POLONEZ BIS 1 - Webinar for Applicants

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 13:01
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Who can apply for the POLONEZ BIS fellowship? Is there any conflict in applying for POLONEZ BIS and other funding programmes at the same time? Can the NCN provide help in finding a host institution?

We will answer these and many other questions during the Q&A webinar for researchers interested in applying in the first POLONEZ BIS call.

The event will take place on 26 October (Tuesday) at 1:00 pm (CEST). The webinar will be held in English via the Clickmeeting platform.

Prior to the webinar we are kindly asking you to get familiar with the POLONEZ BIS 1 call documentation.

In order to take part in the webinar, you have to register here.

The webinar will be available on YouTube after the event. To learn more about the POLONEZ BIS programme visit its official website.

 

Pre-announcement of the CHIST-ERA Call 2021

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 11:45
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The CHIST-ERA Call 2021, to be published by the end of October or beginning of November 2021, will target research in the following topics:

  1. Nano-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (NOEMS) for ICT,
  2. Foundations for Misbehaviour Detection and Mitigation Strategies in Online Social Networks and Media.

The project consortia must have a minimum of 3 eligible and independent partners requesting funding in at least 3 different countries participating it the call. The national eligibility criteria will be defined by each participating funding agency.

Further details of the coming call, including the list of countries and funding organisations which have shown preliminary interest in participating in the Call 2021, as well as topics description and call timeline can be found at CHIST-ERA website

Please note that this pre-announcement is for information purposes only. It does not create any obligation for the CHIST-ERA consortium, nor for any of the participating funding organisations. The official call announcement, to be published later, shall prevail.

Social norms, tolerance and history in the research of BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4 winners

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 12:02

Various norms define our social behaviour and determine the way in which we are expected to act in any given situation. The rules that govern the behaviour of men and women have differed widely since times immemorial, and even though nowadays such attitudes are changing, traditional (and often oppressive) divisions are still deeply entrenched, still going strong.

This issue has attracted the attention of Dr hab. Iga Magda. The scholar will analyse the relationship of said norms with decisions concerning the participation of men and women in childcare and the labour market. Together with her team, she will look at different households to see whose beliefs about male and female roles prevail in decisions concerning parental leave and women’s professional activities. She will also examine the situations in which men and women take actions consistent with the norms that they openly declare, and those in which their actions contradict them. Importantly, the project will be set in a comparative perspective, so as to test whether contradictions between declared beliefs and actions are greater in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe than in the Western part of the continent. Entitled Social norms and the situation of men and women in the labour market, the project was awarded more than 460,000 PLN in funding.

An important aspect of society has to do with the issues of tolerance. Dr Aleksandra Świderska will look into the basic characteristics of hate speech and its impact on listeners. Her team proposes to create an audio database of hate speech to study its acoustic, linguistic and paralinguistic properties. Dr Świderska expects that, when presented in the form of a recording, hate speech will elicit stronger emotional reactions; it will thus be more difficult to get used to than its textual equivalents. She plans to examine the psychophysiological and behavioural activity of research subjects (e.g. skin, heart and brain activity) in reaction to various modifications in content, presentation method and response options. Entitled Hate speech: from automatic classification to an understanding of the emotional dynamics, the project received a total grant of more than 437,000 PLN.

The subject of tolerance will also be addressed by Dr hab. Maciej Ptaszyński within the framework of a project entitled Explaining tolerance: conceptions, texts and intermediaries between Poland and Protestant Germany (1645-1795). The scholar will ponder the phenomenon of religious tolerance in a historical context. Tolerance is lauded today as one of the greatest achievements of the modern era. Research thus far has understood it either as an idea developed by intellectual elites or as a practice of co-existence followed by the acolytes of various religions and denominations living in a single territory. The project aims to propose a new understanding of the phenomenon; it will look at tolerance as an outcome of the politics and broadly conceived diplomatic relations between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Brandenburg-Prussia in the 17th and 18th centuries. Prof. Ptaszyński’s team proposes to study the evolution of the concept and the features of a “tolerant state”, the ways in which a state projects an image of tolerance and promotes it in the public sphere, as well as the social and political consequences of being known as a tolerant state. The project was awarded a budget of nearly 489,000 PLN.

