Announcement of M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020


17 March 2020

Both the National Science Centre (NCN) and the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) are members of the M-ERA network. This announcement applies solely to entities applying for NCN funding.

The National Science Centre (hereinafter: “NCN” ) and the M-ERA network announce the M-ERA.NET 2 call for international research projects in the area of material science and material engineering. Funding proposals may be submitted by international consortia composed of a minimum of 3 research teams from at least 2 countries participating in the call. The principal investigator of the Polish research team must hold at least a PhD degree.

Countries participating in the call: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey.

Application process:

  • international level: a joint proposal is prepared in English by the Polish research team in cooperation with its foreign partners and submitted via the M-ERA.NET Submission System;
  • national level:  an NCN proposal covering the Polish part of the project is prepared by the Polish research team and submitted to the NCN via the ZSUN/OSF submission system. NCN proposals are submitted at the full-proposal submission stage. Instructions for submitting NCN proposals in the OSF/ZSUN submission system are available here.

Call timeline*:

  • Submission deadline for joint pre-proposals: 16 June 2020
  • Invitation to submit joint full proposals: September 2020
  • Submission deadline for joint full proposals: 19 November 2020
  • Submission deadline for NCN proposals in ZSUN/OSF: 26 November 2020
  • Call results: January/February 2021.

*Given recent developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Call Coordinator may decide to modify the schedule. Please follow the information published on NCN's website.

In the M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020 funds may be awarded to cover remuneration for the research team, remuneration and scholarships for students and PhD students, purchase or construction of research equipment and for other costs crucial to the research project.

The amount of funds allocated by the NCN for the tasks to be performed by Polish research teams in the call is EUR 500,000.

The budget for the Polish part of the research project in the joint proposal will be calculated according to the following exchange rate: EUR 1 = PLN 4.2789

Please read: 

detailed information for applicants below and annexes hereto (applies to entities applying for NCN funding while other documents apply to the entities applying for NCBR funding).

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Who may apply for NCN funding?

Proposals in the call may be submitted by the following entities specified in the Act on the National Science Centre (NCN)(NCN):

1. universities,

2. federations of science and HE institutions,

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 2018, item 1475),

4. research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 736),

5. international research institutes established pursuant to separate Acts, operating in the Republic of Poland,

5a. the Łukasiewicz Centre,

5b. Institute operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network,

6. Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences,

7. other institutions involved in research independently on a continuous basis,

8. 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,

9. scientific and industrial centres as defined in the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 736),

10. research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences as defined in the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010,

11. scientific libraries,

12. enterprises established as research and development centres as defined in the Act on Certain Forms of Support for Innovative Activities of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 141),

13. legal entities with registered office in Poland,

14. companies conducting research in another organisational form than laid down in sections 1-13.

If research projects are to be carried out by two or more Polish partners applying for NCN funding, they must set up a group of entities (see item 8 above) and as such submit NCN proposals. An NCN proposal is submitted by a leader specified in the research project cooperation agreement concluded by the group of entities. An entity employing the principal investigator acts as the leader of the group of entities.

If, in the light of Article 27 (1) (2) of the NCN Act, Polish partners cannot set up groups of entities, they are not eligible to apply for NCN funding of a joint research project.

Who may act as the Principal Investigator?

The principal investigator of the Polish research team must hold at least a PhD degree when submitting a proposal. Additional restrictions are detailed in Chapter IV, §12-15 of the Terms and regulations on awarding funding for research tasks funded or co-funded under international calls launched by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO, annexed to NCN Council Resolution No 131/19 of 12.12.2019.

What is the thematic scope of the call?

The call covers the following subjects in the area of material science and material engineering:

  • Modeling for materials engineering and processing;
  • Innovative surfaces, coatings and interfaces;
  • High performance composites;
  • Functional materials;
  • New strategies for advanced material-based technologies in health applications;
  • Materials for additive manufacturing.

Please note that both the National Science Centre (NCN) and the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) are members of the M-ERA network. Applicants from Poland whose projects meet basic research criterion (TRL 1-4) can apply for the NCN funding and do not have to involve an industrial partner. Researchers whose projects start from TRL 3-6 and achieve TRL 5-8 should apply for the NCBR funding and must involve an industrial partner.

NCN proposals in which research tasks overlap with research tasks planned in other proposals submitted earlier in any other NCN call may be submitted only after the assessment process or appeal proceedings concerning such earlier proposal has been completed and no funds were granted.

What is the project’s duration?

In the call, research projects may be planned for a period of either 24 or 36 months.

How to plan the project’s budget?

We recommend that Polish applicants should consult the budget table of the Polish part of the project with the NCN. To receive NCN feedback in time, please send the budget table in .xlsx format to anna.kotarba@ncn.gov.pl by 8 June 2020.

Creating a project budget is one of the most important aspects in project planning, which aims to identify and estimate the resources required to perform the planned research work. The calculations must be realistic and compliant with the guidelines provided in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre within the multilateral collaboration UNISONO. The maximum budget of the Polish research team is not pre-determined; however, please remember that the justification for the planned expenses versus the scope of tasks is assessed by an international expert team.

The budget in the NCN proposal should be quoted in PLN, while the budget in the joint proposal, in EUR.

The budget for the Polish part of the research project in the joint proposal will be calculated according to the following exchange rate: EUR 1 = PLN 4.2789

Eligible costs in the project include direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs include:

  1. remuneration:
  • full-time employment: funds for full-time employment of the principal investigator or post-doc(s);
  • additional salaries for members of the research team;
  • remuneration and scholarships for students and PhD students;
  1. purchase or construction of research equipment, devices and software;
  2. purchase of materials and small equipment;
  3. outsourcing;
  4. business trips, visits and consultations;
  5. compensation for collective investigators;
  6. other costs crucial to the project.

Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of direct costs. The host institution will arrange with the project’s principal investigator for the distribution of at least 25% of the indirect costs’ value.

Remuneration of administrative staff and costs of conference organisation (rental of rooms, catering) may be financed solely as indirect expenses.

Are there any restrictions on the size of the Polish research team?

The terms of the call do not specify the minimum or maximum number of the research team members. Detailed information on the costs of remuneration and scholarships is provided in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the NCN within the multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

Please note that persons employed as post-doc(s) in the project must be recruited in an open call.

Persons to be recruited in an open call, including persons to be employed as post-docs, cannot be named in joint or NCN proposals.

Can proposals in this call include application for state aid?

Yes. Detailed information can be found in the Rules governing application for state aid.

What is the proposal evaluation procedure?

Joint proposals are subject to an eligibility check performed by the NCN, other members of M-ERA network and the Secretariat of the M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020.

Joint proposals successfully evaluated during the eligibility check are subject to merit-based evaluation carried out by an international expert team in line with the principles specified in the M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020 Guide for Proposers.

NCN proposals are subject solely to eligibility check carried out by the scientific coordinators.

The eligibility check of NCN proposals involves verification of proposal for completeness, compliance with all terms set forth in the call documents and Resolution No 131/19, including compliance of the planned budget with the annex “Costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre in international calls carried out as multilateral collaboration Unisono”. 

The information provided in NCN proposals and in joint proposals must be consistent.

Who performs the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

Only joint proposals are subject to merit-based evaluation. Merit-based evaluation is performed  by an expert team appointed by the M-ERA.NET 2 network. More information on the evaluation of proposals is available at “M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020 Guide for Proposers”.

When and how will the results be announced?

The M-ERA.NET 2 Call 2020 will be concluded by the time specified in the call documents (1st quarter of 2021). Firstly, project coordinators will be informed about the outcome. Polish research teams will be notified by way of NCN Director’s decisions.

In the event of a breach of the call procedure or other formal infringements related to actions performed by the NCN, the applicant may lodge an appeal against the decision of the NCN Director with the Committee of Appeals of the NCN Council.

Where can additional information be found?

For more information on the call please go to the M-ERA.NET 2 website. For detailed terms and regulations on awarding NCN funding in the call please refer to the Resolution by the NCN Council (131/19 – UNISONO).

Should you have questions, please contact us by e-mail or by phone:

Useful information

  1. Before submitting an NCN proposalin  the ZSUN/OSF system:

    1. make sure that all information in and annexes to the proposal are correct. Please note that by using the Sprawdź kompletność [Check completeness] button in ZSUN/OSF allows you to find out whether or not all sections of the proposal have been completed but does not provide any guarantee that all information entered is correct and the required annexes have been attached;
    2. disable the final version of the proposal to the NCN;
    3.  download the confirmation of proposal submission - to be signed by the principal investigator and authorised representative(s) of the host institution;
    4. upload the signed confirmation of proposal submission in the ZSUN/OSF system.

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