16 September 2019
The National Science Centre hereby announces the SONATA 15 call for research projects addressed at researchers with a PhD degree conferred within 2 to 7 years before the proposal submission year. The applicants may apply for funding of research projects to be carried out over a period of 12, 24 or 36 months.
As of this edition, the maximum amount of indirect costs is 20% of the direct costs, including costs of research equipment, devices and software.
The call budget is PLN 100,000,000.
Proposals may be submitted solely electronically via ZSUN/OSF, available at https://osf.opi.org.pl, in compliance with the proposal submission procedure.
The proposal submission deadline is 16 December 2019. The call results will be announced by June 2020.
Please read the call documents provided in this announcement.
A person who has been conferred a PhD degree within 2 to 7 years before the proposal submission year (between 1.01.2012 and 31.12.2017) may act as the principal investigator.
In specific cases, the period can be extended (see §6 (3) of the Resolution on the terms of the SONATA call).
The principal investigator must be a person, whose publication track record includes at least one research paper published or accepted for publication. In the case of research in the arts, the principal investigator should have at least one paper published or accepted for publication or at least one artistic achievement or achievement in research in art completed. Publication track record should cover the period of 10 years prior to the proposal submission year. In specific cases, the period can be extended (§7 (6) (a) of the Resolution on the terms of the SONATA call).
Proposals in the call may be submitted by any entity specified in the Act on the National Science Centre (NCN), namely:
- federations of science and HE entities;
- 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 2018, item 1475);
- research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 736);
- international research institutes established pursuant to separate Acts, operating in the Republic of Poland;
5a. Łukasiewicz Centre operating pursuant to the Act on the Łukasiewicz Research Network of 21 February 2019 (Journal of Laws, item 534);
5b. institutes operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network;
- Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences;
- other entities involved in research independently on a continuous basis;
- groups of entities (at least two entities mentioned in sections 1-7 or at least one institution as such together with at least one company);
- scientific and industrial centres within the meaning of the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 736);
- research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences within the meaning of the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010;
- scientific libraries;
- 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 2018, item 141);
- legal entities established with registered office in Poland;
- natural persons; and
- companies conducting research in another organisational form than laid down in sections 1-13.
Restrictions on submitting proposals are detailed in Chapter III of the Regulations on awarding funding for the implementation of research tasks funded by the National Science Centre as regards research projects.
One can act as a principal investigator under the SONATA call only once.
Proposals may be submitted to the call covering basic research in any of 25 NCN panels comprising three groups:
- HS – Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
- ST – Physical Sciences and Engineering; and
- NZ – Life Sciences.
Proposals are reviewed within the panels (e.g. HS1, ST1, NZ1). The principal investigator selects the panel. If an incorrect panel is selected, proposals may be rejected.
Under the call, funding may be requested for research projects to be carried out over the period of:
- 12 months,
- 24 months or
- 36 months.
In the SONATA call, in addition to the principal investigator, research may be carried out by co-investigators, including students, PhD students and post-docs. As of this edition, however, researchers who have been awarded a PhD degree by the host institution for the project cannot be employed as post-docs. NCN-scholarship grantees and post-docs in the project must be selected in an open call. A proposal must include the description of qualifications and tasks of particular members of the research team whose relevance for the project will be reviewed by the expert team. The budget for remuneration is described, in detail, in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN.
The project budget must be justified as regards the subject and scope of research and must be based on reasonable calculations. The terms of the SONATA call do not specify the total minimum or maximum amount of the project budget.
The project budget includes direct costs and indirect costs.
Direct costs include:
- remuneration for the principal investigator: PLN 140,000 per annum if the principal investigator is employed full time and up to PLN 2,000 per month if the principal investigator is employed otherwise;
- remuneration for co-investigators in the project:
- full-time remuneration for a post-doc type post: PLN 120,000 per annum (which may be increased in well justified cases),
- salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students (up to PLN 5,000 per each month of project implementation),
- the so-called additional remuneration for members of the research team; if the principal investigator does not plan to be employed full time in the project, his /her remuneration shall be paid for from the pool allocated for additional remuneration;
- costs of reduced obligatory teaching load: the entity that employs the principal investigator under a full-time employment contract may be provided with funding to cover the reduction by 50% of the obligatory teaching load of the principal investigator;
- purchase or construction of research equipment, devices and software;
- purchase of materials and small equipment
- outsourced services;
- business trips, visits and consultations;
- compensation for collective investigators and
- other costs crucial to the project which comply with the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN.
PLEASE NOTE: the costs of publication of monographs (as defined in §10 of the Regulation on evaluation of the quality of research activity issued by the Minister of Science and Higher Education on 22 February 2019 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 392)) resulting from research projects may only be incurred following a positive review by the NCN.
Indirect costs may be a maximum of 20% of direct costs. As of this edition of the call, the indirect costs shall be calculated on all direct costs, including research equipment, devices and software. During the project implementation, the host institution shall agree with the principal investigator the coverage of a minimum of 25% of the indirect costs.
If unjustified costs are planned, a proposal may be rejected.
Detailed information on costs in NCN-funded research projects.
Information to be provided in the proposal:
PLEASE NOTE: the following information must be provided in English!
- details of the principal investigator, including information on his/her academic and research career and research experience as well as 1-10 papers published in the proposal submission year and over the period of 10 years prior to the proposal submission year; for research in art, 1-10 most important papers published or artistic achievements and achievements in research in art in the proposal submission year and over the period of 10 years prior to the proposal submission year;
- basic information on the proposal and host institution for the project (also in Polish);
- work plan (also in Polish);
- information on the scope of work carried out by the co-investigators in the project;
- summary of the project;
- abstract for the general public (also in Polish);
- short project description with bibliography (no more than 5 pages, A4);
- full project description with bibliography (no more than 15 pages, A4);
- information on research projects carried out in international cooperation and advantages thereof (required only for projects involving research carried out in international cooperation);
- information on ethical issues in the research planned;
- data management plan (DMP) concerning data generated or used in the course of a research project, as required by the proposal; and
- project budget.