The fourth edition of BEETHOVEN CLASSIC qualified 15 researchers to receive funding for projects in the field of the arts, humanities and social sciences.

BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4 ranking list

BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4 is a scheme open to projects in arts, humanities and social sciences carried out by Polish-German research teams. It continues the BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 3 call, relying on cooperation with the German agency Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). It is based on a joint procedure, whereby the two partner agencies have performed a joint merit-based review of research proposals to select the successful projects together.

The grant can go towards funding research team salaries and scholarships for students and PhD candidates, purchasing or generating research equipment, as well as other costs related to the Polish part of the project.

This was the last edition of the BEETHOVEN call. Starting in 2021, BEETHOVEN will be replaced with Weave, a scheme targeted at Polish-German research projects in all disciplines of science.

Today, we will dispatch all positive and negative decisions for calls submitted under BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4. Please remember that the decisions of the NCN Director are sent electronically to the address indicated in the proposal.

If the applicant is an entity mentioned in art. 27 (1)-(7) and (9) of the Act on the NCN, the decision will only be delivered to the Electronic Inbox (ESP ePUAP) provided in the proposal.

The funding decisions of the Director of the National Science Centre are also communicated to the principal investigator.

If you do not receive a decision, please make sure that the address (ESP, ePUAP, e-mail) listed in your proposal is correct. If not, contact the person in charge of the proposal, as indicated in the ZSUN/OSF system.

New laureates of MINIATURA 5 call

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 13:30
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Before long, 130 more researchers from research centres throughout Poland will embark on their preliminary research, pilot studies, library research, research fellowships and study trips thanks to the funding awarded by the NCN under the MINIATURA 5 scheme. The total budget of all newly selected research activities stands at nearly 5 million PLN.

Some of the qualified projects will tackle women’s themes, e.g. the images of femininity in masculinised work environments on the example of female professionals in selected uniformed services (police, prison service and border guard). Others will look into medicine and study, e.g. the impact of vitamin D on the action of molecular-targeted drugs in the human melanoma model, or tackle the social repercussions of COVID-19, e.g. professional burnout and job commitment among nurses in the final phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. A complete list of subjects addressed by all the qualified research activities is included with the ranking list.

Funding awarded under individual panels:

  • arts, humanities and social sciences: 39 activities with a total budget of 919,889 PLN
  • physical sciences and engineering: 45 activities with a total budget of 1,731,116 PLN
  • life sciences: 46 activities with a total budget of 2,185,628 PLN

Ranking list

About MINIATURA

The objective of the MINIATURA call is to finance individual research activities conducted for the purposes of preparing a future research project to be submitted under an NCN call or other domestic and international calls for proposals. The fifth edition offered grants from 5,000 to 50,000 PLN for research activities lasting up to 12 months. The call was open to researchers who earned their PhD no earlier than on 1 January 2009, have never conducted an NCN-funded research project, and whose scientific achievements include at least one published paper or at least one artistic achievement or achievement in research in art. The total budget of MINIATURA 5 was 22 million PLN; proposals were accepted until the end of September. They are assessed by experts within 4 months from submission and new ranking lists of qualified projects are published every month.

Decisions

Today, we will dispatch positive and negative decisions for calls submitted under MINIATURA 5 in July. Please remember that the decisions are sent electronically to the ESP ePUAP address indicated in the proposal. If you do not receive a decision, please make sure that the ESP address listed in your proposal is correct. If not, contact the person in charge of the proposal, as indicated in the ZSUN/OSF system.

