The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) announced today the second open competition in which scientists may apply for funding to conduct innovative research in research centres pursuing international research agendas. The funds offered under the second competition total PLN 140 million from the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020.
The International Research Agendas (IRA) programme run by the FNP provides an opportunity to create specialised, world-class research units in Poland conducting quality research programmes and pursuing R&D activities on specific global scientific challenge. The IRA programme is addressed to prominent researchers from Poland and other countries who would like to lead a project and manage an entire unit during the first stage of its existence. In order to submit an application and implement an IRA project, researchers must cooperate with a renowned research centre based in another country. Each project will receive the funding required to implement the research agenda. The suggested funding amount for five years is approximately PLN 35 million; the amount may be increased.
The IRA programme is about implementing world-class research in special international institutions; those institutions will operate according to different rules than those currently in existence in our academic system, says Professor Maciej Żylicz, President of the Foundation for Polish Science. It is imperative that the units are created around a prominent researcher, the way it is done in the case of the prestigious German Max Planck Institutes; the researcher will define the scope of the operations of each such institution; the quality of the research must be ensured by an international scientific council, adds Professor Żylicz.
The competition is held in three stages. The first part of the application must be submitted by 30 October 2016. Each application is subject to a three-stage substantive evaluation by foreign reviewers and experts in two panels – a scientific and economic panel and an international expert panel.
The application can be submitted by a researcher with outstanding academic achievements and who is an international authority in his or her area of expertise. Upon winning the competition, he or she will become a research team leader in the unit pursuing the IRA programme, and will be responsible for the management of that unit. The research agenda presented by the applicant should provide the solution to a specific scientific or socio-economic challenge; the project should offer an innovative and ground-breaking approach to solving that challenge, so that the unit may become the global leader in that area. The International Scientific Committee will ensure the quality of the research and the competitions for the research group leaders of in each unit; the committee members may include both distinguished researchers with world-class achievements and businesspeople with experience in running R&D projects or implementing new technologies.
Researchers from Poland and abroad, as well as representatives of research institutions interested in pursuing international research agendas in Poland, are invited to attend an information meeting on the IRA programme, to be held on 8 September 2016 in FNP’s headquarters in Warsaw. The meeting will also be broadcast online. More information
The winners of the first open competition under the IRA programme have already been selected. The winning project was submitted by Professor Tomasz Dietl and Professor Tomasz Wojtowicz from the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. More information
The total budget of the International Research Agendas programme is about PLN 530 million. Up to 10 units pursuing International Research Agendas will receive support from those funds. The programme is co-financed within the framework of Axis IV of the Smart Growth Operational Programme (SG OP). The programme is implemented by the FNP pursuant to an agreement with the National Centre for Research and Development, acting as the intermediary in the programme. The FNP intends to announce subsequent competitions in 2017 and 2018.
Photo: prof. T. Dietl and prof. T. Wojtowicz, winners of the first open competition in the IRA programme, One HD