23.10.2017 ? for projects from outside of the Mazowieckie Province

    30.06.2018 ? for TEAMING programme beneficiaries

    20.12.2017 ? standard competition

    29.06.2018 ? standard competition

  • Apply here

Table of contents:

1. About: The International Research Agendas Programme (IRAP) at a glance

2. Summary of IRAP

3. Eligibility and suitability

4. Subject scope

5. What we offer

6. What you need to apply

7. Application and Evaluation Process

8. Applicant’s checklist

About: The International Research Agendas Programme (IRAP) at a glance

  • Career stage: Senior PI ? The applicant should have a similar profile to applicants for directorial positions in scientific institutions around the world.
  • Applicant’s country of origin: Anywhere. The applicant?s country of origin/residence is irrelevant in the application process.
  • Project goal: Creation of a world-class centre of research excellence.
  • Type of resource: Funding for research teams and projects as laboratory space rental (very limited infrastructure funding available).
  • Level and duration of funding: minimum 35 million PLN for 5 years.
  • Project location: Project must be implemented in Poland.

Summary of IRAP

The International Research Agendas programme provides support for specialised, independent research units in Poland which will pursue international research agendas in strategic cooperation with renowned scientific institutions from other countries. The scope of the proposed research as well as the project lead?s international standing are key for the research centre?s success and its international scientific visibility. The challenge itself as well as the proposed means of solving it must be important enough so that the results of the research will be likely to be published in top scientific journals and presented at prestigious scientific meetings.

The grant should lead to the creation of highly specialized, world-class research centres which apply the best international practices with regards to:

  • HR policy
  • R&D management
  • Commercialisation of R&D results.

Eligibility and suitability

Applications should be submitted by renowned researchers with significant scientific achievements complemented by considerable managerial experience. The applicant can be a citizen of Poland or any other country, including from outside the European Union.

Where required, e.g. if the application covers interdisciplinary research, the application may be submitted by two researchers. However, it should be clearly indicated in the application form which of the researchers is the principal applicant. The application can also be submitted by two researchers if the secondary applicant will be applying to take on the role of Scientific Affairs Director.

The applicant applies to be the director of the new institution. Therefore, all the applicants have to be fully committed to implementing the IRAP and therefore be based at the institution for at least 0.5 FTE.

NB: The evaluation criteria listed below concern the principal applicant.

Subject scope

Applications in the following broad subject categories will be accepted:

  1. Medical engineering technologies, including biotechnologies
  2. Medical diagnostics and treatment of lifestyle diseases and personalized medicine
  3. Production of medicinal products
  4. Innovative technologies, processes and products of the agri-food and forestry-wood sectors
  5. High quality food
  6. Biotechnological processes and products of specialised chemistry and environmental engineering
  7. High efficiency, low-emission and integrated manufacturing, storage, transmission and distribution of energy systems
  8. Smart and energy efficient construction
  9. Environmentally friendly transport solutions
  10. Modern technologies of sourcing, processing and use of natural resources and the production of substitutes
  11. Minimizing waste including unfit for processing and use of materials and energy waste (recycling and other recovery methods)
  12. Innovative solutions and technologies in water and waste management
  13. Multifunctional materials and composites with advanced properties, including nanoprocesses and nano-products
  14. Sensors (including biosensors) and smart sensor networks
  15. Smart networks and geo-information technologies
  16. Printed, organic and flexible electronics
  17. Automation and robotics of technological processes
  18. Photonics
  19. Smart creative technologies
  20. Innovative maritime technologies pertaining to specialist vessels, maritime and offshore structures and Logistics based on maritime and inland waterway transport

This list encompasses all the Polish National Smart Specializations.

What we offer

The Foundation will provide support and assistance throughout the application and implementation period.

We anticipate that each project will receive a minimum of 35 million PLN for the first five years.

Project funding will include costs of R&D work conducted by the unit implementing the IRAP, costs connected with the efficient functioning of the unit, costs of operating existing infrastructure, cooperation between partners, and knowledge transfer. However, support for new infrastructure will be limited to the purchase of essential laboratory equipment and fit-out. Funding will also cover the costs of research staff development related to project implementation.

No significant funding is provided for infrastructure or large-scale equipment.

What you need to apply

  1. A local partner institution

IRAP does not provide funding for building new infrastructure and significant equipment purchases therefore, for many scientists and in many fields, a partnership with a local, Polish institution which will provide the space and equipment, is necessary. The partnership can also involve joint actions relating to doctoral or other research cooperation projects.

The Foundation is happy to provide any assistance applicants may require in finding and contacting appropriate partners in Poland.

  1. An International Research Agenda ? i.e. A research plan

The International Research Agenda is a research programme that defines a challenge (problem) of a scientific or socio-economic nature (within the National Smart Specialisations framework) and the working method and approach to dealing with the challenge, and that provides a substantial basis for the establishment of a research centre.

In addition to the precisely defined research problem, the research agenda should be characterised by an innovative and competitive approach to solving it, which should guarantee the IRAP centre the position of a global leader.

