Announcement of M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021


15 March 2021

Both the National Science Centre (hereinafter: the “NCN”) and the National Centre for Research and Development (hereinafter: the “NCBR”) are members of the M-ERA.NET network. This announcement applies only to the applicants applying for NCN funding.

The National Science Centre, in cooperation with the M-ERA.NET network, hereby announces the M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 for international research projects in the area of material science and material engineering material science and innovation on materials and battery technologies, supporting the European Green Deal. Funding proposals may be submitted by international consortia composed of at least 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, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Spain, Iceland, Israel, Canada, South Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and Hungary*.

*Some countries participate in the call only regionally. For more information, visit the call website.

Call timeline:

  • International level (two-step procedure)

Both in the first and second step of the call, a joint proposal is prepared by the Polish research teams in cooperation with the international partners (in English) and submitted by the international Consortium Leader via the international Submission System of the M-ERA.NET network.

First step: 15 June 2021 (12:00 noon CET): submission deadline for pre-proposals

PLEASE NOTE: At this stage, Polish applicants submit no documents to the NCN.

Second step: 17 November 2021 (12:00 noon CET): submission deadline for full proposals

  • National level (single-step procedure):

An NCN proposal concerning the Polish part of the project is prepared by the Polish research team and submitted to the NCN electronically via the ZSUN/OSF  submission system within 7 days of the submission deadline for joint full proposals (international level). NCN proposals are submitted at the full proposal  stage. NCN proposal submission procedure in ZSUN/OSF is available here.

24 November 2021 (4:00 p.m. CET): submission deadline for NCN  proposals by the Polish research teams.

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided in NCN proposals and in joint full proposals must be consistent. Joint full proposals annexed to NCN proposals must be consistent with joint full proposals submitted on the international level.

  • Call results:

January 2022: publication of the list of projects recommended for funding

Under the M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021, funds can be awarded to cover salaries for members of the research team, salaries and scholarships for students and PhD students, purchase or construction of research equipment and other costs crucial to the research project.

The total amount of funds allocated by the NCN for all Polish research teams in the call 2021 is EUR 500,000.

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

Please read:

  • call documents available at the website of the M-ERA.NET network (applicable to all applicants in the call);
  • detailed information for applicants below and annexes hereto (applicable only to researchers applying for NCN funding).

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Who may apply for NCN funding?

Proposals may be submitted by the following entities specified in the NCN Act: 

  1. universities,
  2. federations of science and 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),
  4. research institutes operating pursuant to the Act on Research Institutes of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1350);
  5. international research institutes established pursuant to other acts and acting 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,

  1. Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences,
  2. other entities involved in research independently on a continuous basis,
  3. 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),
  4. scientific and industrial centres laid down in the Act on Research Centres of 30 April 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1350),
  5. research centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences laid down in the Act on the Polish Academy of Sciences of 30 April 2010,
  6. scientific libraries,
  7. companies operating as R&D centres laid down in the Act on certain forms of support for innovation activities of 30 May 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1402),
  8. legal entities with registered office in Poland,
  9. natural persons and
  10. companies conducting research in other organisational form than set forth in sections 1-13.

If research projects are to be carried out by two or more Polish entities applying for NCN funding, they must set up a group of entities 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, pursuant to Article 27 (1) (2) of the NCN Act, Polish entities cannot set up groups of entities, they are not eligible to apply for NCN funding of a joint research project.

Who may act as a Principal Investigator?

The Principal Investigator of the Polish research team must hold at least a PhD degree when submitting a proposal. Additional restrictions are described in detail in Chapter IV 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 137/2020 of 11 December 2020.

What are the topics covered by the call ?

The call covers the following topics in the field of material science and material engineering:

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

Transversal priority: research on future batteries 

Battery research is the main objective of the M-ERA.NET 3 call launched in 2021 and is clearely outlined by the above-mentioned topics set forth in the Guide for Proposers. M-ERA.NET will support the networks involved in research described by respective Technology Readiness Levels (TRL). The topics and respective TRLs are described in detail in Annex 1 of the Guide for Proposers (Thematic priorities for the M-ERA.NET Call 2021).

PLEASE NOTE: Both the National Science Centre and the National Centre for Research and Development are members of the M-ERA.NET network. Applicants from Poland whose projects meet the basic research criterion (TRL 1-4). Involvement of an industrial partner is not required.

Researchers whose projects start from TRL 3-6 and achieve TRL 5-8 may apply for NCBR funding. Involvement of a Polish industrial partner is required.

NCN proposals covering research tasks overlapping tasks specified in another proposal submitted earlier in an NCN call may only be submitted when the evaluation procedure or appeal procedure of the earlier proposal is completed and no funding is awarded.

What is the project duration period?

Research projects may be planned in the call for a period of either 24 or 36 months.

How should the Polish budget be planned?

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 31 May 2021.

Creating a project budget is one of the most important aspects in the project planning which aims at identifying the required resources and estimating the costs required to perform the research tasks. The project budget must be based on realistic calculations and must comply with the guidelines provided in the Types of costs in research projects funded by the National Science Centre and carried out as multilateral collaboration UNISONO. The maximum budget of the Polish research team is not pre-determined; however, the justification of the 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 EUR budget for the Polish part of the research project in the joint proposal must be calculated according to the following exchange rate: 1 EUR = 4.2789 PLN.

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;
  2. purchase or construction of research equipment, devices and software;
  3. purchase of materials and small equipment;
  4. outsourcing;
  5. business trips, visits and consultations;
  6. compensation for collective investigators; and
  7. other costs crucial to the project.

Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of direct costs. Additionally, indirect costs of up to 2% of direct costs may be spent on open access to publications and research data.

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

PLEASE NOTE: The cost of open access to publications may only be incurred as indirect costs. The cost of open access planned as direct costs will be regarded as a formal error.

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

The terms of the call do not specify the 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 and carried out as the multilateral collaboration UNISONO.

Please note that persons employed as post-docs in the project must be recruited in an open call procedure.

Researchers to be recruited in an open call procedure, including post-docs, must not be named in either joint or NCN proposals.

Czy w ramach tego konkursu można wnioskować o pomoc publiczną?

Yes. Detailed information can be found in the State aid rules.

What is the proposal evaluation procedure?

  • International level

Joint pre-proposals and full proposals are subject to an eligibility check performed by the NCN, other members of the M.ERA.NET 3 and Secretariat of the M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021.

Joint proposals successfully evaluated during the eligibility check are subject to merit-based evaluation. For more information on the evaluation of proposals submitted in response to M-ERA.NET calls, go to the detailed procedure for merit-based evaluation of pre-proposals in the international M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 for research projects launched as multilateral collaboration UNISONO under M-ERA.NET 3 and M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 Guide for Proposers.

  • National level

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

The eligibility check of NCN proposals involves verification of proposals for completeness, compliance with all terms set forth in the call documents and Resolution No 137/2020, including compliance of the budget with the Annex thereto (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 full proposals must be consistent.

Who performs the merit-based evaluation of proposals?

Only joint proposals are subject to merit-based evaluation. For more information on merit-based evaluation, go to M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 Guide for Proposers and detailed procedure for merit-based evaluation of pre-proposals in the international M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 for research projects launched as multilateral collaboration UNISONO under M-ERA.NET 3.

Open Access Policy

Together with other European cOAlition S agencies, the National Science Centre has drafted its open access policy. In accordance with its vision of open access to research results and publications, the NCN requires that all research results should be made available in full and 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 (VoR2) or the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM3) 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). 

When and how will the results be announced?

For more information on the call, please go to the website of the M-ERA.NET 3. network. For detailed terms and regulations on awarding NCN funding in the call, please refer to the Annex to NCN Council Resolution No 137/2020 of 11 December 2020 (UNISONO).

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

Secretariat of the M-ERA.NET 3 call:

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Roland Brandenburg

FFG - Austrian Research Promotion Agency

1090 Wien, Sensengasse 1, Austria

office@m-era.net

Call Secretariat:

call-secretariat@m-era.net

Useful information

Before submitting an NCN proposal on the national level:

  1. make sure that the information in and annexes to the proposal are correct. Checking the proposal for completeness in ZSUN/OSF with the Sprawdź kompletność [Check completeness] button does not 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 which must be signed by the principal investigator and authorised representative(s) of the entity;
  4. upload the signed confirmation of proposal submission.

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.

Call documents

The M-era.net network

The National Science Centre

  1. 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
  2. NCN proposal submission procedure
  3. Budget table of the Polish research team
  4. Regulations for awarding scholarships in NCN-funded research projects
  5. Research project cooperation agreement Update: 29 April 2021
  6. State aid rules
  7. Guidelines for applicants to complete the ethics issues form in the proposal
  8. Guidelines for applicants to complete the data management plan form in the proposal
  9. Open access policy at the NCN
  10. Code of the National Science Centre on research integrity and applying for research funding
  11. Rules for delivering the NCN Director’s decisions
  12. Guidelines for appealing against the NCN Director’s decisions
  13. Detailed procedure for merit-based evaluation of pre-proposals in the international M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2021 for research projects launched as multilateral collaboration UNISONO under M-ERA.NET 3 programme (to be published)
  14. Pre-proposal evaluation procedure

Documents to be read before starting an NCN project::

  1. Personal data processing at NCN since 25 May 2018 (GDPR)
  2. Agreement template (draft version that may be amended when the agreement is signed with the NCN) (to be published soon)
  3. Order on the implementation of inspection procedure at the registered office of the host institution
  4. Guidelines for entities auditing the implementation of research projects funded by the National Science Centre