30 July 2021

The National Science Centre (“NCN”) in partnership with the Solar-Driven Chemistry network invites proposals for funding of international research projects under the Solar-Driven Chemistry Call 2021.

Solar-Driven Chemistry is a network of European research-funding agencies founded in 2018 at the initiative of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) from Germany. The network launches international calls for research projects in the area of photochemical reactions initiated by the sunlight. The topics covered by the call include photochemical transformation of small molecules, such as water, carbon dioxide or nitrogen into more valuable, storable chemicals by means of solar radiation.

 Proposals may be submitted by international consortia composed of at least two research teams from at least two countries participating in the call, i.e. Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland or Turkey. The principal investigator of the Polish research team must be at least a PhD holder.

Please note: Bilateral cooperation must not be planned by research teams from Poland and Germany only or from Poland and Switzerland only. Researchers interested in such cooperation are advised to read the Weave-UNISONO call portfolio.

Call Stages:

The call is divided into two stages. In the first stage, joint pre-proposals are submitted. The best research teams are then invited to submit their joint full proposals in the second stage of the call.

Call for Proposals:

  • First stage:

    Joint pre-proposals are submitted to DFG’s “elan” submission system onlyAt this stage, Polish applicants submit no documents to NCN.

    Submission deadline for joint pre-proposals in the “elan” system: October 29, 2021 (23:59 CET)

  • Second stage:

    Joint full proposals are submitted to DFG’s “elan” submission system.

    Submission deadline for joint full proposals in the “elan” system: May 2, 2022 (23:59 CEST)

    In addition, principal investigator of the Polish research team must draft their NCN proposal for the Polish part of the project in the ZSUN/OSF submission system. NCN proposals must be submitted to the NCN electronically via the ZSUN/OSF submission system within 7 days of the submission deadline for joint full proposals. Information in NCN proposals and joint full proposals must be consistent. Joint full proposals attached to NCN proposals must be consistent with joint full proposals submitted to the DFG’s “elan” submission system.

    Submission deadline for NCN proposals in the ZSUN/OSF submission system: May 9, 2022 (15:00 CEST)

    More information on the proposal submission procedure via DFG’s “elan” submission system can be found here.

    More information on the proposal submission procedure via NCN’s ZSUN/OSF submission system can be found here.

    PLEASE NOTE:  Failure to submit an NCN proposal to the ZSUN/OSF system by the due date, despite the submission of a joint full proposal to DFG's "elan" submission system, will result in rejection of the proposal.

Outcome of the Call:

  • November 2022: publication of the list of projects recommended for funding
  • January 2023: project start date

Research projects will be carried out over the period of either 24 or 36 months.

Participants of the call will be subject to the national eligibility criteria of research-funding agencies.

Under the Solar-Driven Chemistry Call 2021, Polish applicants may apply for funding to cover salaries for members of the research team, salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students, purchase or construction of research equipment and for other costs crucial to the research project.

The total funding allocated by the NCN for research tasks performed by the Polish research teams in the call is 500,000 EUR.

The EUR budget of the Polish part of the project in the joint proposal must be calculated according to the following exchange rate: 1 EUR = 4.5272 PLN.

Please read:

  • call documents of the Solar-Driven Chemistry network listed below in the Call Documents section (applicable to all applicants in the call);
  • detailed information for applicants (below) submitting NCN proposals to the NCN and annexes hereto (applicable only to researchers applying for NCN funding).

Show all»

Hide all«

Who may apply for NCN funding?

Proposals in the call may be submitted by the following entities specified in Article 27 (1) of the NCN Act (the “Applicants”):

  1. universities;
  2. federations of science and 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);
  4. research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1383);
  5. international research institutes established pursuant to other acts and acting in the Republic of Poland;
  6. Łukasiewicz Centre operating pursuant to the Act on the Łukasiewicz Research Network of 21 February 2019 (Journal of Laws 2020, item 2098);
  7. institutes operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network;
  8. Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  9. other entities involved in research independently on a continuous basis;
  10. groups of entities (at least two entities mentioned in sections 1-9 or at least one institution as such together with at least one enterprise);
  11. scientific and industrial centres laid down in the Act on Research Centres of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1383);
  12. research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences laid down in the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010;
  13. scientific libraries;
  14. companies operating as R&D centres laid down in the Act on certain forms of support for innovation activities of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 706);
  15. legal entities with registered office in Poland;
  16. natural persons;
  17. companies conducting research in other organisational form than set forth in sections 1-13.

If research projects are to be carried out by two or more Polish entities applying for NCN funding, they must set up a group of entities and as such submit NCN proposals. An NCN proposal is submitted by a leader specified in the research project cooperation agreement concluded by the group of entities. An entity employing the principal investigator acts as the leader of the group of entities.