The first Research Agenda is created by the Applicant(s) in cooperation with partner institutions, in particular the foreign partner unit described below.

  1. A foreign partner institution

The strategic foreign partner of the project is a foreign research centre (public or private), which conducts scientific research at a world-class level, has vast experience of application research and meets top professional and organizational standards.

The partnership primarily involves the following:

  • joint implementation of good practice on work organization, commercialization of research work results and conduct of research
  • delegating representatives to the IRAP International Scientific Committee
  • research cooperation is a complementary, but not the primary, role of the partner.

Note: Any institution in which the applicant was formerly employed at or is currently employed at can be a partner if it fulfils the other criteria.

  1. Legal form for the centre

The IRAP implementing unit can adopt a number of legal forms:

  • A Foundation whose statutory objective is to conduct scientific research. The statute of the foundation will set out its activities and the responsibilities of its governing bodies, lay out the method of cooperation with a foreign partner unit, as well as ensure the durability of the adopted objectives and competence.

A sample statute of a foundation complying with the terms of the competition can be downloaded from the IRAP website: click here.

  • A unit operating under an international agreement (e.g. a joint unit of a Polish and a foreign higher education institution).
  • Other options are also possible however they all need to fulfil the Competition Documentation requirements.
  • Existing institutions can also apply, however a number of important conditions need to be met following the awarding of the grant, which include the role of the International Scientific Committee and staff evaluations.

The applicant can use the expert opinion on the various legal forms of entities, made available by the FNP on the programme’s website. Where the assumptions of the expert opinion differ from the assumptions of the competition as stated in the IRAP Competition Documentation, the rules provided for in the Competition Documentation take precedence.

Application and Evaluation Process



  • The application process is conducted in English ONLY
  • The application is completed and submitted on-line ONLY
  • Please follow detailed instructions
  • Use forms where provided

First stage of application

If you are interested in applying for the International Research Agendas Programme the documents listed below need to be submitted online by June 30th 2017.

What we require:

  • Documents confirming the profile of the applicant (incl. downloadable templates for list of achievements and list of invited talks and list of funded projects)
  • An outline of the international research agenda (as per downloadable form)
  • A letter of intent from the foreign partner (the competition documentation lists the minimum content requirements)
  • A short description of the legal status and organizational structure of the IRAP center
  • Letters of intent from local partner institutions ? if applicable (no more than 2)
  • Description of socio-economic impact
  • IRA site information (as per downloadable form)
  • Optional ? letters of intent from economic partners (no more than 2)

Evaluation criteria:

  • The project falls within a field of research listed in the current version of the National Smart Specialisations list (YES/NO)
  • The project meets the objectives of the programme with respect to the proposed legal form and management objectives of the unit carrying out the IRA (0-5 points)
  • The project meets the objectives of the programme with respect to the required international partnership and role of partners (0-5 points)
  • The project meets the objectives of the programme with respect to the importance of the IRA for the socio-economic development of Poland and contributes to the increase of the commercialisation of research results (0-5 points)
  • The applicant guarantees that the project?s aims will be achieved (0-5 points)

Second stage of application

What we require:

  • The Full International Research Agenda ? a research program for the IRAP center (5 – 7 teams) ? as per downloadable form
  • The description of the strategic partner institution from abroad (organizational culture)

Evaluation criteria:

  • Competitiveness of the proposed agenda on international level (max. 10 points)
  • Evaluation of the applicant’s competences (max. 10 points)
  • Evaluation of the competences and involvement of the partner unit(s) (max. 10 points)

Third stage of the evaluation

What we require:

  • Operational rules of the IRAP unit
  • Budget of the IRAP center (as per online table)
  • International agreements
  • Statute
  • Schedule for the first 5 years
  • Development plan
  • Indicators (as per downloadable form)
  • Impact on sustainable development

Evaluation criteria:

  • Potential for carrying out the project at the unit specified in the application (0-3 points)
  • The planned indicators guarantee achieving the project?s aims (0-3 points)
  • The project will have wider influence on the understanding of the role of science in the economic and social development of Poland (0-3 points)
  • Carrying out the project will have a positive influence on creating high standards of science management and the commercialization of research results in Poland (0-3 points)

Applicant’s checklist

  • All required fields in the electronic form were completed in English.
  • All attachments were uploaded to the ?Attachments? tab.
  • No more than two letters of intent were uploaded in each section dedicated to project partners.
  • Letters of intent were signed by authorized persons, and if relevant, an additional page with the authorization has also been uploaded.
  • Where appropriate the correct downloadable forms were used.
  • The applicant?s statement was printed, signed and uploaded.
  • The application was submitted by clicking the ?Submit application? button.

If you have any other questions please contact the team ? we?re here to help you.

Detailed information on the International Research Agendas programme available from:

Kinga Słomińska, head of International Research Agendas section, +48 22 845 95 46, e-mail: kinga.slominska@fnp.org.pl

Dr Maria Pawłowska, programme officer, +48 22 311 84 30, e-mail: maria.pawlowska@fnp.org.pl

The programme is funded under axis IV of the Smart Growth Operational Programme, Measure 4.3.