The OPUS 20 +LAP, BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4, SONATA 16 and PRELUDIUM BIS 2 calls are now open

Thursday, 17 September 2020

As much as 660 million PLN have been slated for four calls targeted at researchers at different stages of their academic career. They will be able to apply for funding under OPUS 20 (including OPUS LAP), BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4, SONATA 16 and PRELUDIUM BIS 2.

The first of the newly announced calls is  OPUS 20 (including OPUS LAP)The new edition will involve a significant change, as the call will now also be open to proposals for projects carried out in the framework of LAP cooperation (LAP, Lead Agency Procedure). The call is targeted at all researchers, regardless of research seniority, planning to carry out projects without the cooperation of foreign partners, with the use of large international research equipment, or with the participation of foreign partners (including pursuant to the LAP). The Lead Agency Procedure (LAP) is a new standard used to evaluate proposals applied by the European research-funding agencies. It is meant to make it easier for international research teams to apply for funds for joint research projects and to streamline the evaluation of proposals by research-funding agencies thanks to the reliance on domestic calls harnessed for this purpose.

“The key aspect of the Lead Agency Procedure is the mutual trust between the cooperating agencies as to the quality of their proposal review”, says Professor Małgorzata Kossowska, President of the NCN Council, “This is what makes it possible for proposals that involve at least two research teams from different countries to be evaluated in a single institution, known as the lead agency. This year, this role will be taken on by the NCN”, she adds.

In OPUS 20, the LAP will rely on cooperation agreements between the NCN and the following partner institutions: FWF (the Austrian Science Fund), GAČR (the Czech Science Foundation), ARRS (the Slovenian Research Agency), DFG (the German Research Foundation), and SNSF (the Swiss National Science Foundation).

Pursuant to the cooperation agreements, the NCN, as the lead agency under OPUS 20, will perform the merit-based evaluation of OPUS LAP proposals for research projects carried out by research teams from Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, and Switzerland.

If a research project is recommended for funding, the NCN will provide funds for the Polish research team, while the other partner institutions (FWF, GAČR, ARRS, DFG or SNSF) will fund the foreign research teams. OPUS 20 is also open to funding proposals for research projects (including OPUS LAP proposals) to be carried out with the participation of partners from foreign research institutions who are not planning to apply for funding at the FWF, GAČR, ARRS, DFG or SNSF in the framework of programs organized by the NCN pursuant to the lead agency procedure. In such cases, the foreign research teams involved must seek other sources of funding.

“We would like to reassure those used to the previous format of the OPUS call that international cooperation is not obligatory under the scheme, and proposals submitted together with foreign partners will not be given preferential treatment over those that do not involve such partnerships”, adds Zbigniew Błocki, the NCN Director.

The budget of the OPUS 20 call (including OPUS LAP) amounts to PLN 450 million.

The NCN and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) also keep up their cooperation and announce the BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 4 call. The scheme continues the BEETHOVEN CLASSIC 3 call, relying on a joint merit-based review of Polish-German research proposals by Expert Teams selected by the NCN and the DFG, as well as independent experts. The call will be open to Polish-German research projects in the humanities, social sciences, and art. It is worth noting that a call for proposals for Polish-German research projects in life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering will be opened at the NCN in the framework of LAP cooperation under the OPUS 20 call. The budget of the call, organized jointly with the German Research Foundation (DFG), is PLN 10 million.

We also have the pleasure to announce a new edition of the SONATA call, targeted at researchers who earned their PhD degree 2 to 7 years prior to the submission of the proposal. The purpose of the call is to support researchers at the beginning of their career to carry out innovative basic research projects using modern research facilities and/or original methodology. Applicants can plan projects that will take 12, 24, or 36 months to complete. This year, the budget of the call equals PLN 100 million.

Last but not least, the  PRELUDIUM BIS  call is targeted at institutions operating doctoral schools. The objective of the call is to support PhD student education in doctoral schools and fund research projects carried out by PhD students as part of their doctoral dissertation. The maximum funding awarded to a single project under PRELUDIUM BIS may be as much as PLN 180,000. Research projects funded under the scheme should be carried out over a period of 36 or 48 months. The call also supports international mobility, obliging PhD students to complete a 3 to 6-month foreign research fellowship funded by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA). The budget of the call is PLN 100 million.

Proposals in all the four calls can be submitted until 4 pm on 15 December 2020 via the OSF electronic system.