If, pursuant to Article 27 (1) (2) of the NCN Act, Polish entities cannot set up a group of entities, they are not eligible to apply for NCN funding of a joint research project.

Who may act as a principal investigator of the Polish research team?

The principal investigator of the Polish research team must hold at least a PhD degree when submitting an NCN proposal. Additional restrictions are described in detail in Chapter IV of the Terms and regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded or co-funded under international calls launched by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

The principal investigator must be a person employed at the host institution for the entire project duration period pursuant to at least a part-time employment contract.

The principal investigator must reside in Poland for at least 50% of the project duration period. This period includes business trips necessary for the project, in particular involving fieldwork, participation in conferences and/or library and archive research.

Are there any restrictions on submitting proposals?

What are the topics covered by the call ?

The topics covered by the call include photochemical transformation of small molecules, such as water, carbon dioxide or nitrogen into more valuable, storable chemicals by means of solar radiation. The topics must be focused on the photochemical processes in general, including:

  • Research on light-converting/harvesting and charge separation issues, catalytic, electrode, membrane, etc. materials
  • Materials science and development (including high-throughput computing, ‘materials by design’ approaches, advanced characterization and in situ/operando measurements methodologies) to address performance, stability and sustainability, as long as they are used for the photochemical conversion of small molecules
  • Investigating fundamental mechanisms of catalysis, including bio-inspired, enzymatic, molecular and inorganic catalysis (understand, design and benchmark selective, fast, energy-efficient, stable and O2/poison-tolerant catalysts) and light harvesting, if focus is on photochemical conversion of small molecules
  • Heterogeneous photoelectrochemistry/photocatalysis (including surface-confined molecular systems)
  • Photo(electro)catalytic water splitting
  • Photochemical or photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction (including combined CO2 capture and conversion for instance)
  • Development of new photoactive systems if related to the general call topic
  • Reaction engineering, engineering of photoreactors and related multiscale-multiphysics approaches
  • Molecular model systems capable of direct conversion, e.g. for mechanistic studies
  • Photocatalytic conversion of organic substrates using O2, H2O and CO2 without sacrificial electron donor/acceptor

The following topics must not be covered under the call:

  • Genetic engineering of plants for this purpose
  • Conversion by living organisms
  • Biomass conversion
  • Improvement or scale-up of known technologies, such as Fischer-Tropsch, methanol, hydrogen or syngas technologies, water electrolysis, etc., unless completely new catalysts are being developed
  • Optimization of established (photo)catalytic systems
  • Standard photocatalytic reactions (e.g., catalytic reactions using UV radiation)
  • Thermal processes driven by solar energy (e.g. by concentrating solar power technologies etc.)
  • CO2 concentration and storage

NCN proposals submitted to the call must cover basic research.

NCN proposals covering research tasks overlapping tasks specified in another proposal submitted earlier under an NCN call or with respect to which an appeal has been initiated, may only be submitted after the funding decision has become final.

What is the project duration period?

Research projects may be planned in the call for a period of either 24 or 36 months.

How should the Polish budget be planned?

We recommend that Polish applicants should consult the budget table of the Polish part of the project with the NCN. To receive NCN feedback in time, please send the budget table to Przemyslaw.Puchala@ncn.gov.pl by October 15, 2021.

Creating a project budget is one of the most important aspects in the project planning which aims at identifying the required resources and estimating the costs required to perform the research tasks. The project budget must be based on realistic calculations and must comply with the guidelines provided in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO. The maximum budget of the Polish research team is not pre-determined; however, the justification of the expenses versus the scope of tasks is assessed by an international expert team.

The budget in the NCN proposal should be quoted in PLN, while the budget in the joint proposal, in EUR.

The EUR budget for the Polish part of the research project in the joint proposal must be calculated according to the following exchange rate: 1 EUR = 4.5272 PLN.

Eligible costs in the project include direct and indirect costs.

 

Direct costs include:

  1. remuneration:
  • full-time employment: funds for full-time employment of the principal investigator or post-doc(s);
  • additional salaries for members of the research team;
  • remuneration and scholarships for students and PhD students;
  1. purchase or construction of research equipment, devices and software;
  2. purchase of materials and small equipment;
  3. outsourcing;
  4. business trips, visits and consultations;
  5. compensation for collective investigators; and
  6. other costs crucial to the project.

Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of direct costs. Additionally, indirect costs of up to 2% of direct costs may be spent on open access to publications and/or research data.

Please note: remuneration of administrative staff and costs of conference organisation (rental of rooms, catering) may be financed solely as indirect expenses.

