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15 September 2021

The National Science Centre (NCN) hereby announces the POLONEZ BIS 1 call for 24-month research projects carried out by incoming researchers. The purpose of the call is to help researchers develop their professional careers by supporting their international mobility and to fund ambitious research projects at the best Polish research institutions. The call is addressed to researchers who hold a PhD degree or have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience and who have not lived, studied or been employed in Poland for an uninterrupted period of over 12 months within 3 years prior to the call launch.

The fellowship budget may cover remuneration of the principal investigator and research team members, including scholarships for students and PhD students, as well as project-related costs, i.e. research equipment and small instruments, materials, outsourced services, business trips, open access to publications, etc.

NCN has allocated PLN 48 M (over € 11 M) for research projects funded under the POLONEZ BIS 1 call.

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the submission system ZSUN/OSF, available at https://osf.opi.org.pl. The proposal submission procedure is described in more detail in the document “How to complete and submit a proposal to POLONEZ BIS 1 call”.

Electronic proposals will be available in the ZSUN/OSF submission system on 22 September 2022. The deadline for submitting proposals via the ZSUN/OSF submission system is 15 December 2021 (4:00 p.m. CEST).

Please read the call documents in this call text.

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Which entities are eligible as host institutions?

A POLONEZ BIS project may be hosted by any entity specified in Article 27 (1) (1) (3)-(7) and (1) (1) (9) of the Act on the National Science Centre (NCN). These are:

  1. universities;
  2. federations of science and Higher Education (HE) entities;
  3. research institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, operating pursuant to the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1183, as amended);
  4. research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1350, as amended);
  5. international research institutes established pursuant to other acts and acting in the Republic of Poland:

5 a. the Łukasiewicz Centre operating pursuant to the Act on the Łukasiewicz Research Network of 21 February 2019 (Journal of Laws, item 534, as amended),

5 b. institutes operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network;

  1. the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  2. other entities involved in research independently on a continuous basis;
  3. scientific and industrial centres laid down in the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1350, as amended);
  4. research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences laid down in the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1183, as amended);
  5. scientific libraries;
  6. companies operating as R&D centres within the meaning of the Act on Certain Forms of Support for Innovative Activity of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1402, as amended);
  7. legal entities with their registered office in Poland; and
  8. companies conducting research in another organisational form than laid down in sections 1-12.

Who may act as the principal investigator (applicant)?

Principal investigators in the projects carried out under POLONEZ BIS 1 must be incoming researchers who are planning to conduct basic research at an institution located in Poland.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must fulfil two fundamental eligibility criteria:

  • research experience: at the date of the call launch, the PI must hold a PhD degree or have at least 4 years of documented full-time research experience;
  • mobility requirement: within the 3 years immediately before the date of the call’s launch (i.e. between 15 September 2018 and 14 September 2021) the PI must not have lived, studied or been employed in Poland for more than 12 months in total, with the exception of short holidays, time of mandatory military service or refugee procedure.

Are there any restrictions on submitting proposals for research projects under the POLONEZ BIS 1 call?

Yes, there are restrictions referring to different aspects of the proposal:

  1. No double funding: proposals that are or were funded by the NCN or from other sources must not be submitted to the call.
  2. Principal investigators: researchers cannot apply for POLONEZ BIS 1 if:
    • they were funded as POLONEZ fellows in any previous POLONEZ call;
    • within 3 years prior to the call’s launch (i.e. between 15 September 2018 and 14 September 2021), they held the role of principal investigator in a research project carried out at a Polish institution, including projects funded by the NCN;
    • they hold the role of principal investigator in any other proposal submitted to the NCN in answer to any call launched on 15 September 2021 (including POLONEZ BIS 1) or in a proposal for which a funding decision was issued and remains in legal force or in any proposal under evaluation or under appeal; d. they represent the host institution.
  3. Host Institutions: an institution cannot host the applicant if:
    • it granted the applicant the PhD degree, unless since the PhD award the applicant has completed a documented post-doctoral fellowship(s) outside Poland, lasting a total of at least 3 years, including at least one post-doctoral fellowship lasting an uninterrupted period of 12 months;
    • it has employed the applicant within 3 years before the proposal submission date (i.e. between 15 December 2018 and 14 December 2021);
    • it constitutes a group of entities;
    • it is under receivership, in liquidation or subject to bankruptcy proceedings.
  4. Mentor: on the date of the call launch (15 September 2021), the mentor must already be employed by the host institution.

Will any other restrictions apply during the POLONEZ BIS 1 funding term?

During the POLONEZ BIS 1 funding term:

  1. the host institution must employ the principal investigator for the entire funding term pursuant to a full-time employment contract, exclusively for the implementation of project research and training tasks;
  2. the principal investigator must reside in Poland for 100% of the project funding term and be available to the host institution;
  3. the principal investigator must not use any other sources of funding for his/her arrival or stay in Poland;
  4. the principal investigator must not be involved in international mobility activities during the project funding term, with the exception of the trips necessary to carry out the project research and training tasks under POLONEZ BIS 1.

What is the subject-matter of the call?

Proposals submitted to the call must involve basic research in any of 25 NCN review panels comprising three groups:

  • HS – Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • ST – Physical Sciences and Engineering;
  • NZ – Life Sciences.

What is the project duration?

Under the call, research projects may be planned for a period of 24 months. The applicant may choose to start the project on 1 September, 1 October or 1 November 2022.

What are the positions for members of the research team?

Apart from the principal investigator, research tasks in the project funded under the POLONEZ BIS 1 call may be performed by co-investigators, including:

  • a mentor;
  • students and PhD students;
  • other investigators.

The mentor must have research experience sufficient to allow for adequate supervision of the project and mentoring of the principal investigator. The host institution must employ the mentor on the date of the call launch and throughout the project funding term.

The rationale for the involvement of individual members of the research team in the project shall be evaluated by the expert team. The project must include the description of competencies and tasks to be performed by individual members of the research team.

The terms of the call do not specify the maximum number of research team members.

How can the project budget be planned?

The project budget must be well-justified as regards the subject and scope of research, based on realistic calculations and must specify the expenditures to be covered by the NCN (eligible costs). The budget must be prepared in Polish currency (PLN).

The project budget (eligible costs) includes direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs include funds for:

  1. Salary of the principal investigator: the salary paid by the host institution under the full time employment contract for the entire project funding term.

    The PI’s remuneration for the 24-month project is composed of the following:

    • living allowance - EUR 65,760;
    • mobility allowance - EUR 41,400;
    • family allowance - EUR 7,200 for PI’s whose spouse/partner and/or child/children are relocated to Poland with them for at least 3 months during the project funding term;
    • special needs allowance - EUR 4,800 for researchers with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

    The amounts above due to the principal investigator include non-wage labour costs (including health and social security coverage) and other remuneration components funded by the host institution.

    In the proposal submission system ZSUN/OSF the PI’s salary is calculated automatically based on the selected project start date. The EUR amounts are converted into PLN according to the EUR exchange rate published by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego S.A. in the first exchange rate table of 10 June 2021, where EUR 1 = PLN 4.3333.

    During the funding term, the principal investigator must not:

    • receive any other remuneration (in any form whatsoever) granted under the heading of direct costs in research projects funded under NCN calls;
    • receive any remuneration from another employer pursuant to an employment contract, including an employer with its registered office outside of Poland.
  2. Salaries of staff assigned or recruited to the project, including:
    • mentor’s salary: no more than PLN 2,000 per month;
    • salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students: no more than PLN 5,000 per person per month;
    • salaries of other co-investigators.
  3. Other direct costs of research, including:
    • costs of research equipment, devices and software: the unit cost must not exceed EUR 2,500 (PLN 10,834);
    • other direct costs of research, including materials and small laboratory, IT and office equipment (the unit cost must not exceed EUR 2,500 (PLN 10,834)), outsourced services, business trips, individual visits by and consultations with external collaborators and/or consultants, compensation for collective investigators, purchase of data/databases and specialist research papers, costs of publication of research results, costs of publication of monographs (following their positive review by the NCN);
    • costs of actions intended to promote the project and its results.

    The direct costs of the project, excluding the PI’s salary, must not exceed EUR 100,000 (PLN 433,330).

Indirect costs include:

  • indirect cost of Open Access (up to 2% of project direct costs), which may be designated only for the cost of open access to publications or research data;
  • other indirect costs (up to 20% of project direct costs), which may be spent on costs that are related indirectly to the research project, including the cost of open access to publications and research data.

If unjustified costs are planned, a proposal may be rejected.

More on costs in the POLONEZ BIS 1 research projects.

Open access publication of research results

Together with other European research-funding institutions, the National Science Centre is a member of cOAlition S. Thus, the NCN has adopted an “Open access policy” pursuant to which all research outputs stemming from NCN-funded research projects must be made available in immediate open access.

