The NCN to grant nearly € 65 million to researchers

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The NCN has made available funding worth nearly € 65 million to researchers  with a doctorate and scientists with particularly long-standing experience, who wish to conduct research projects, establish research teams, or engage in international collaboration. On 14th June, the Centre announced its new calls: SONATA 13, SONATA BIS 7, MAESTRO 9 and HARMONIA 9.

A new feature to the calls announced today is the interview with projects’ principal investigators in SONATA, SONATA BIS and MAESTRO. It may be held in English, which also makes the grants available to international researchers, a group in short supply in many Polish research centres. We are also making it a rule for the Expert Team in MAESTRO, the most prestigious among our call types, to be composed entirely of scholars based outside Poland. We hope that this will additionally improve the call's level, said professor Zbigniew Błocki, Director of the NCN.

It is the 13th time that proposals have been accepted under the SONATA funding scheme, welcoming applications from holders of a doctorate degree awarded within 2 to 7 years of applying. The call’s budget has been set at nearly € 17 million. The call’s objective is to support innovative research using state-of-the-art equipment and original methodologies. In the current edition of the call, the project’s principal investigator is required to have published (or have had accepted for publication) between one and ten papers, of which one should be attached to the project proposal.

This is already SONATA’s third consecutive edition where the principal investigator may apply to the NCN for a reduction of obligatory teaching hours by 50%. The research centre where the investigator is employed will receive funds from the NCN that will allow it to hire a substitute, allowing the principal investigator to be able to devote more time to the project itself.

SONATA BIS is a call announced to establish new research teams by researchers who have been awarded a doctorate within 5 to 12 years before the year of grant application. In this call there is also the possibility of applying for a reduction of obligatory teaching hours. The budget of the call’s 7th edition will amount to nearly € 29 million.

As in SONATA, here the project’s principal investigator is required to have published (or have had accepted for publication) academic papers. In this instance, the numbers are between three and seven. Three most important papers should be attached to the proposal.

MAESTRO is the most prestigious of NCN's calls, seeking participation from advanced researchers willing to carry out ground-breaking projects, surpassing the current boundaries of knowledge. More than € 9.5 million will be distributed among the awardees of the call’s 9th edition.

A prospective principal investigator in a MAESTRO project is a researcher with at least five papers published in quality scientific journals over the past 10 years (three of the most important papers should be attached to the proposal), has served as principal investigator to at least two projects under national or international funding opportunities, and who has otherwise been academically active.

Some of the call’s evaluation criteria have been made more specific. For a principal investigator to receive the highest possible score, it is required from them to document, among others, their participation in expert panels on international calls, a high citation rate, and an award or at least an admission of their research proposal in the second stage of an ERC funding opportunity.

This time researchers applying for this grant of excellence will face an international panel of experts even in the first stage of the merit-based evaluation. It is therefore required that, unlike in the call’s previous editions, the project’s short description be written in English.

HARMONIA, announced for the 9th time, is a call for research projects carried out as international collaboration, non-co-financed from international resources. This year, its budget will exceed € 9.5 million.

Apart from projects carried out in direct collaboration with a partner from abroad, the funding may be also given to research conducted under international programmes for bi- or multilateral collaboration, and also to Polish research teams using large-scale international research infrastructure.

Both the Polish principal investigator and the leading partner are required to back their application with 3 to 7 published (or accepted for publication) papers, of which three should be attached to the proposal. The project’s short description should be written in Polish.

The call closes on 15th September 2017, and the publication of results is scheduled for 15th March 2018. For detailed information see the National Science Centre’s webpage.