - EUR 41,400;
    • family allowance - EUR 7,200 for PI’s whose spouse/partner and/or child/children are relocated to Poland with them for at least 3 months during the project funding term;
    • special needs allowance - EUR 4,800 for researchers with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

    The amounts above due to the principal investigator include non-wage labour costs (including health and social security coverage) and other remuneration components funded by the host institution.

    In the proposal submission system OSF the PI’s salary is calculated automatically based on the selected project start date. The EUR amounts are converted into PLN according to the EUR exchange rate published by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego S.A. in the first exchange rate table of 7 July 2022, where EUR 1 = PLN  4.6234.

    During the funding term, the principal investigator must not:

    • receive any other remuneration (in any form whatsoever) granted under the heading of direct costs in research projects funded under NCN calls;
    • receive any remuneration from another employer pursuant to an employment contract, including an employer with its registered office outside of Poland.
  2. Salaries of staff assigned or recruited to the project, including:
    • mentor’s additional salary – no more than PLN 2,000 per month;
    • salaries of other co-investigators no limit given, salaries   of   co-investigators should   be   planned   taking   into   account   their   period of employment, the scope of work in the project, the workload, and the level of professional qualifications required;
    • salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students – no more than PLN 5,000 per person per month.
  3. Other direct costs of research, including:
    • costs of research equipment, devices and software: the unit cost must not exceed EUR 2,500 (PLN 11,559);
    • other direct costs of research, including materials and small laboratory, IT and office equipment (the unit cost must not exceed EUR 2,500 (PLN 11,559), outsourced services, business trips, individual visits by and consultations with external collaborators and/or consultants, compensation for collective investigators, purchase of data/databases and specialist research papers, costs of publication of monographs (following their positive review by the NCN);
    • costs of actions intended to promote the project and its results;
    • other costs indispensable for the completion of the research project, which comply with the document “Costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre under POLONEZ BIS 3”.

Please note: The cost of open access to publications subject to the Open Access Policy at the NCN is not eligible as direct cost.

Please note: The costs of publication of monographs presenting project results (as defined in §10 of the Regulation on evaluation of the quality of research activity issued by the Minister of Science and Higher Education on 22 February 2019 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 392) are not eligible until positively reviewed by the NCN.

The direct costs of the project, excluding the PI’s salary, must not exceed EUR 100,000 (PLN 462,340).

Indirect costs include:

  • indirect cost of Open Access (up to 2% of project direct costs), which may be designated only for the cost of open access to publications or research data;
  • other indirect costs (up to 20% of project direct costs), which may be spent on costs that are related indirectly to the research project, including the cost of open access to publications and research data.

If unjustified costs are planned, a proposal may be rejected.

Open access publication of research results

Together with other European research-funding institutions, the National Science Centre is a member of cOAlition S. Therefore, the NCN adopted an Open Access Policy, pursuant to which all research results generated by NCN-funded research projects must be made available in full and immediate open access.

In accordance with the principles of Plan S, the National Science Centre recognizes the following publication routes as compliant with its Open Access Policy:

  1. publication in open access journals and on open access platforms registered, or with pending registration, in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ);
  2. publication in subscription journals (hybrid journals), as long as the Version of Record (VoR) or the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is published, by the author or publisher, in an open repository immediately upon the article’s online publication;
  3. publication in journals covered by an open access licence within the framework of the so-called transformative agreements, inscribed in the Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges registry (ESAC-registry).

Articles must be made available using the CC-BY or CC-BY-ND licence. In the case of transformation journals, the CC-BY-SA licence can also be used.

More information on the Open Access publication rules/instructions is available in Order No. 38/2020 and amendment thereto.

Can proposals in this call include applications for state aid?

Yes, for more information, consult the State aid section.

If the project funds constitute state aid for the host institution, scholarships for students and PhD students are not eligible. Students and PhD students may still receive salaries, as indicated in the document “Costs in research projects funded by the NCN under POLONEZ BIS 3 ”.

Please note: All documents concerning proposals for state aid must be signed with a qualified electronic signature in the PAdES format.

What is the proposal evaluation procedure?

Proposals are subject to an eligibility check and merit based-evaluation.

The eligibility check is carried out by the scientific coordinators. Only complete proposals that meet all requirements of the call text are accepted for merit-based evaluation. A proposal may also be rejected as ineligible at the later stage of evaluation.

