The Foundation for Polish Science is getting ready to implement the “International Research Agendas” project co-financed within the 4th axis of the Smart Growth Operational Programme (SG OP), Measure 4.3. The purpose of the project under the SG OP is to create world-class specialised scientific units which apply international best practices for identification of research programmes and themes, HR policy, B+R management and commercialisation of results of B+R activities.
The information below presents the Foundation’s plans regarding the implementation of the “International Research Agendas” project. The terms and procedure of the competition will be laid down in the competition documents to be published by the Foundation on a date determined by the date of signing the project financing agreement.
General information about the project
The “International Research Agendas” project is inspired by the „Teaming for Excellence” programme announced by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme.
The project consists in providing support for specialised independent scientific units in Poland which implement international research agendas developed within strategic cooperation with renowned scientific institutions from other countries.
The total amount of additional funding for the “International Research Agendas” project under the SG OP (Measure 4.3) is approx. EUR 126 million, which will allow for providing support to approx. 10 units responsible for the implementation of International Research Agendas selected in three competitions planned for the years: 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The Foundation plans to announce the first competition and the competition documents under the International Research Agendas project in September 2015. The final selection under the first competition is planned for the second quarter of 2016. The call for applications for the next competition will be announced following the publication of results of the first competition.
The Foundation envisages a parallel competition path for the applicants who plan to use the funds from the International Research Agendas project to promote the projects which obtained additional funding under the first competition „Teaming for Excellence” under the Horizon 2020 programme.
Planned key requirements of the competition
An application may be submitted by a prominent scientist from Poland or from abroad, with recognised scientific achievements (hereinafter referred to as the applicant), who will take the responsibility for the substantive aspect of the project and act as a leader of a research team in the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda, and who will become the manager of such unit.
In justified cases, an application may be submitted by two scientists.
The research agenda proposed by the applicant must be a response to a clearly defined scientific or socio-economic challenge (issue) included in the National Smart Specialisations (NSS)
The research agenda, in addition to a clearly defined research issue, should be characterised by an innovative and competitive approach to the related solution, which should secure for the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda the leading global position among the units dealing with similar research areas.
Essentially, the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda will have to meet the following requirements:
1. Partnership with a leading scientific institution from abroad
A partner in the project will be a foreign scientific institution which conducts research at the highest world level, has significant achievements with respect to the transfer of research results into economy and meets the highest working and research organisation standards.
The partnership will consist mainly in shared introduction in the newly created unit of good practices relating to work organisation and recruitment of researchers run by the International Scientific Committee, whose members are recommended by, among others, partner organisations.
2. Involvement of the International Scientific Committee
The International Scientific Committee will be composed of internationally recognised scientists who conduct research in the area of expertise which is to be developed in the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda. The status of Committee members is also available to entrepreneurs having experience in carrying out research and development activities together with scientists or entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the implementation of new technologies – if this is relevant to the achievement of the unit’s statutory objective. The representatives of the scientific community must constitute at least half of the Committee composition. Moreover, at least half of Committee members must be employed at foreign scientific units.
The International Scientific Committee shall be responsible for:
- preparation, according to the highest international standards, of a research agenda – a genuine research and development programme,
- monitoring of the research agenda and making all the necessary changes, i.e. those resulting from the progress in the research in a given thematic area,
- launching and running competitions to select leaders of research teams, from which the unit manager is to be selected.
The methods of running competitions to select managers of research teams must be in line with the principles concerning the employment of researchers laid down in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers as well as with the competition documents published by the Foundation for Polish Science.
3. Adoption of a legal status which allows for granting the required powers to the International Scientific Committee
According to the enclosed legal opinions, the preferred legal status of a unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda is a foundation whose statutory objective will be to conduct scientific research. The Statutes will allow the foundation, among others, to define and secure the objectives of its activities and the scope of powers of its bodies. Below please find the above-mentioned legal opinions and sample Statutes of a foundation which meets the requirements for a unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda.
A unit which is to implement the International Research Agenda in a form other than foundation will have to meet additional requirements. It will have to:
- enter with a partner unit from abroad into an agreement which guarantees the implementation of the International Research Agenda in accordance with all the requirements specified in the competition documents,
- adopt Statutes which will allow it to fulfil all the requirements laid down in the competition documents with regard to the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda,
- before signing the agreement, provide a financial guarantee as described in the competition documents,
meet any other requirement (if any) laid down in the competition documents.
4. Access to the infrastructure
The unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda should gain access to the existing research infrastructure: laboratories, offices and equipment. (The lease costs of the premises and their maintenance could be financed from the funds of the International Research Agendas project.)
5. Performance of periodic evaluation of all leaders of research teams
At least every 4 years, all leaders of research teams will need to be evaluated by the International Scientific Committee or by the experts appointed by the Committee. The results of the evaluation should have an impact on the terms of further employment at the unit.
Planned procedure for the submission of applications in the first competition – basic information
The applications will be submitted at three consecutive stages.
The deadline for submission of the first part of the application is planned for October 2015.
The first part of the application should contain in the first place:
1. Documents confirming the applicant’s scientific achievements:
- a short CV,
- copies of up to 10 key achievements, including publications, patents and descriptions of implementations from the last 10 years,
- the description of originality of the applicant’s scientific achievements from the last 10 years,
- a list of key projects for which the applicant has obtained funding during the last 10 years (with details of the institution which provided the support and the amount of funding),
- the description of experience in the following areas:
– research management (i.e. administration of research units, participation in scientific boards, coordination of activities of international research consortia)
– international cooperation,
– inter-sector cooperation,
– successful implementations.
2. An outline of the international research agenda – the description of the scientific challenge (issue) and a summary of the research programme which is to contribute to solving the specific issue.
3. A letter of intent from a foreign unit – partner in the project.
4. A short description of the legal status and organisational structure of the unit responsible for the implementation of the International Research Agenda.
5. Letters of intent from one or more local partner institutions (which will, e.g., provide/lease the laboratory space, cooperate in the area of PhD studies).
The deadline for submission of the second part of the application is planned for January 2016.
The second part of the application will contain:
- The International Research Agenda – developed in cooperation with partner institutions, with particular consideration of a partner institution from abroad;
- The description of powers of a partner unit from abroad; the description should contain at least the information about:
- scientific and implementation-related achievements ,
- organisational culture,
- good practices related to the organisation and conduct of research and the evaluation of activities of research teams.
The requirements and deadlines regarding the third part of the application (including the type of and format of information concerning the planned budget of the new unit) will be laid down in the competition documents.
The requirements and deadlines indicated in this announcement may change based on the agreement for financing the International Research Agendas project to be signed by the Foundation.
Legal opinion 1 – Legal opinion 1
Legal opinion 2 – Legal opinion 2
Sample Statute of the Foundation – Sample statute of the foundation
Kinga Słomińska, Leader of the Team for International Research Agendas – tel.: (22) 845 95 46, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dr Tomasz Poprawka, Deputy Director of Programme Division – tel.: (22) 845 95 42, e-mail: email@example.com