Over PLN 140 million in the third open competition in the FNP’s International Research Agendas Programme

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Today, 28 April 2017, the Foundation for Polish Science launched the third open competition in the International Research Agendas Programme. A total of PLN 140 million is being made available to prominent researchers from the entire world who would like to establish autonomous research units in Poland and conduct innovative projects.

Each new research centre can obtain at least PLN 35 million in funding. The funds are to be used for projects conducted by several research groups over the first five years following establishment of a centre. By the end of 2020, the Foundation intends to devote substantial sums to developing at least 10 centres realizing IRAP, employing a total of up to 500 young and experienced researchers from Poland and abroad.

Our overarching goal is to create the conditions in Poland to conduct science on a world level, said Prof. Maciej Żylicz, chairman of the Foundation for Polish Science. It’s very important to us that, in the long run, the IRA Programme promotes a culture of quality in Poland and contributes to the improved standing of Polish science in the world.

Competition applicants may be: individual scientists, tandems consisting of scientists intending to conduct research groups or tandems consisting of a research group leader and a scientist with managerial skills. Applicants propose research topics, a plan for organizing the centre and a vision of its future. The originality and innovativeness of proposed research programmes will be judged in the competition. The programme also calls for the centres established under it to develop economic partnerships when carrying out projects.

Under the IRA Programme, we give scientists the freedom to choose their research topics. The only condition is that the research idea be original and ambitious – that it constitutes a response to some concrete, internationally competitive scientific or social-economic challenge, Prof. Żylicz said. Of course, another key goal of new centres will be to recruit excellent scientists – research group leaders, as well as the most capable young researchers composing the teams. All of this together is meant to help centres realizing IRA to attain leading positions in the world within their fields, Prof. Żylicz added.

Great emphasis is also placed on collaboration with a renowned foreign research centre. The foreign partner will contribute its know-how to projects, in terms of research management, commercialization of research findings and recruitment of the best candidates for conducting research via open, international competitions. The quality of research work and competitions for research group leaders in each centre will be overseen by an International Science Committee, appointed by the director and partners. The Committee will consist of scientists or business people representing the IRA field.

The third open competition under the IRA Programme was launched on 28 April. The application process will take place in three stages. The deadline for submitting the first part of the application is 30 June 2017. Each application will undergo a three-part evaluation conducted by foreign experts sitting on two panels: a scientific-economic and interdisciplinary panel, and a panel of reviewers.

The first competition under the IRA Programme was completed in June 2016. The winning project was submitted by Prof. Tomasz Dietl and Prof. Tomasz Wojtowicz from the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. FNP has allocated nearly PLN 40 million to create the International Centre for Interfacing Magnetism and Superconductivity with Topological Matter (MagTop). The Centre will conduct interdisciplinary research in the fields of materials science, nanotechnology, semiconductor physics, magnetism and superconductivity, contributing to the development of new topological materials.

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Photo: Prof. Tomasz Dietl and Prof. Tomasz Wojtowicz, laureates of the first competition under the IRAP (photo: OneHD). 

The results of the second open competition will be announced in May.

The IRAP is co-financed under the IV axis of the Smart Growth Operational Programme. The FNP plans to announce successive competitions in 2017 and 2018.

Additional information: International Research Agendas Programme