Dr hab. Michał R. Szymański from the University of Gdańsk is currently in charge of a project funded under NCN's POLONEZ 2, while Dr Rafał Banka from the Jagiellonian University is conducting research within the framework of SONATA 12. Yesterday, the two researchers received prestigious Starting Grants awarded by the European Research Council.
The Polish scientists are among 400 researchers from all over the world, who will receive research grants of up to 1.5 million euro. The call is targeted at independent researchers with a solid research record, 2 to 7 years after their PhD defence; their projects may take a maximum of 5 years to complete. Winning an ERC grant is a great honour since the mission of the ERC is to fund ground-breaking, pioneering research and the only assessment criterion is scientific excellence. A full list of winners can be found at the ERC website.
Dr hab. Szymański studies the molecular basis for DNA damage recognition and repair in human mitochondria, which in the future may prove pivotal for understanding a wide range of mitochondrial diseases. Funded by the ERC, his research aims to construct a structural model to represent the activity of the mitochondrial repairosome. Entitled Dissecting the Mechanism of DNA Repair in Human Mitochondria, the project will receive 1.5 million euro worth of funding. More details about the research can be found here. In 2017, thanks to a grant awarded under the POLONEZ 2 call, Mr Szymański was able to start his research work in Poland at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of UG&MUG.
The other Polish grantee, Dr Rafał Banka from the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilizations at the Jagiellonian University, is involved in a project entitled Mereological Reconstruction of the Metaphysical System in the Daodejing. Dr Banka seeks to provide insights into Chinese and comparative philosophy, as well as contemporary Chinese art and aesthetics. In a project funded from the NCN resources under the SONATA 12 call, he studied the aesthetics of Li Zehou as a form of cognition. His aim was to analyse the context of the aesthetics of the Chinese philosopher and his theory, focusing on its understanding of the subject, beauty, as well as the aesthetic process and experience.
Projects funded within the framework of this year's Starting Grant will be conducted in 24 countries. The largest number of grants were awarded to Germany (73), Great Britain (64) and the Netherlands (53). The successful researchers come from 51 different countries. Out of 3106 submitted proposals, 408 were recommended for funding to a total amount of 621 million euro.