Eligible proposals are subject to merit-based evaluation performed in two stages:

Stage I:

  • individual reviews are drafted by two members of the Expert Team. In the case of a proposal which is assigned to at least one auxiliary NCN Review Panel from another group of disciplines than the one to which the proposal was submitted,  the chair of the Expert Team may decide to seek a second opinion from a member of another Expert Team;
  • consensus s reached by the Expert Team on the final score assigned to each proposal, taking into account the individual reviews;
  • the list of proposals recommended for the second stage of evaluation is agreed upon;
  • final justifications are drafted for proposals not retained for the second evaluation stage.

In Stage I, evaluation is based on the data included in the proposal and annexes thereto, with the exception of the full project description.

Please note: Proposals which are assigned to at least one auxiliary review panel from another group of disciplines than the one to which they were submitted and which are identified by the panel chair as requiring an additional individual review shall be classified as an interdisciplinary proposal. Interdisciplinary proposals may, in well-justified cases, be subject to an additional expert review at the first stage of evaluation.

Stage II:

  • individual reviews are made by at least two external reviewers based on the data provided in the proposal and annexes thereto, with the exception of the short project description;
  • individual reviews of the ethics issues are drafted by at least two ethical experts for all proposals in which the applicant flagged at least one issue in the Ethics Issues section and for proposals in which, in the opinion of the Expert Team in stage I, ethics issues in research have not been appropriately addressed;
  • an interview is conducted with the principal investigator by members of the Expert Team. The principal investigator may read the opinions of the Expert Team members, Ethics Experts and external reviewers 14 days in advance of the interview date;
  • consensus is reached by the Expert Team on the final score assigned to each proposal, taking into account the individual external reviews, reviews of the ethics issues and the results of the interview;
  • the ranking lists of proposals recommended for funding are agreed upon as well as the list of proposals to be placed on reserve, in the case any funded POLONEZ 3 applicants should submit resignations;
  • final justifications are drafted for proposals not recommended for funding.

An interview with the principal investigator is held at the second stage of merit-based evaluation in English by means of available telecommunication tools and is planned for April/May 2023.

Proposals involving ethical issues shall be additionally reviewed by two ethical experts who shall draft two individual reviews of the proposals in respect of the ethical issues and shall participate in the interview with the principal investigator.

Additional information on the proposal evaluation procedure can be found in the Detailed procedure for evaluating proposals submitted to POLONEZ BIS.

What is reviewed in the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

In the evaluation of proposals, the following criteria shall be reviewed in particular:

  1. compliance with the criterion of basic research;
  2. quality of the research project;
  3. potential impact of the research project on the scientific discipline(s) worldwide;
  4. dissemination of the project results;
  5. qualifications and research achievements of the principal investigator;
  6. qualifications and research achievements of the mentor;
  7. scientific excellence of the host institution and appropriate choice thereof;
  8. potential impact of the project on the career development of the principal investigator;
  9. ethical issues;
  10. relevance of the planned costs to the subject and scope of the research;
  11. interdisciplinary approach of the project; proposals covering only one scientific discipline may also be funded in the call;
  12. diligence in the preparation of the proposal and compliance with other requirements of the call text.

Please note: Proposals with a zero score or “no” decision agreed by the expert team in any reviewed criterion cannot be recommended for funding. The foregoing does not apply to the data management evaluation criteria and interdisciplinary approach evaluation criteria as well as ethics issues at the first stage of merit-based evaluation.

Who performs the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

Proposals are evaluated by inter-panel teams (consisting of experts from respective panels, i.e. HS, ST or NZ).

Proposals which are assigned at least one auxiliary review panel from another group of disciplines than the one to which they are submitted (i.e. HS, ST, NZ) may be identified by the panel chair as requiring an additional opinion from a member of another Expert Team.

Experts are selected by the NCN Council from among eminent Polish and foreign researchers who are at least PhD holders. Separate expert teams are established for each call . The composition of the expert team is subject to the number and thematic range of proposals submitted to each group of disciplines.

When and how shall the call results be announced?

The call results will be published on the NCN website and communicated to the applicants by way of a decision of the NCN Director within 6 months of the proposal submission date, by June 2023, at the latest .

Where can additional information be found?

Find out more on the POLONEZ BIS website.

Should you have any more questions or queries, please contact us by e-mail: polonez@ncn.gov.pl.