Please note: the costs of consultations and visits of collaborators from foreign research institutions that receive parallel funding of their research projects from partner research-funding agencies co-launching an international call are not deemed eligible in NCN proposals.

Please note: the cost of open access to publications may only be incurred as indirect costs. The cost of open access planned as direct costs will be regarded as a formal error.

Please note: the cost of publishing monographs resulting from research projects (for the purposes of §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) may only be incurred once positive reviewed by the NCN. 

Before creating a project budget, read the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN and carried out as the multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

In the event of unjustified costs and/or discrepancies between the costs planned for Polish research teams in the NCN proposal and the joint proposal, the proposal may be rejected.

Are there any restrictions on the maximum number of the Polish research team members?

The terms of the call do not specify the maximum number of the research team members. More information on the costs of remuneration and scholarships can be found in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN and carried out as the multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

Recipients of NCN scholarships or persons employed as post-docs in the project must be recruited in an open call procedure.

Researchers to be recruited in an open call procedure, including post-docs, must not be named in either joint or NCN proposals.

More information on the post-doc employment criteria can be found in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN and carried out as the multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

Can proposals in this call include application for state aid?

Yes, application for state aid is allowed under the call, unless funding is requested by the natural person. More information can be found in the State aid rules.

Please note: Documents related to application for state aid must bear an electronic signature in PAdES format.

What is the proposal evaluation procedure?

Joint pre-proposals and joint full proposals are subject to an eligibility check performed by the NCN, other research-funding agencies from the partner countries cooperating in the research project and the Call Secretariat, DFG.

Joint proposals approved as eligible are subject to merit-based evaluation performed by the international expert team.

NCN proposals are subject solely to an eligibility check performed by the scientific coordinators.

The eligibility check of NCN proposals involves verification of proposals for completeness, compliance with all terms set forth in the Terms and regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded or co-funded under international calls launched by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO and in the call documents, including compliance with the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO. The information provided in NCN proposals and in joint full proposals must be consistent.

Merit-based evaluation is performed in two stages.

At the first stage, joint pre-proposals undergo a preliminary evaluation based on the data included in the proposal, which consists of:

  • individual reviews drafted by two members of the expert team and
  • expert team’s verdict made in the course of discussion over individual reviews at the first meeting.

After the discussion on all pre-proposals, a longlist of research consortia invited to submit joint full proposals shall be drafted.

At the second stage, joint full proposals undergo thorough evaluation based on the data included in the proposal, which consists of:

  • individual reviews drafted by at least two external reviewers who are not members of the international expert team,
  • expert team’s verdict made in the course of discussion over individual reviews at the second meeting.

After the discussion on all full proposals, a ranking shortlist of proposals recommended for funding shall be drafted.

Joint proposals shall be evaluated pursuant to the proposal evaluation criteria that can be found in the Call for Proposals.

Who performs the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

Only joint proposals approved as eligible are subject to merit-based evaluation The merit-based evaluation is carried out by an international expert team elected jointly by the research-funding agencies participating in the call.

Open Access Policy

Together with other European cOAlition S agencies, the National Science Centre has drafted its open access policy. In accordance with its vision of open access to research results and publications, the NCN requires that all research results should be made available in 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:

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


[1] VoR is a manuscript version published in a journal with its own typeface and branding. Other terms: published version or publisher’s pdf.

[2] AAM is the final manuscript version created by the author, including all the revisions introduced after the peer review, and accepted for publication in the journal. Other terms: post print, accepted author manuscript.

When and how will the results be announced?

The call will be concluded in October/November 2022. Firstly, project leaders will be notified of the results of the call. Polish research teams will be notified by way of decisions of the NCN Director.

In the event of a breach of the call procedure or other formal infringements related to actions performed by the NCN, the applicant may appeal against the decision of the NCN Director with the Committee of Appeals of the NCN Council.

Where can additional information be found?

For more information on the call, go to the Call for Proposals. More information on the terms and regulations on awarding NCN funding can be found here.

.Should you have any more questions, please contact us by e-mail or by phone:

Useful information

Before submitting an NCN proposal:

  1. make sure that the information in and annexes to the proposal are correct. Checking the proposal for completeness in ZSUN/OSF with the Sprawdź kompletność [Check completeness] button does not guarantee that all information entered is correct and the required annexes have been attached;
  2. disable the final version of the proposal to the NCN;
  3. download the confirmation of proposal submission which must be signed by the principal investigator and authorised representative(s) of the entity;
  4. upload the signed confirmation of proposal submission.

Once the proposal is completed and all the required annexes attached, use the Wyślij do NCN [Send to NCN] button to submit the proposal to the NCN electronically via the ZSUN/OSF system.