15 September 2020
The National Science Centre hereby announces the SONATA 16 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 basic research projects to be carried out over the period of 12, 24 or 36 months.
The call budget amounts to 100,000,000 PLN.
Submission deadline for proposals: 15 December 2020, 4 p.m. The call results will be announced in June 2021.
Please read the call documents provided in this announcement.
Proposals in the call may be submitted by the following entities specified in the Act on the National Science Centre:
- 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 2019, item 1183, as amended);
- research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1350, as amended);
- 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 of 2019, item 534);
5b. institutes operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network;
- Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences;
- other institutions involved in research independently on a continuous basis;
- groups of entities comprising 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 2019, item 1350, as amended);
- research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences within the meaning of the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1183, as amended);
- 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 2019, item 1402);
- legal entities with registered office in Poland;
- natural persons and
- companies conducting research in another organisational form than laid down in sections 1-13.
A person who has been conferred a PhD degree within 2 to 7 years before the proposal submission year may act as the principal investigator in the SONATA call. 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.
The publication track record should include the period of the last 10 years before the proposal submission year. In specific cases, the period can be extended (see §7 (6) (a) of the Resolution on the terms of the SONATA call).
Please note: The principal investigator for the Polish research team must reside in Poland for at least 50% of the project duration period. This period includes business trips necessary for the project, in particular involving fieldwork, participation in conferences and/or library and archive research.
Furthermore, the principal investigator for the Polish research team must be a person employed at the host institution for the Polish part of the research project for the entire project duration period pursuant to at least a part-time employment contract.
Restrictions on submitting proposals are detailed in Chapter III of the Regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded by the National Science Centre as regards research projects.
A person may act as the principal investigator under the SONATA call only once.
A person may act as the principal investigator under one edition of calls in one proposal only which means that in the present edition of NCN calls, one can act as the principal investigator in an OPUS proposal, OPUS LAP proposal, BEETHOVEN CLASSIC proposal, PRELUDIUM BIS proposal or SONATA proposal only once.
Proposals may be submitted to the call covering basic research in any of 25 NCN panels within three areas:
- HS – Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
- ST – Physical Sciences and Engineering;
- NZ – Life Sciences.
Proposals shall be reviewed within the panels (e.g. HS1, ST1, NZ1). The principal investigator shall select the panel. If an incorrect panel is selected, proposals may be rejected.
Under the call, funding may be requested for research projects carried out over the period of:
- 12 months,
- 24 months or
- 36 months.
The terms of the call do not specify the maximum number of the research team members. Apart from the principal investigators, research tasks in the projects may also be performed by co-investigators, including students, PhD students and post-docs.
Please note that:
- NCN scholarship grantees and persons employed as post-docs and remunerated from the NCN budget must be recruited in an open call procedure;
- researchers who have been awarded a PhD degree by the host institution for the project cannot be employed as post-docs.
The proposal must include the description of competencies and tasks of individual members of the expert team. The rationale of their involvement in the project is evaluated by the expert team. Detailed information on the costs of salaries can be found in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre.
The project budget must be justified as regards the subject and scope of research and based on realistic calculations. In the SONATA call, a maximum or minimum amount of the project budget has not been set.
Costs in the project include direct costs and indirect costs.
Direct costs include:
- remuneration for the principal investigator: 140,000 PLN per annum if the principal investigator is employed pursuant to a full-time employment contract; otherwise, the principal investigator may be paid up to 2,000 PLN per month.
- remuneration for co-investigators in the project;
- funds for full-time employment of post-doc(s): 120,000 PLN per annum (which may be increased in well-justified cases);
- salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students (up to 5,000 PLN per each month of project duration);
- additional remuneration for members of the research team. If the principal investigator is not employed full-time in the project, his/her remuneration shall be paid 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 manufacturing of research equipment, devices and software;
- purchase of material and small equipment;
- outsourced services;
- business trips, visits and consultations;
- compensation for collective investigators and
- other costs crucial to the research project which comply with the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre;
Please note: The costs of publication of monographs containing project results (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) are not eligible until positively reviewed by the NCN in the review procedure.
Indirect costs may be a maximum of 20% of direct costs. The amount of indirect costs is calculated on all direct costs, including costs of 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.
Additionally, indirect costs of up to 2% of direct costs may be spent on open access to publications and research data.