Infrared radiation research by a CEUS-UNISONO winner

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 13:15
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In the last decade, new challenges have come up in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and materials processing, which require the use of high-class specialized equipment.

Scientists who do research in medicine or work with a variety of materials today employ the incredibly useful femtosecond (1 fs equals 10-15 s) laser sources. Lasers of this kind allow scientists to uncover new and surprising ways in which atoms and molecules interact and shed light even on those that have been difficult to study thus far because of their fast motion (the sensitivity of the human eye is around 0.4-0.7 µm, while the range used in diagnostics and materials excitation is found at 2-6 µm, i.e. in the mid-infrared range).

Developing a new, faster diagnostic technique using mid-infrared waves is the task set before research teams from Poland and Austria, headed by Prof. Dr hab. inż Ryszard Robert Buczyński from the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Warsaw, within the framework of a CEUS-UNISONO grant. The winner was recommended by the Austrian FWF agency.

The purpose of the project is to employ this new and relatively inexpensive form of light in materials science and engineering and, prospectively, in the life sciences and medical diagnostics (instead of X-ray or magnetic resonance systems).

The 2021 CEUS-UNISONO call is now closed. Altogether, it attracted 78 proposals, 15 out of which, with a total budget of nearly 16.5 million PLN, were recommended for funding. The success rate was 19%.

The CEUS programme is organized by the NCN based on the Lead Agency Procedure (LAP) in cooperation with research-funding agencies from several countries, such as Austria (FWF), Slovenia (ARRS) and the Czech Republic (GAČR). Its purpose is to fund basic research projects in all disciplines of science, carried out by research teams from two or three CEUS-participating countries. More details about the CEUS-UNISONO call can be found here.

CEUS-UNISONO ranking lists

Climate change research by a CEUS-UNISONO winner

Tue, 10/12/2021 - 09:14
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The climate of our planet is constantly evolving. In the context of the recent acceleration of climate change, it is particularly important to understand the factors that affect it, and in order to do so, scientists are studying surface karst structures known as solution pipes.

Solution pipes are formed as limestone rocks are dissolved by carbonic acid (water saturated with carbon dioxide) and humic acids produced through the decay of organic matter in the soil. An attempt to discover the relationship between the shape of solution pipes and the climate conditions under which they formed is at the heart of a project conducted by Prof. Dr hab. Piotr Aleksander Szymczak from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, entitled “Solution pipes as new paleoclimate proxies”. The project won more than 1.2 million PLN under the CEUS-UNISONO scheme.

The research will involve a team of Polish physicists and Slovenian geomorphologists. The former will use numerical simulations and lab experiments to try to identify relationships between different environmental factors and the features of solution pipes. The latter, on the other hand, will carry out field studies of existing structures of this kind so as to be able to draw conclusions about the paleoclimate. These will then be compared with the results of other paleoclimate reconstruction techniques. An important role in the research programme will be played by lab experiments, designed to test various theoretical models of the formation of solution pipes, which will also provide a benchmark for the validation of numerical simulations.

The CEUS programme is organized by the NCN in cooperation with research-funding agencies from many countries, based on the Lead Agency Procedure (LAP). Its purpose is to fund basic research projects in all disciplines of science, carried out by research teams from two or three CEUS-participating countries. More details about the CEUS-UNISONO call can be found HERE.

CEUS-UNISONO ranking lists

Polish researchers among the winners of the international Forest Value Joint Call 2021

Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:15
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The Forest Value network has awarded funding to 8 new research projects covering the following call topics:

1. Sustainable and multifunctional use and management of forests, to maximize their contribution to all SDGs;

2. Building with wood from various perspectives;

3. Analysis of benefits, synergies and trade-offs in the use of forest biomass.

The total budget of the awarded projects amounts to 9,2 M EUR.

