Financing for first research teams headed by doctors at the early stage of their careers.

Please be informed that an updated list of the National Smart Specialisations came into effect in July 2016. The updated list is available in section Files to download. Additional materials for applicants.


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Programme description


The aim of the FIRST TEAM programme is to improve the human potential of the R&D sector, support first research teams supervised by PhDs at the early stage of their careers (regardless of their nationality), and encourage the return of outstanding scientists of Polish origin to Poland or the return of persons who have had a break in their research careers to the R&D sector. Support under the programme will be provided to teams conducting research at research units or companies in Poland, working in the most innovative areas and having a scientific partner, i.e. local or foreign research partner.


Eligible applicants are those researchers (regardless of nationality) who have had a doctoral degree for not longer than 5 years, where the start of this period is defined by the year of obtaining the degree and the end – by the year preceding the deadline for submitting applications in the competition. The 5-year period may be extended to a maximum of 9 years from obtaining the degree if the applicant fulfils the conditions set down in the competition documentation.

As part of the project’s implementation, the project manager (principal investigator; PI) should include young researchers – students, PhD students or young doctors (postdocs) – in his or her team.

For the duration of the project, the project manager (PI) shall be be employed at the unit, with a commitment of at least 50% of a full-time employment for the purposes of project realisation.


Projects lasting up to 36 months will be financed under the programme. The project budget is recommended not to exceed PLN 2,000,000.

Under the programme, the Foundation plans internal competitions for grantees to extend the project duration by a maximum of 12 months, where the extension of the project implementation time is connected with expanding the scope of the work and includes a possibility to increase funding for the project. In subsequent editions of the programme, the final deadline for project completion and any project extensions is 31 December 2023.

Financing under the FIRST TEAM programme will be provided to projects whose subject matter is listed on the National Smart Specialization (NSS; PL – KIS) list. In exceptional cases, while giving preference to NSS areas, the Foundation may agree to finance projects involving topics not on the NSS list if they show significant application potential or importance for solving a major socioeconomic problem.

Projects under the programme can be implemented in one of three options:

  • by research units to the extent to which they do not conduct economic activity (without granting state aid),
  • by enterprises (pursuant to the principles of granting state aid for R&D activity),
  • by scientific-industrial consortia consisting of one research unit and one enterprise (for the research unit: without state aid, to the extent, to which it does not conduct economic activity; for the enterprise, pursuant to the principles of granting state aid for R&D activities).

In the FIRST TEAM programme, the participation of at least one scientific partner from Poland or another country is mandatory.

In the First TEAM programme, the Foundation will later hold internal competitions for grantees for the purchase of specialist equipment (over the limit of 5% of a project’s eligible costs), where the review of such an application will take into account, among other things, an analysis of the availability of this type of equipment in Poland and information on investments in similar equipment at the unit carrying out the project.

First TEAM Leaflet (PDF)


Applications submitted in the competition will be subject to a formal and merit-based evaluation. After receiving a positive formal evaluation, applications will undergo a three-stage merit-based evaluation:

In stage one, the merits of the applications will be evaluated by a group of experts (a scientific and economic panel, or SEP) having proper scientific achievements or experience in implementing innovative solutions in the R&D sector.

In stage two, the applications will be evaluated by at least two third-party reviewers.

In stage three, the applicants who qualify will be invited to an interview with an interdisciplinary panel of experts (IPE).

The panel of experts will compare the applications and draw up a ranking list as well as evaluating them on the basis of the criteria set down in the competition documentation.

The terms of participation are the same for all applicants and are described in detail in the programme’s competition documentation.

Application deadline

12 August 2016 -17 October 2016

Upcoming calls for proposals

from: 10 January 2017 --- application deadline: 10 March 2017

Files to download

Competition documentation

[ First TEAM_Programme_Competition_Documentation_2_2016 - 637 KB ]

Templates of appendices for applicants under state aid

[ 0_Cost eligibility guide_state_aid - 363 KB ] [ 1_Catalogue of eligible costs _state_aid - 155 KB ] [ 2_Catalogue of non-eligible costs_state_aid - 106 KB ] [ 3_Manner of incurring expenditures_state_aid - 184 KB ] [ Catalogue of criteria for selecting beneficiaries FirstTeam - 198 KB ] [ Form_containing_information_presented_when_applying_for_aid - 88 KB ] [ Statement of the project manager_First TEAM - 422 KB ] [ Statement of the unit_enterprise_First TEAM - 236 KB ] [ Statement-of-the-research-unit_First-Team - 431 KB ] [ Statement of the consortium member representative_First TEAM - 390 KB ] [ Lab_equipment_First TEAM - 4 MB ] [ Project_indicators_First TEAM - 4 MB ] [ Project_schedule_First_TEAM - 4 MB ]

Templates of appendices for applicants without state aid

[ 0_Cost eligibility guide_without_state_aid - 313 KB ] [ 1_Catalogue of eligible costs _without_state_aid - 165 KB ] [ 2_Catalogue of non-eligible costs_without_state_aid - 101 KB ] [ 3_Manner of incurring expenditures_without_state_aid - 183 KB ] [ Catalogue of criteria for selecting beneficiaries FirstTeam - 198 KB ] [ Statement of the project manager_First TEAM - 422 KB ] [ Statement of the unit_research unit_First TEAM - 431 KB ] [ Statement-of-the-unit_enterprise_First-Team - 236 KB ] [ Statement of the consortium member representative_First TEAM - 390 KB ] [ Lab_equipment_First TEAM - 4 MB ] [ Project_indicators_First TEAM - 4 MB ] [ Project_schedule_First_TEAM - 4 MB ]

Additional materials for applicants

[ Reviewers_form_final_FT - 129 KB ] [ List of the National Smart Specialisation_NSS_20160712 - 573 KB ]

Grant agreement templates and appendices

[ Model-grant-agreement-for-state-aid-beneficiaries - 316 KB ] [ Model-grant-agreement_for_applicants_without_state_aid - 309 KB ] [ Zalacznik-nr-4-oswiadczenie-dot-kwalifikowalnosci-podatku-vat - 136 KB ] [ Zalacznik-nr-5-oswiadczenie-o-rozliczaniu-kosztow-posrednich - 101 KB ]

In case of consortium

[ 20160810_First_TEAM_umowa_konsorcjum - 378 KB ] [ Zalacznik-nr-4-oswiadczenia-lidera-konsorcjum-dot-kwalifikowalnosci-podatku-vat - 136 KB ] [ Zalacznik-nr-5-oswiadczenia-konsorcjanta-dot-kwalifikowalnosci-podatku-vat - 136 KB ] [ Zalacznik-nr-6-oswiadczenie-o-rozliczeniu-kosztow-posrednich - 100 KB ]

Templates of scholarship agrement

[ Scholarship agreement_FIRST TEAM_without state aid - 384 KB ] [ Scholarship agrement_FIRST TEAM_state_aid - 389 KB ]

Anna Raiter-Smiljanic, PhD

Programme Officer

tel.: +48 22 311 84 42; +48 513 018 425  

Additional info

Projects to be carried out under the FIRST TEAM programme should involve research that will contribute to solving current or arising scientific problems that are relevant for the developing global market or will make a significant contribution to solving important challenges faced by society today.

A project may also involve R&D work on a new product or production process (technological or manufacturing) of significant importance for the economy, based on an identified product, technology or buyers’ market for the given product or technology.

Support under the programme should enable researchers at the start of their scientific careers, namely students, PhD students and young doctors (postdocs), to gain experience in conducting R&D work of significant importance for the economy and society.

The project leader is obligated to organize an open competition to choose the team members. Following such recruitment, the team conducting R&D work in the project should have, beside the project leader, a minimum of 2 members (students, PhD students or postdocs).

As regards remuneration (based on an employment contract), the total costs of remuneration together with non-payroll labour costs are eligible costs. The suggested remuneration under the programme for working full-time on the project is as follows:

  • Project leader – up to PLN 20,000/month
  • Consortium partner representative – up to PLN 15,000/month
  • Young postdoc – up to PLN 15,000/month
  • PhD student – up to PLN 8,000/month
  • Student – up to PLN 4,000/month

Students and PhD students may become team members based on an employment contract or a stipend. The suggested stipend amounts should be within the following ranges:

  • for PhD students PLN 3,500–4,500/month
  • for students PLN 1,500–2,500/month

The project manager (PI) is obligated to ensure any PhD students taking part in the project adequate scientific supervision and to guarantee them mentoring from a second scientific supervisor. As far as possible, the mentor should be an employee of a foreign partner institution, a domestic partner institution or a unit other than the applicant’s place of employment – a research unit or a company conducting R&D work.

The programme is co-financed with the support of the Smart Growth Operational Programme (PO IR).