In accordance with the principles of Plan S, the National Science Centre recognizes the following publication routes as compliant with its open access policy:

  1. publication in open access journals and on open access platforms registered, or with pending registration, in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ);
  2. publication in subscription journals (hybrid journals), as long as the Version of Record (VoR) or the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is published, by the author or publisher, in an open repository immediately upon the article’s online publication;
  3. publication in journals covered by an open access licence within the framework of the so-called transformative agreements, inscribed in the Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges registry (ESAC-registry).

More information on open access publication can be found here.

Can proposals in this call include applications for state aid?

Yes, for more information, consult the State aid section.

If the project funds constitute state aid for the host institution, scholarships for students and PhD students are not eligible. Students and PhD students may still receive salaries, as indicated in the document “Costs in research projects funded by the NCN under POLONEZ BIS 1”.

Please note: All documents concerning proposals for state aid must be signed with a qualified electronic signature in the PAdES format.

What is the proposal evaluation procedure?

Proposals are subject to an eligibility check and merit based-evaluation.

The eligibility check is carried out by the scientific coordinators. Only complete proposals that meet all requirements of the call text are accepted for merit-based evaluation. A proposal may also be rejected as ineligible at the later stage of evaluation.

Eligible proposals are subject to merit-based evaluation performed in two stages:

I. preliminary evaluation performed by the expert team set up by the NCN, based on the data included in the proposal and annexes thereto, with the exception of the full project description.

Each proposal is evaluated by two members of the expert team acting independently. Then, based on the discussions, a list of proposals recommended for the second stage of evaluation is drafted by the expert team at the first meeting.

Please note: Proposals which are assigned at least one auxiliary review panel from another group of disciplines than the one to which they are submitted and which are identified by the panel chair as requiring an additional individual review shall, in well-justified cases, be subject to an additional expert review at the first stage of evaluation.

II. specialist evaluation of proposals recommended for the second stage of evaluation. Proposals are addressed to at least two external reviewers and evaluated thereby based on the data included in the proposal and annexes thereto, with the exception of the short project description. Specialist evaluation is performed in the form of:

  • individual reviews drafted by at least two reviewers who are not members of the expert team evaluating the proposal at the first stage;
  • the expert team’s verdict consisting in discussing the individual reviews; and
  • the results of an interview with the principal investigator by the experts.

An interview with the principal investigator is held at the second stage of merit-based evaluation in English by means of available telecommunication tools and is planned for April/ May 2022. Proposals involving ethical issues shall be additionally reviewed by two ethical experts who shall draft two individual reviews of the proposals in respect of the ethical issues and shall participate in the interview with the principal investigator.

During the second meeting, following the discussion on all proposals, a ranking short list of proposals recommended for funding is drafted by the expert team as well as a waiting list of proposals that may be funded if POLONEZ BIS 1 fellows funded in the call decide not to sign the funding agreement.

Additional information on the proposal evaluation procedure can be found in the Detailed procedure for evaluating proposals submitted to POLONEZ BIS.

What is reviewed in the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

In the evaluation of proposals, the following criteria shall be reviewed in particular:

  1. compliance with the criterion of basic research;
  2. quality of the research project;
  3. potential impact of the research project on the scientific discipline(s) worldwide;
  4. dissemination of the project results;
  5. qualifications and research achievements of the principal investigator;
  6. qualifications and research achievements of the mentor,
  7. scientific excellence of the host institution and appropriate choice thereof;
  8. potential impact of the project on the career development of the principal investigator;
  9. ethical issues;
  10. relevance of the planned costs to the subject and scope of the research;
  11. interdisciplinary approach of the project; proposals covering only one scientific discipline may also be funded in the call;
  12. diligence in the preparation of the proposal and compliance with other requirements of the call text.

Please note: Proposals with a zero score or “no” decision agreed by the expert team in any reviewed criterion cannot be recommended for funding. The foregoing does not apply to the data management evaluation criteria and interdisciplinary approach evaluation criteria as well as ethics issues at the first stage of merit-based evaluation.

Who performs the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

Proposals are evaluated by inter-panel teams (consisting of experts from respective panels, i.e. HZ, ST or NZ).

Proposals which are assigned at least one auxiliary review panel from another group of disciplines than the one to which they are submitted (i.e. HS, ST, NZ) may be identified by the panel chair as requiring an additional opinion from a member of another expert team.

Experts are selected by the NCN Council from among eminent Polish and foreign researchers who are at least PhD holders. Expert teams are established for each call edition. The composition of the expert team is subject to the number and thematic range of proposals submitted to each panel.

