The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) has decided the first competition in the FIRST TEAM programme, which is aimed at funding the first research teams led by PhDs at an early stage of their scientific career pursuing research of groundbreaking scientific or commercial importance.
Thanks to the FIRST TEAM programme, young PhDs from all over the world can obtain funds to establish their first research team—in Poland. In the first competition 118 projects were submitted and ten of them received funding in a total amount of PLN 18.5 million. These funds derive from the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014–2020. The winners will conduct their projects in cooperation with a total of 16 foreign scientific partners. Further competitions are planned through the end of 2019, at an average of twice per year. The call for applications in the next competition will begin on 15 August 2016.
The funds obtained from FNP enable financing of over 20 positions for researchers employed in the projects and nearly 30 stipends for young researchers (undergraduates and PhD students) involved in performing research work. Financing for projects is awarded for three years. The winners were selected in the course of a three-stage merits procedure conducted by foreign reviewers and experts on two panels: a scientific/commercial panel and an interdisciplinary panel.
In the FIRST TEAM programme, young PhDs (regardless of nationality) can obtain funds to finance their first research teams. The subject of the projects, which must be realized in cooperation with a scientific partner (Polish or foreign), should be R&D work with great potential for application or of groundbreaking scientific importance, particularly in the area of the National Smart Specializations. Projects lasting up to 3 years will be funded in the programme, with an opportunity for extension by a further 1 year. Projects may be pursued at research institutions or enterprises, or in scientific/industrial consortia in Poland.