Over € 40 million in basic research funding

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The National Science Centre has published the results of the MAESTRO 6, HARMONIA 6 and SONATA 4 calls for proposals. The list of the calls’ laureates consists of the names of 122 researchers from all over Poland.

There was a total number of 920 submissions to the three calls, with a success rate of 13.3 per cent.

Assessing proposals, Experts responsible for peer review give particular consideration to the quality of the proposed research and its significance for the advancement of research in their field. Very important is the global significance of the research, which by no means excludes topics addressing local problems, related to the history, geography or geology of Poland, our culture or the social problems of Polish cities and rural areas, said professor Andrzej Jajszczyk, director of the National Science Centre.

The applicants in the MAESTRO 6 call were advanced researchers seeking to conduct ground-breaking (e.g. interdisciplinary) research, important for the advancement of science or surpassing the current state of the art. Funding was awarded to 14 projects whose Principal Investigators will carry out research worth over € 10 million. Among other things, they will investigate the causes of dyslexia, test an approach to difficult protein targets using new spectrometry-based methods, they will try applying hyphenated and combined separation techniques in metabolic studies and search for cancer markers. The biggest grant in the MAESTRO 6 call, € 946,578, was awarded to OGLE-IV: The Largest Sky Variability Survey, led by prof. dr hab. Andrzej Udalski from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw. The success rate, i.e. the ratio of the proposals qualified for funding to the proposals submitted, in MAESTRO 6 approached 9 per cent.

HARMONIA 6 was another edition of the NCN’s offer extended to authors of international non-co-financed research. Under the HARMONIA scheme, Polish researchers apply for funding of research carried out in direct cooperation with a partner from a research institution abroad, within the framework of international programmes involving a number of participant countries, and projects using large-scale international research infrastructure. In the aftermath of the call, funding of ca. € 12.5 million will be given to 51 projects, among them will be research consisting of participation in the upkeep, data collection and data analysis of the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN; works on the role of visual displays and gestures in deductive reasoning; research on restoring brain functions in mice by neuronal transplantation. The recipient of the largest grant in the call was the project titled CDKG/Ph1: is there a common process that regulates genomic stability in grass species, led by dr hab. Robert Hasterok from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Silesia in Katowice: the NCN has earmarked the sum of € 472,241 for its realisation. The success rate in HARMONIA 6 equalled 14.5 per cent.

SONATA BIS 4 was addressed to researchers with a doctoral degree obtained within 2-12 months of submission of the proposal. The chief purpose of the projects carried out under this scheme is to create new research teams consisting of researchers without habilitation. Funding in SONATA BIS 4 was awarded to 57 projects, worth in total more than € 17 million. The project with the largest budget, dr Rafał Czajkowski (Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences) and his team’s The Role of the retrosplenial cortex in spatial memory and navigation, received ca. € 470,000. Other laureates will conduct research on such problems and topics as the ecological genetics of the great tit in a new, long-term population study set along a rural-urban environmental gradient, the Eurolect: an EU variant of Polish and its impact on administrative Polish, or quantum information processing with severely limited memory and communication. In the SONATA BIS 4 call 13.8 per cent of the submitted proposals were approved for funding.