If an unjustified budget is planned, the proposal may be rejected.
Detailed information on the costs in NCN research projects.
Together with other European research-funding institutions, the National Science Centre is a member cOAlition S. Therefore, the NCN has adopted an “Open access policy” pursuant to which all research results 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:
- Publication in open access journals and on open access platforms registered, or with pending registration, in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ);
- 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;
- Publication in journals covered by an open access licence within the framework of 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.
Information to be provided in the proposals:
Please note: The information below must be provided in English.
- Information on 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;
- information on the data management plan concerning data generated or used in the course of a research project, as required by the proposal; and
- project budget drafted pursuant to the Regulations.
Proposals in the SONATA call may include application for state aid, except where a natural person applies for funding. More information can be found in the State aid section.
In the case of research projects carried out in a host institution for which project funding constitutes 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 as eligible 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 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 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 thereto, with the exception of the short project description.
Then, based on the reviews of external experts, a ranking short list of proposals recommended for funding is drafted by the expert team at the second meeting.
More information on the proposal evaluation procedure can be found in the Detailed procedure of evaluating proposals by expert teams.
Please note: A proposal which contains at least one auxiliary NCN Review Panel other than the one to which the proposal was submitted, which has been identified by the chair as requiring an additional individual review shall be deemed an interdisciplinary proposal. In well-justified cases, interdisciplinary proposals shall be subject to an additional expert review.
The evaluation of proposals shall focus in particular on:
- compliance with the criteria of basic research;
- quality and innovative nature of research or tasks to be performed;
- impact of the research project on the advancement of the scientific discipline;
- assessment of the feasibility of research to be performed;
- scientific achievements of the principal investigator, including publications in renowned academic press/ journals;
- assessment of the results of research projects conducted by the principal investigator, funded by the NCN or from other sources;
- relevance of the costs to be incurred with regard to the subject and scope of the research and
- preparation of the proposal and compliance with other requirements set forth in the call announcement.
Please note: The NEW detailed proposal evaluation criteria are available.
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 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 subjects of proposals submitted to each panel. During the specialist evaluation, proposals recommended for the second stage of evaluation are reviewed by external reviewers.
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 deadline for submission of proposals, by June 2021 at the latest.
Read the Information for applicants available on the NCN website.
Should you have any questions, please contact us by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +48 12 341 90 00.
If you are intending to submit a proposal in the SONATA 16 call:
- read all call documents included in the call announcement, in particular:
- terms of the SONATA call and
- 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) or authorised representative(s) of the institution to confirm submission of the proposal);
- if the applicant is a group of entities, a research project cooperation agreement must be drafted;
- prepare acceptance letters from publishers confirming that the paper has been accepted for publication (when the scientific achievements section includes papers accepted for publication that have not been published yet).
Before the proposal is submitted to the NCN:
- check if 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 information has been entered correctly and that the required annexes have been attached;
- disable the final version of the proposal to the NCN;
- download and sign the confirmation of submitting the proposal in the call (principal investigator and authorised representative(s) of the entity);
- attach the confirmation of submitting the proposal with a signature.
Once the proposal is completed and relevant annexes attached, the proposal shall be submitted to the NCN electronically via the ZSUN/OSF system using 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 announced;
- if the proposal is recommended for funding, a research project funding agreement shall be entered into;
- the project shall 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 shall be lodged within 14 days of the effective delivery of the decision.
Documents to be read before the proposal is submitted to the NCN:
- Terms of the SONATA call: Resolution of the NCN Council
- Regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded by the National Science Centre
- NCN Panels
- Regulations on awarding NCN scholarships in NCN-funded research projects
- Costs in research projects funded by NCN
- Proposal form template
- Research project cooperation agreement (applies to proposals concerning more than one institution)
- State aid
- Guidelines for completing the data management plan for a research project
- Guidelines for completing the ethics issues section of the proposal
- Open Access Policy at the NCN
- The Code of the National Science Centre on research integrity and applying for research funding
- Proposal submission procedure
Documents concerning evaluation of proposals:
- Proposal evaluation criteria
- Expert Teams of the National Science Centre - formation and appointing
- Detailed proposal evaluation criteria
- Service of decisions of the NCN Director
- Guidelines for lodging appeals against the NCN Director’s decisions
Documents to be read before starting NCN research projects: