Announcement of the IdeaLab call ‘Managing threats’

17 June 2019

The Scientific Coordinators announce the IdeaLab call for ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research projects targeting social challenges facing European societies now and in the future, financed from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. This IdeaLab call is for projects addressing the topic ‘Managing threats’. The IdeaLab call is part of the Basic Research Programme operated by the National Science Centre under the EEA and Norway Grants and is prepared in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway. The programme has allocated €4,434,011 for projects developed at the IdeaLab.

Individual application for participation in the IdeaLab workshop is the first stage of the call procedure. Applications may be filled solely electronically using the Participant’s application form, available at

The application for participation submission deadline is August 19, 2019, 24.00 CEST.

Please read the call documents provided in this announcement.


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Who is invited to apply?

You are invited to apply if you:

  • have a master’s degree (or equivalent) or a PhD*;
  • are or will be affiliated during the project implementation period with an organisation established as a legal person in Poland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein;
  • are interested in pursuing collaborative research between institutions from these countries;
  • are fluent in English;
  • are ready to participate for the whole week of 21-25 October 2019 in an IdeaLab workshop in Poland.

in addition you should:

  • be interested in developing and carrying out a research project concerning social challenges and involving specialists from various fields – humanities, social sciences as well as life and physical sciences and engineering;
  • enjoy stepping outside your area of expertise or interest, are positively driven, enjoy creative activity, can think innovatively, are keen on team work and have good communication skills;
  • be eager to engage in the innovative formula of the IdeaLab call.

*During the IdeaLab workshop projects will be created and partnerships will be formed among the Participants. Workshop Participants may become Principal Investigators in projects if they have at least a PhD and are or will be affiliated with a Polish research organisation during the project implementation period.



The overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants are to contribute to the reduction of economic and social disparities in Europe and to strengthen relations between Poland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The main objective of the Basic Research Programme implemented by the National Science Centre, is enhanced research-based knowledge development. Basic research should be understood as ‘experimental or theoretical endeavours undertaken to gain new knowledge of the foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any direct commercial use’. Projects which generate new solutions or social innovations are warmly welcomed, but the project grants will not support activities such as commercialisation, development or enhancement of products or any other direct commercial use.

The Programme will support bilateral or multilateral research projects involving Participants from both Poland on the one side, and Norway and/or Iceland and/or Liechtenstein on the other. The objective of this support is to foster long-term strategic partnerships and increased participation in Horizon Europe.


IdeaLab topic: Managing threats

Challenges arising from the complex processes of our times, such as globalisation, technological change (for example, the increasing use of robots, artificial intelligence, gene editing), issues of environment and climate change, demographic change, major waves of migration, geopolitical instability and many others, bring with them uncertainties (implying threats and, in some cases, opportunities) that European societies have to face**.

Globalisation has brought new opportunities and resources; it has also proven conducive to major migratory movements, undermined environmental sustainability and brought with it economic and social-political instability. Humankind appears to be losing the race with climate change caused by us, and there is a growing sense of helpless inertia from doing too little, too late. Basic democratic norms and the integrity and liberty of the individual are challenged by major waves of populist, collectivist (nationalist and religious) and authoritarian assaults. New communication technologies have created a highly inclusive, yet complex and compartmentalized global public sphere, where ‘democratization’ of information and cultural goods is accompanied by disinformation, manipulation, spread of conspiracy theories and the impairment of the social status of scientific knowledge. Automation and robots relieve the burden of heavy and hazardous physical work and routine tasks, but they put the social fabric under strain and raise questions about social organisation in the future. Novel gene editing methods allow modification of human genetic material as well as in germ cells. Rapid development in neurosciences may lead to technologies that allow human minds to be affected and even read. Thus, in an environment that is felt to be as much enabling as threatening, individual, social and institutional action is shaped by the need to respond to perceived threats and uncertainties.

It may be difficult to tell imaginary threats from real ones, but the impact of the former is no less significant than the impact of the latter. Acting in response to threats and uncertainties may be constructive, but it may also generate unfavourable outcomes, such as disorder, more uncertainty, new dilemmas and, eventually, a flight from freedom.

The objective of this IdeaLab workshop is to encourage Participants to think outside the box about the challenges outlined by the call, to find new insights and/or new knowledge that may provide the foundations for action as well as solutions offering multi-angle and interdisciplinary approaches to managing various types of threats. The event will provide an unconventional arena for Participants from a variety of backgrounds to meet and unleash new ideas supporting society today and in the future.

The IdeaLab will fund projects that:

  • respond to the challenge of the IdeaLab call, Managing threats;
  • generate new insights and/or new knowledge that may provide the foundations for action as well as solutions offering multi-angle and interdisciplinary approaches to managing various types of threat;
  • may involve solutions that require ‘something to happen’ – typically an intervention by public authorities so that the projects shall be expected to comprise well-thought-through strategies and expertise for making ‘that’ happen;
  • represent an interdisciplinary perspective involving specialists from various fields – humanities, social, life and natural sciences as well as engineering;
  • create links between science and the public through the involvement of the public sector, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders;
  • will make their results openly available in internationally refereed high-quality journals, in line with the open access policy of the programme.

**ESPAS report ‘Global trends to 2030. Challenges and choices for Europe’.


The IdeaLab call procedure

The IdeaLab procedure is used to select research projects for funding. The procedure consists of three stages.

First stage: individual application for participation in the IdeaLab workshop using the Participant’s application formsubmission deadline August 19, 2019, 24.00 CEST

An international Panel of Experts shall select workshop Participants by the end of September 2019.

Second stage: IdeaLab workshop in Poland – October 21-25, 2019

  • development of project ideas together with other workshop Participants and forming of research groups, including assignment of the future Principal Investigators;
  • elaboration of project ideas by the above research groups led by the future Principal Investigators using the project-idea formsubmission deadline October 24, 2019, 21:00 CEST;
  • presentation of the project ideas to the Panel of Experts and evaluation by the Panel;
  • list of the assessment of project ideas is available at the end of the workshop.

Third stage: submission of the full-proposal form by the applicant, i.e., the Polish research organisation with which the Principal Investigator is or will be affiliated during the project implementation – submission deadline December 16, 2019, 24.00 CET

The Panel of Experts reviews consistency of the full proposal with the project idea developed during the workshop and any recommendations. The ranking list is prepared with the involvement of the Basic Research Programme Committee.

By the end of March 2020, the final funding decisions with regard to the project grants will be taken by the Director of the National Science Centre.


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