Useful information

If you intend to submit a proposal to POLONES BIS 3, you should:

  1. read all call documents included in the call text, in particular:
  2. contact the host institution of your choice to discuss the details of the POLONEZ BIS project;
  3. obtain the host institution data required to complete the proposal as well as the Host Institution Capacity Form, and find out about the internal procedures of the host institution which may affect the proposal submission and project performance (project costs, procedure for acquiring signature(s) of authorised representative(s) of the institution to confirm proposal submission);
  4. prepare letters of acceptance from publishers confirming that papers have been accepted for publication (if the scientific achievements section includes papers accepted for publication but not yet published), a copy of the PI’s PhD diploma or documents confirming that the PI has at least 4 years of research experience, documents confirming the PI’s compliance with the eligibility criteria laid down in the call text and drafted pursuant to Annex 1 to NCN Council Resolution No 70/2022; and
  5. once the proposal has been drafted, obtain the administrative declaration of the host institution as required by the proposal and the mentor’s declaration that they have read the project description and agree to supervise the project and mentor the principal investigator. In the case of entities for which project funding constitutes state aid, acquire any additional information required by the proposal.

Before the proposal is submitted to NCN:

  1. check if all information in the proposal and annexes are correct. You can verify the proposal for completeness in OSF by pressing the [Check completeness] button, but this does not guarantee that all information has been entered correctly and that the required annexes have been attached;
  2. disable editing of the final version of the proposal to the NCN; and
  3. download and sign two confirmations of proposal submission (one signed by the PI, another by the legal representative of the host institution).

Once the proposal is completed and all required annexes are uploaded, use the [Send to NCN] button to submit the proposal to the NCN electronically via OSF. No printed copy is necessary.

After the proposal submission deadline:

  1. evaluation of proposals shall be carried out;
  2. after each stage of evaluation, the NCN Director will issue appropriate decisions: to reject proposals which did not meet the eligibility criteria, to reject projects not recommended to stage II of evaluation, to reject projects not recommended for funding at the second stage of evaluation to or to award funding;
  3. if the proposal is recommended for funding, a funding agreement shall be signed; and
  4. the project’s funding term shall start on the date indicated in the proposal  i.e. 1 September, 1 October or 1 November 2023.

In the event of a breach of the call procedure or other formal infringements, the applicant may lodge an appeal against the decision of the NCN Director with the Committee of Appeals of the NCN Council. The appeal must be lodged within 14 days of the effective service of the decision.

Call documents

Please note: all the documents below are in the PDF format. To edit forms 7-10, please download them from the OSF submission system.

  1. Terms and regulations for awarding funding under POLONEZ BIS 3
  2. Guide for Applicants
  3. NCN review panels
  4. Costs in research projects under POLONEZ BIS 3
  5. Regulations for awarding scholarships in NCN-funded research projects
  6. Proposal form template
  7. Compliance with the eligibility criteria (residency, mobility, research career breaks) over the last three years before the proposal submission date under POLONEZ BIS 3
  8. Host Institution Capacity Form
  9. Career Development Plan
  10. Mentor’s Declarations
  11. State aid
  12. Guidelines for applicants to complete the Ethics Issues form in the research project
  13. Guidelines for applicants to complete the Data Management Plan in the proposal
  14. Open Access Policy at the NCN + amendment
  15. Guidelines: NCN’s Open Access Policy
  16. Code of the National Science Centre on research integrity and applying for research funding
  17. How to complete and submit a proposal to POLONEZ BIS call

Documents concerning evaluation of proposals:

  1. Proposal evaluation criteria under POLONEZ BIS 3
  2. Expert teams of the National Science Centre – formation and appointing
  3. Detailed procedure of evaluating proposals by expert teams under POLONEZ BIS 3
  4. Code of ethics for experts of the National Science Centre
  5. Service of the NCN Director’s decisions
  6. Guidelines for lodging appeals against the NCN Director’s decisions

Documents to be read before commencing NCN projects

  1. Funding agreement template (to be published on 3 October 2022)
  2. POLONEZ BIS Grant Agreement no 945339
  3. European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
  4. Order establishing a procedure for auditing undertakings selected in the calls funded by the National Science Centre
  5. Guidelines for entities auditing the implementation of research projects funded by the National Science Centre
  6. Rules for the evaluation of monographs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre