The NCN to contribute over € 75 million to basic research

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The National Science Centre has concluded the SONATA 13, SONATA BIS 7, MAESTRO 9 and HARMONIA 9 calls for proposals. A total of € 75,717,281 has been awarded to researchers at the beginning of their career as independent scholars, as well as to researchers forming research teams and to those who work on groundbreaking projects.

The calls have seen submissions of 1,234 research projects, of which 301 have been recommended for funding. The success rate for SONATA, SONATA BIS and HARMONIA has been 25%. Selection under the MAESTRO call was more restrictive, with funding granted to 13% of the submitted projects.

MAESTRO 9, SONATA 13, SONATA BIS 7 and HARMONIA 9 are the first funding opportunities to which cost eligibility modifications shall apply.

We want to meet the needs of the research community and gradually introduce improvements in the process of implementing research projects. That is why, starting from the calls concluded today, the costs incurred in the project will qualify as eligible from the day the funding decision becomes fully valid, in contrast to the former arrangement where eligibility started from the day the funding agreement was signed, said prof. Zbigniew Błocki, director of the NCN.Since we continuously seek to create a fully modern grant system, we have adopted a number of other changes facilitating the procedure of submitting proposals and the implementation of projects.

SONATA 13 is a funding opportunity for holders of a doctorate degree awarded within 2 to 7 years of applying. Its objective is to support researchers embarking on an independent research career in conducting innovative research using state-of-the-art equipment and original methodologies. Under the recent edition, 607 projects have been submitted, of which 151 have been selected for funding. The projects will receive a total sum of nearly € 21.57 million. One of the awarded projects is a study by dr Ireneusz Sadowski of the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. Titled Three Generations of Poland’s Transformation and supported with funding of € 92,770, the project will analyse social transformations using a cohort perspective.

SONATA BIS 7 is a call for research projects seeking to establish new research teams. Eligible principal investigators of the newly established groups are those who have been awarded a doctorate within 5 to 12 years before the year of grant application. Funding of more than € 35.9 million will be distributed among 86 of the 388 submitted projects. One of the new teams established under the SONATA BIS 7 scheme will be headed by dr Monika Dering of the Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences. The researchers will attempt a reconstruction of the evolutionary history of forests in the Caucasus. The project, which will include a comparative phylogeographic study of six tree species, will receive € 324,698.

MAESTRO 9 is addressed to advanced researchers willing to carry out groundbreaking research, surpassing the current state of the art. A principal investigator in a MAESTRO project may be a researcher with publications in quality scientific journals, having served as principal investigator to other research projects financed on a competitive basis, who is active in the research community, e.g. in scientific committees of international conferences or international associations. In the 9th edition of the call, funding has been awarded to 11 out of the 87 submitted projects. The budget will exceed € 9 million. Among the eminent researchers awarded in MAESTRO is dr hab. Marcin Nowotny of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. His structural investigations of the mechanism of bacterial DNA repair will be supported with nearly € 1 million.

Proposals submitted under the HARMONIA 9 call have provided for research projects carried out in international cooperation: in direct collaboration with a partner from abroad as well as under international programmes for bi- and multilateral endeavours; also eligible were projects carried out by Polish research teams using large-scale international research infrastructure. HARMONIA’s ninth edition has seen the submission of 202 projects, of which 53 will be granted funding worth almost € 9.28 million. The winning proposals include a project by a team led by dr Mikołaj Winiewski of the University of Warsaw. The Polish researchers will join forces with their German colleagues at the Bielefeld University, investigating the sources of negative stereotypes of groups perceived as hostile. The study will feature a comparison of Polish and German anti-Roma and anti-Semitic prejudices. The research will have the budget of ca € 232 thousand.

Ranking lists of all projects recommended for funding under the SONATA 13, SONATA BIS 7, MAESTRO 9 and HARMONIA 9 calls are available on the National Science Centre’s website.