Projects with Polish researchers awarded within the Forest Value Joint Call 2021:

LEARNFORCLIMATE: Learning to realize multiple forest policy objectives under climate related stress and disturbance. Polish applicant - Group of entities: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Leader of the Group), University of Agriculture in Kraków. Polish Principal Investigator: dr Krzysztof Niedziałkowski. The project will involve research teams from Germany, Slovenia and Sweden.

BarkBuild: Tree bark as a renewable source of wood protection materials for building applications. Polish applicant - Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Polish Principal Investigator: dr hab. eng. Grzegorz Marek Kowaluk. The project will involve research teams from Finland, Latvia, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden.

The implementation of research projects funded within the Call will start at the beginning of 2022.

More information and the full list of the projects recommended for funding can be found at: Forest Value website.

The NCN Award goes to outstanding young researchers

Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:35
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“Even though we are now living in an era of digital reality and conquering of outer space, research into the human past is still needed and important. This award confirms me in my belief that my work matters and has an audience”, says Dr Paweł L. Polkowski, one of the winners of the 2021 NCN Award.

The NCN Award is given to young researchers from Polish research centres in three categories. Dr Paweł L. Polkowski, an archaeologist employed at the Archaeological Museum in Poznań and the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, won an award for his work in arts, humanities and social sciences. The winner for life sciences was Dr hab. Sebastian Glatt from the Malopolska Centre for Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University, while Professor Jonatan Gutman from the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences triumphed in physical sciences and engineering.

The ceremony was held on 6 October in the Gallery of 19th-century Polish Art in the Sukiennice. The statuettes and diplomas were also handed out to last year’s winners: Professor Jakub Growiec, Professor Wojciech Fendler, and Dr hab. Michał Tomza. In 2020, the awards ceremony did not take place due to the pandemic situation.

Event announcement

2020 winner profiles

Research into petroglyphs

Dr Paweł L. Polkowski studies the rock art of Egypt and Sudan, as well as other issues related to iconography, landscape and theory in archaeology. He ranks as one of the most competent researchers of North African rock art in the world.

He has run a mission known as The Petroglyph Unit of the Dakhleh Oasis Project which studies petroglyphs in the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt, since 2016, and has stood at the head of the Dakhleh Oasis Project for more than a year now. With a history spanning over 40 years, the latter project combines a number of research missions that look into various aspects of the oasis and the Egyptian Western Desert in general.

Petroglyphs are figurative representations on rocks and boulders, created with techniques such as carving or picquetage. They were created inside the oasis, as well as in the surrounding Western Desert, over thousands of years. The most important aspect of Dr Polkowski’s research, in his own words, involves “an attempt to weave rock art into a broader narrative of the past landscape of the oasis”. “My research shows that the meaning and function of rock art varied between different periods. My job is to consider the role of this creative endeavour in the process of transmitting knowledge about the world and to study the ontological status of rock art and the creatures that it depicts. I also look into the rock carvings of the Pharaonic period, many of which were created by people travelling across the desert”, he explains.

Dr Polkowski has won three NCN grants, a scholarship awarded by the Municipal Office of Poznań to young researchers from the local research community (2013) and a scholarship for outstanding young researchers granted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2018-2020).

Groundbreaking results in dynamical systems

Prof. Jonatan Gutman works in dynamical systems theory, especially topological dynamics and ergodic theory. He won the NCN Award for a collection of six extensive papers published between 2019 and 2021, which addressed a series of problems on the borderline between dynamical systems theory, ergodic theory and classical topology. His results, especially those concerning the optimal dimensions for embedding dynamical systems into Hilbert cubes and the theory of nilspace structures, are now considered as groundbreaking. As specified in the nomination, the problems tackled by Professor Gutman “aroused active interest among top, world-class mathematicians, and their proposed solution deserves great recognition”.

Prof. Gutman has been affiliated with the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences since 2010. “The robust Polish community of mathematicians who work in the field of dynamical systems has always been a source of inspiration for me”, he says. He studied at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Stanford University and earned his PhD at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, followed by a postdoctoral degree (habilitation) at the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He also completed numerous postdoctoral fellowships, including at Cambridge and Oxford, and won two NCN grants.

“The movement of balls on a billiards table, the motion of gas particles in a container and the evolution of stock price in the stock market are all examples of dynamical systems. To analyse systems in mathematics, we first need to create abstract models. This means some information must be kept and some discarded. For example, we need to decide whether we want to represent a gas particle as a point, a sphere or a more complex structure. By discarding certain data that describe the real world, mathematicians are able to see the ‘general picture’ and discover universal principles”, he explains.

Team award

“My research group specializes in studying the three-dimensional structure of proteins and nucleic acids with the aid of cryoelectron microscopy and crystallography. Distinctions such as the NCN Award may be received individually, but they are always won by team effort”, says Dr hab. Sebastian Glatt. Peers who nominated him for the award listed as many as four achievements: Dr hab Glatt discovered the spatial structure and mechanism of action of the elongator protein complex, described the mechanism of tRNA modification by the elongator complex, defined the structural and functional features of eukaryotic tRNA-modifying complexes, described the structure and function of their components and established a link between their mutations and the risk of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr hab. Sebastian Glatt completed his studies and earned his PhD at the University of Vienna. He then conducted research at the European Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Heidelberg. Since 2015, he has worked at MCB UJ and headed the Cryo-EM lab team at the National Centre of Cryoelectron Microscopy. He has initiated a fruitful cooperation with researchers from other centres in Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia.

Glatt has won many grants, including the ERC Consolidator Grant, the EMBO Installation Grant, two NCN grants and the First Team and TEAM-TECH Core Facility FNP. His research results have been published in Nature Communications, Nature Structural Molecular Biology, Genes & Dev, Nature and Cell, to name but a few.

This year, more than 600 researchers were eligible to nominate candidates for the NCN Award from among researchers born in and after 1980. There were 71 nominations in total. The winners will receive an award of 50 thousand PLN each.

Copernicus Center lectures

2020 and 2021 NCN Award winners will deliver lectures for the general public, organized by the National Science Centre in cooperation with the Copernicus Center, which will be available for viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/user/CopernicusCenter. The first lecture is scheduled for 20 October; the other two will follow in November and December.

The awards ceremony was held under the auspices of Nauka w Polsce PAP and Forum Akademickie.

NCN 2020 and 2021 Award gala

 

NCN Award 2020 and 2021

Mon, 10/04/2021 - 13:21

On 6 October 2021 Prof. Jakub Growiec, Prof. Wojciech Fendler and Dr hab. Michał Tomza will receive the 2020 NCN Award and the of the 2021 NCN Award will be announced.

Nagroda NCN

 

The Award of the National Science Centre is a distinction for young researchers, awarded for significant achievements in basic research carried out in Poland. It has been awarded since 2013 in three areas: Arts, Humanities, Social and Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering. In 2020, the winners were Prof. Jakub Growiec, Prof. Wojciech Fendler and Dr hab. Michał Tomza, however due to the pandemic situation, the award ceremony could not have taken place. The researchers will receive their statuettes on 6 October at the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art at Sukiennice. On the same day, the winners of the 2021 NCN Award will also be announced. The event will begin at 6pm and will be streamed online.

Prof. Jakub Growiec of the Warsaw School of Economics is the author of advanced research on economic growth, particularly considering the role played in it by technological progress and human capital. “Despite the turmoil of the pandemic, I have tried to maintain my usual work rhythm over the past year. I have managed to publish three scientific articles in international journals and have started another NCN grant in which I am one of the main investigators”, says the researcher. His articles included a theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of the transition from partial to full automation of production processes, which may revolutionise the world economy in the future. He also co-authored an article estimating the contribution of immigration from Ukraine to economic growth in Poland in recent years.

 Prof. Wojciech Fendler from the Medical University of Lodz was awarded last year for his significant results in research on microRNAs as biomarkers of accidental exposure to ionising radiation and complications of radiotherapy. In his study, he showed that specific microRNA molecules identifiable in serum were indicative of irreversible damage to the bone marrow by ionising radiation. As the researcher points out, the constraints of the pandemic and the transfer of classes to the internet have limited scientific opportunities. “Most of our activities take place in front of a computer screen, but interactions with other team members are very important. However, we were able to finalise a project on predicting prognosis in bladder cancer and complications of radiotherapy in head and neck cancers. I believe that the most interesting thing is yet to come and by the end of 2021 we will have something to boast about again”, he says.

Dr hab. Michał Tomza from the University of Warsaw was recognised in 2020 for his theoretical description of the interactions between ultracold atoms, ions and molecules. “The award has motivated me to continue to work hard and develop my research group. Continuing the theme for which I was awarded, I managed to go one step further and together with my students and an experimental group, this time from Freiburg, we realised for the first time the quantum control of ultra-cold collisions between a single ion and atoms using a magnetic field”, explains the award winner.

The profiles of the winners and video footage of them were presented in the 2020 text.

The NCN Award is PLN 50,000. Laureates are selected by the Chapter, which includes the Director and members of the NCN Council and representatives of the funders. Last year, the award in Physical Sciences and Engineering was sponsored by KGHM Polska Miedź Foundation, in Life Sciences by Adamed Pharma S.A., whiles INGLOT Sp. z.o.o. co-sponsored the award in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The winners of the 2021 NCN Award will be announced at a ceremony on 6 October. Over 600 researchers could nominate candidates for the Award. They could nominate researchers born after 1980. A total of 71 people were nominated.

The agenda of the event in the Sukiennice will include speeches by six prize-winners and a concert by Piotr Wiese.

The media patronage over the event was taken by Science in Poland, PAP and the Academic Forum.

Previous winners of the NCN Award.

Science is about people

Mon, 10/04/2021 - 12:58
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“NCN gave me support and a credit of confidence. If they had not believed in me three years ago, I would not have won the ERC grant”, emphasises Dr hab Valentina Lepri in a reportage on NCN's 10th anniversary celebrations.

Over the decade of the National Science Centre’s activities, we have announced 200 calls and awarded over 23,000 grants. We have allocated almost PLN 11 billion for their implementation. Grants have enabled thousands of researchers to carry out ambitious projects, fellowships and scientific activities resulting in important discoveries, significant results and numerous national and global successes.

In the second material produced on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the National Science Centre, researchers talk about their projects and successes, and share their valuable reflections:

Fot. Michał ŁepeckiFot. Michał Łepecki Thanks to a grant in the SONATA 8 call, Dr hab Urszula Stachewicz was able to purchase her first electroplating machine. “The advantage of these electrospun membranes is their high porosity, more than 90%, in addition to which we have a very high active surface area, which can be functionalized and helps, for example, in the process of wound healing or bone tissue regeneration”, emphasises Prof. Stachewicz. It was this project that led her to come up with innovative ideas for further research and to form a group working on polymer fibres for various applications.

In her scientific projects, Dr hab Magdalena Winiarska tries to find different ways to fight cancer cells. “My team and I are trying to find ways to fight cancer cells. For this we want to use the immune system of patients who have cancer. We have been able to identify and learn about certain pathways and drugs that may interfere with the action of antibodies that recognise the CD20 antigen. I am very proud of this research because we were the first in the world to show these interactions”, says Prof. Winiarska. This research was funded by the first grant of the researcher received in the OPUS 4 call

The work of Dr hab Paweł Gancarczyk involves studying medieval manuscripts and musical prints and extracting information about the musical past. Thanks to this kind of research, today we can hear what music sounded like in the late Middle Ages and early modern times.

We invite you to watch the film and find out more about the research conducted by researchers and the initiatives undertaken by NCN. You can also read about the researchers' projects in our anniversary publication.