START 2016 stipends awarded

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For the 24th time, the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) has awarded START stipends to the most talented young scientists throughout Poland. This year stipends will go to 121 young researchers. The amount of each annual stipend is PLN 28,000, and the total amount earmarked by the Foundation for START stipends in 2016 is nearly PLN 3.5 million.

START is the largest stipend programme in Poland for the best young researchers from all disciplines. It is FNP?s longest-running programme. Over a hundred stipends are awarded in the START programme each year. They are designed to provide financial support to young scientists during the difficult beginnings of their research career and enable them to devote themselves fully to science. The winners may use the stipend for any purpose they choose. As FNP President Prof. Maciej Żylicz puts is, ?This is assistance for young people so that they don?t have to moonlight for money, give private lessons, wash windows on Saturdays and Sundays?but truly just work on science.?

The winners in this year?s edition were selected from 1,291 applicants. They are researchers under age 30 (or 32 if they have taken maternity or childcare leave), about to complete their doctorate or shortly after the doctorate, working at research centres throughout Poland. The average age of this year?s winners in the START programme is 29, and 67% of the winners hold a PhD (in Poland the average age for receiving a doctorate is about 35). The winners of all the competitions combined, including this year?s, now number over 2,700 people.

Since 2009 the Foundation has also awarded distinctions to candidates whose research accomplishments were most highly rated by the competition reviewers. This year three winners received distinctions. Their stipends were raised to PLN 36,000 using funds contributed to FNP through taxpayers? allocation to FNP of 1% of their personal income tax.

An increased stipend was awarded to Dr Michał Pilipczuk from the Institute of Informatics at the University of Warsaw, whose work involves fundamental issues of information science theory. Dr Pilipczuk also has particularly significant and international achievements in the field of algorithm theory (he earned his PhD at age 25). This is the second time Dr Pilipczuk has been recognized in the START programme.

Distinction was also awarded to Dr Piotr Rzymski from the Faulty of Health Sciences at the Poznań University of Medical Sciences, a researcher with impressive scientific achievements in the field of environmental biology as well as an active popularizer of science. The results of the work conducted by Dr Rzymski have greatly contributed to an understanding of the action of toxins produced by cyanobacteria found in waters of Europe, Australia, Asia, Antarctica and North America.

Dr Krzysztof Sośnica from the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy at the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences also received an additional stipend. Dr Sośnica is the co-author of an empirical model of orbits for geodetic satellites and programming for precise analyses of satellite observations. He is also the co-author of a conception for a research mission to Venus.

To ?see a ?list of START 2016 awardees click here.

Congratulations to all beneficiaries!

The diploma award ceremony for START 2016 will take place on 21st of May (Saturday) at 11.00 a.m. at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.