START 2024 Results Announced

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We know the winners of the 32nd competition in the START programme of the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). One hundred outstanding young scientists will receive prestigious stipends.

The START programme of the Foundation for Polish Science is the oldest stipend programme in Poland for the best young scientists representing all fields of science. It aims to support outstanding young scholars and encourage their further scientific development. The START 2024 programme winners will receive an annual stipend of PLN 30,000, which they can use for any purpose.

Full list of START 2024 winners

This year, the Foundation selected one hundred winners from a group of 641 candidates. As many as 34% of all awardees hold a doctoral degree, including 17 women and 17 men (in Poland, the average age for obtaining a doctorate is approximately 35). The total amount allocated by the FNP for START stipends in the 32nd competition is PLN 3,056,000.

The FNP selects START stipend recipients through a multi-stage competition that evaluates the quality of their scientific work to date.

Among the 2024 awardees, the largest group represents biological, medical, and Earth sciences, with 30 stipend in total. The top institutions with the highest number of winners are, again, the University of Warsaw (16 winners), followed by the Wrocław University of Science and Technology (13 winners), and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (11 winners).

Since 2009, the Foundation’s START programme has also awarded distinctions to candidates with outstanding research achievements recognized by competition reviewers. The stipends for these individuals will be increased to PLN 38,000. This year’s distinction recipients are:

  • Elżbieta Wątor, M.Sc. Eng., from the Małopolska Center of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University (Max Planck Research Group) – natural and medical sciences,
  • Justyna Kocik-Król, Ph.D., from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow – chemical and materials sciences,
  • Erwin Wojtczak, Ph.D. Eng., from the Gdańsk University of Technology – technical and exact sciences,
  • Michał Nowakowski, M.A., from the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin – humanities and social sciences.

Moreover, the START programme awards the Barbara Skarga Stipend to individuals whose daring research crosses the boundaries between various scientific fields, opening new research perspectives and creating new values in science. This year’s winner is Anna Dobrowolska, Ph.D., from the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Warsaw.

Since 2015, the FNP’s START programme has also awarded the Professor Adam Sobiczewski Prize for scientific research in the fields of mathematics, theoretical physics, or astronomy. The main criterion for the prize is the exceptionally high quality of the candidate’s scientific achievements. This year’s winner is Piotr Ostropolski-Nalewaja, M.Sc., from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wrocław.

In the 2024 competition, the Foundation awarded the stipend with the Professor Wacław Szybalski distinction for the third time. The FNP grants it to outstanding young scholars who conduct research in the scientific fields practiced by the Founder, namely, biotechnology, genetics, or molecular biology. This year’s grantee is Piotr Włodzimierz, M.Sc., from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.

The Foundation’s budget, private donors, and 1.5% income tax contributions will finance the 2024 stipends.

The call for the next competition applications will begin this fall.

The Foundation for Polish Science has granted the START stipends since 1993. Until 2024, the FNP has awarded 3,500 persons and granted 4,136 stipends in the total amount of more than PLN 96.5 million (in 2002–2015, there was a possibility to receive the START stipend twice).

The START stipend are a token of recognition for young scientists who can already demonstrate significant research achievements, even though they only begin their scientific careers. The programme is open to young scientists under 30 years of age (or older if they receive a statutory extension). Scholars who are authorities in their fields assess the candidates’ output documented by patents or publications in recognized Polish and foreign scientific periodicals. First, an expert panel evaluates all formally correct applications. Next, it refers the best candidates for review. Another three reviewers examine each application qualified for this stage. Then, the FNP’s Management Board selects the winners based on opinions collected at each stage of the assessment process. Finally, the FNP’s Council approves the decision of the Board.

The START programme also offers additional funding – a travel stipend for a study trip to a foreign scientific center – and an opportunity for selected grantees to attend a meeting with Nobel laureates in Lindau, Germany.

Since 2004, funds provided to the Foundation under the 2000 Privatization Act have financed the START stipends. Pursuant to this Act, between 2003 and 2004 2% of funds from the privatization of one person companies of the State Treasury were transferred to the Foundation’s assets; after the Act was amended, the now-defunct Komitet Badań Naukowych (Scientific Research Committee) received such funds from further privatization stages. Other sources of funding for the stipends are donations from private donors and companies, as well as 1.5% income tax contributions.


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