Proposals in the SONATA call include application for state aid, except where a natural person applies for funding. Detailed information can be found in the State aid section.
In the case of research projects carried out in entities for which project funding will constitute state aid, funds for students and PhD students can only be planned in the form described in the category “salary for students and PhD students” in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN.
PLEASE NOTE:all documents concerning proposals for state aid shall be signed with a qualified electronic signature in the PAdES format.
Eligibility check shall be carried out by the coordinators. Only complete proposals that comply with all the requirements set out in the call announcement shall be accepted for merit-based evaluation.
Proposals approved in the eligibility check shall be subject to merit-based evaluation performed in two stages.
- qualification check performed by the expert team appointed by the NCN, based on the data included in the proposal and annexes attached 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.
- specialist evaluation of proposals recommended for the second stage of evaluation. Proposals are addressed to at least two external experts and evaluated thereby based on the data included in the proposal and annexes attached thereto, with the exception of the short project description.
Based on the individual reviews drafted by the external experts, a ranking list of proposals recommended for funding is drafted by the expert team at the second meeting.Additional information on the proposal evaluation procedure can be found in the Detailed procedure according to which proposals are evaluated by the expert teams.
PLEASE NOTE: the short and full project descriptions must be drafted in English.
The evaluation of proposals shall focus in particular on:
- compliance with the criterion of basic research laid down in Article 2 (1) of the NCN Act;
- quality of the project;
- publication track record of the principal investigator;
- feasibility of the project;
- description of ethical issues in the proposal; and
- relevance of the costs planned.
Detailed information on evaluation criteria under the SONATA calls.
Merit-based evaluation of proposals is performed by the expert team. Experts are selected by the NCN Council from among outstanding Polish and foreign researchers, holding at least a PhD degree. Expert teams are established for each call edition. The composition of the expert team is subject to the number and subjects of proposals submitted to each panel. At the stage of specialist evaluation, proposals recommended for the second stage are evaluated by external reviewers selected by the coordinators from among the candidates recommended by the expert team.
The call results shall be announced on the NCN’s website and communicated to the applicants by way of a decision by the NCN Director within 6 months of the proposal submission deadline, by June 2020 at the latest.
Please read the Information for applicants available on the NCN's website.
Should you have any more queries, please contact us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +48 12 341 90 00.
If you plan to submit a proposal in the SONATA 15 call:
- read all call documents included in the call announcement, in particular:
- terms of the SONATA call;
- proposal form template, where you can find out about information and annexes needed to complete the electronic proposal form in ZSUN/OSF;
- Regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded by the National Science Centre;
- proposal submission procedure;
- obtain data from the host institution for the project that is required to complete the proposal and find out about the internal procedures that may affect the proposal and project performance (cost planned in the project, procedure for acquiring signature(s) of authorised representative(s) of the institution to confirm submission of the proposal);
- when the proposal is submitted by a group of entities, draw up an Agreement on collaboration for the purposes of completion of the requested research project; and
- prepare acceptance letters from publishers confirming that the work has been accepted for publication (when the publication track record section includes research papers accepted for publication that have not been published yet).
Before the proposal is submitted to the NCN:
- check if all information in and annexes to the proposal are correct. The verification of the proposal for completeness in ZSUN/OSF by pressing the Sprawdź kompletność [Check completeness] button does not guarantee that all information has been entered correctly and that the required annexes have been attached;
- disable the final version of the proposal to NCN;
- download and sign the confirmation of submitting the proposal in the call – the principal investigator and authorised representative(s) of the institution; and
- attach the confirmation of submitting the proposal with a signature.
Once you have filled out the form and attached all the required files, the proposal should be electronically submitted to the National Science Centre in ZSUN/OSF via the Wyślij do NCN [Send to NCN] button.
Once the call for proposals has been closed:
- evaluation of proposals shall be carried out;
- after each stage of evaluation, the funding decision by the NCN Director shall be delivered;
- if the proposal is qualified for funding, a Funding Agreement shall be entered into; and
- the project will be carried out pursuant to the Funding Agreement and Regulations on the implementation of research projects, fellowships and scholarships.
In the event of a breach of the call procedure or other formal infringements, the applicant may 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 delivery of the decision.
Documents to be read before submitting a proposal to the NCN:
- Terms of the SONATA call: NCN Council Resolution
- Regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded by the National Science Centre
- NCN panels
- Regulations for awarding scholarships in the NCN-funded research projects
- Costs in research projects funded by NCN
- Proposal form template
- Agreement on collaboration for the purposes of completion of the requested research project (applicable to proposals comprising more than one institution, in Polish only)
- State aid
- Guidelines for completing the data management plan for a research project
- The Code of the National Science Centre on research integrity and applying for research funding
- Proposal submission procedure
- Proposal evaluation criteria
Documents applicable to the evaluation of proposals:
- Expert Teams of the National Science Centre - formation and appointing
- Code of ethics for experts of the National Science Centre
- Detailed procedure of evaluating proposals by expert teams
- Rules for delivering the NCN Director’s decisions
- Rules for appealing against the NCN Director’s decisions
Documents to be read before commencing NCN projects
- Funding agreement template (in Polish only)*
- Regulations on the implementation of research projects, fellowships and scholarships (in Polish only)
- Regulation on the implementation of inspection procedure at the registered office of the host institution
- Guidelines for entities auditing the implementation of research projects funded by the National Science Centre