When and how shall the call results be announced?

The call results shall be announced on the NCN website and communicated to the applicants by way of a decision of the NCN Director within 6 months of the proposal submission date.

Where can additional information be found?

Find out more on the POLONEZ BIS website.

Should you have any more questions or queries, please contact us by e-mail: polonez@ncn.gov.pl.

Useful information

If you intend to submit a proposal to POLONES BIS 1, you should:

  1. read all call documents included in the call text, in particular:
  2. contact the host institution of your choice to discuss the details of the POLONEZ BIS project;
  3. obtain the host institution data required to complete the proposal and find out about the internal procedures of the host institution which may affect the proposal submission and project performance (project costs, procedure for acquiring signature(s) of authorised representative(s) of the institution to confirm proposal submission);
  4. prepare letters of acceptance from publishers confirming that papers have been accepted for publication (if the scientific achievements section includes papers accepted for publication but not yet published), documents confirming the PI’s PhD degree or at least 4 years of research experience, documents confirming the PI’s compliance with the eligibility criteria laid down in the call text and drafted pursuant to Annex 1 to NCN Council Resolution No 54/2021; and
  5. once the proposal has been drafted, obtain the administrative declaration of the host institution as required by the proposal and the mentor’s declaration that they have read the project description and agree to supervise the project and mentor the principal investigator. In the case of entities for which project funding constitutes state aid, acquire any additional information required by the proposal.

Before the proposal is submitted to NCN:

  1. check if all information in the proposal and annexes are correct. You can verify the proposal for completeness in ZSUN/OSF by pressing the Sprawdź kompletność [Check completeness] button, but this does not guarantee that all information has been entered correctly and that the required annexes have been attached;
  2. disable editing of the final version of the proposal to the NCN; and
  3. download and sign the confirmation of proposal submission.

Once the proposal is completed and all required annexes are attached, use the Wyślij do NCN [Send to NCN] button to submit the proposal to the NCN electronically via ZSUN/OSF.

After the proposal submission deadline:

  1. evaluation of proposals shall be carried out;
  2. after each stage of evaluation, the NCN Director’s decision shall be announced that the eligibility criteria have not been met, the project has not been recommended for the next stage of evaluation following the first stage of merit-based evaluation or project funding has been awarded or refused at the second stage of merit-based evaluation;
  3. if the proposal is recommended for funding, a funding agreement shall be signed; and
  4. the project’s funding term shall start on the date indicated in the proposal i.e. 1 September, 1 October or 1 November 2022.

In the event of a breach of the call procedure or other formal infringements, the applicant may lodge an appeal against the decision of the NCN Director with the Committee of Appeals of the NCN Council. The appeal must be lodged within 14 days of the effective service of the decision.

Call documents:

  1. Terms and regulations for awarding funding under POLONEZ BIS 1
  2. Guide for applicants
  3. Panele NCN
  4. Costs in research projects under POLONEZ BIS 1
  5. Regulations for awarding scholarships in NCN-funded research projects,
  6. Proposal form template
  7. Compliance with the eligibility criteria (residency, mobility, research career breaks) over the last three years before the proposal submission date under POLONEZ BIS 1
  8. Host Institution Capacity Form
  9. Career Development Plan
  10. Mentor’s Declarations
  11. State aid
  12. Guidelines for applicants to complete the Ethics Issues form in the research project
  13. Guidelines for applicants to complete the Data Management Plan in the proposal
  14. Open Access Policy at the NCN
  15. Code of the National Science Centre on research integrity and applying for research funding
  16. How to complete and submit a proposal to POLONEZ BIS 1 call

Documents concerning evaluation of proposals:

  1. Proposal evaluation criteria under POLONEZ BIS 1
  2. Expert teams of the National Science Centre – formation and appointing
  3. Detailed procedure of evaluating proposals by expert teams under POLONEZ BIS 1
  4. Code of ethics for experts of the National Science Centre
  5. Rules for delivering the NCN Director’s decisions
  6. Rules for appealing against the NCN Director’s decisions

Documents to be read before commencing NCN projects:

  1. Funding agreement template (to be published on 10 October 2021)
  2. POLONEZ BIS Grant Agreement no 945339
  3. European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
  4. Regulation on establishing a procedure for conducting audits on the host institution’s premises
  5. Guidelines for entities auditing the implementation of research projects funded by the National Science Centre
  6. Rules for the evaluation of monographs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre