Research on cancer and new quantum technologies are the challenges to be taken up by three international research centres established in Poland with a total of PLN 109 million in funding awarded by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) under the International Research Agendas programme (IRAP), which supports the creation of leading research centres in Poland.
Two of the new centres will be established in Gdańsk and one in Warsaw. Their work will be led by distinguished researchers recognized globally for their scientific accomplishments. The funding was awarded in the third open competition in the IRA programme through a multi-stage competition procedure involving foreign reviewers and experts.
Quantum technology finds a home at the University of Gdańsk…
The International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies is being established in cooperation with the University of Gdańsk. It will be the second project launched at the university thanks to funding from the IRA programme. The founder and director of the new centre is Prof. Marek Żukowski, and the cofounder and leader of one of the research teams at the centre will be Prof. Paweł Horodecki. The research, which has been awarded nearly PLN 35 million over a period of 5 years, will involve practical applications of quantum technologies, including such projects as conceptual work for quantum computers. According to Prof. Żukowski, “Poland has huge scientific potential in the field of quantum mechanics. But there is a need for new research institutions focusing on quantum technologies, with the appropriate funds at their disposal and capable of hiring the best international experts. Our centre will be such an institution.” The centre’s foreign partner will be the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, one of the world’s finest research centres in this field. The funding received in the IRA programme will finance the work of six research teams.
… and at the University of Warsaw
Another project selected in the third IRA competition will also be devoted to quantum technologies. It was conceived by Prof. Konrad Banaszek, who in cooperation with the University of Oxford will create a research centre at the University of Warsaw focusing on work involving quantum optical technologies. It will be the second project financed by the IRA programme at the University of Warsaw. Prof. Banaszek said, “Our intention is to conduct complex research on optical systems at the quantum level with the aim of developing entirely new methods of communication, detection, metrology, imaging and other practical applications.” Six research teams are expected to work at the new centre. The project received funding of nearly PLN 35 million over five years.
Fighting cancer at the Medical University of Gdańsk
Creation of a new centre specializing in research on acquired genetic anomalies as risk factors for cancer and other illnesses is planned by Prof. Jan Dumański from Uppsala University in Sweden and Prof. Arkadiusz Piotrowski of the Medical University of Gdańsk (GUMed). The project, to be implemented at GUMed, has received support of over PLN 39 million. According to Prof. Dumański, “The main aim of our research is to develop a genetic and functional profile of postzygotic mutations (changes in normal cells resulting from the aging process) and to attempt to apply this in preclinical diagnosis of cancerous conditions—before the first symptoms of cancer appear or it is possible to confirm the existence of cancer through radiology. Because in the overwhelming majority of cases early diagnosis of cancer is the key to the patient’s treatment outlook, our research could make a huge contribution to reducing mortality among cancer patients.” The work will be conducted by five research teams. Uppsala University will serve as the strategic foreign partner.
The International Research Agendas programme (IRAP) has been implemented by the Foundation for Polish Science since November 2015 using funds from the Smart Growth Operational Programme. The programme is designed to enable the establishment of specialized scientific centres in Poland conducting research competitive on a global scale.
In the competitions completed so far (including the current edition), funding of PLN 262 million has been awarded to seven research projects, four being carried out in Warsaw and three in Gdańsk.
Calls for the next competitions in the IRA programme will be announced in January and April 2018.
- Guidebook for applicants and programme website, where you can find a detailed description of the scheme, the terms and conditions of the programme, the application procedure, as well as the official competition documentation.
- Video materials from informational meetings and webinars concerning the IRAP scheme.