We Know the Winners of FNP’s 2020 START Competition

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The Foundation for Polish Science for the 28th time awarded scholarships in the START program to the 100 most talented young scientists from all over Poland.

The FNP’s START program is the oldest scholarship program in Poland for the best young scientists from all fields of science. The program’s purpose is to support outstanding young scientists and encourage them to further scientific development. Winners of the START program receive an annual scholarship of PLN 28.000. The money can be used for any purpose. Over the 28 years of the program’s duration, more than 3.100 outstanding researchers – including this year’s winners – have received the prestigious scholarship, to whom the FNP has transferred a total of over PLN 84.5 million.

The START program scholarship recipients are selected in a multi-stage competition that assesses the quality of their academic achievements. The program is highly competitive. The current cohort of 100 researchers was selected from a group of 845 candidates. The average age of this year’s winners is 28.5 years, and 44% of the winners have a doctoral degree (in Poland, the average age of obtaining a doctorate is about 35 years). Among the recipients of the award, the largest group represents biological and medical sciences, technical sciences, and the humanities and social sciences. This year, the institutions with most recipients are the Jagiellonian University (22 scholarship holders), the University of Warsaw (12 scholarship holders), and the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan (6 scholarship holders).

Since 2009, the FNP also awards special prizes in the START program to candidates whose research achievements were assessed by the reviewers of the competition as outstanding. Their scholarships will be increased to PLN 36.000. This year, four winners received the distinction:

  • Magdalena Migalska from Faculty of Biology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow,
  • Rafał Muda from the Faculty of Economics at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin,
  • Mgr. Krzysztof Ptaszyński from the Institute of Molecular Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences,
  • Monika Żukowska from the Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

The START program also awards the Barbara Skarga Scholarship to outstanding young scientists whose research is distinguished by the bold crossing of boundaries between various fields of science, the opening of new research perspectives, and the creation of new values in science. This year’s laureate of the Scholarship of Barbara Skarga is Mgr. Katarzyna Chyl from the Marcel Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. She will receive an increased scholarship of PLN 36.000.

Since 2015, the FNP START program also awards the Professor Adam Sobiczewski scholarship to laureates who study mathematics, theoretical physics, or astronomy. The main criterion for the award is the exceptionally high quality of the candidate’s scientific achievements. This year’s competition awarded the scholarship to Mgr. Marcin Karczewski from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, so his scholarship will be increased to PLN 36.000.

Scholarships in the 2020 competition will be financed both from the FNP’s budget and funds provided by the START program partners: the National Bank of Poland (as part of the education in economics program) and the PZU Foundation, but also the FNP’s previous scholarship holders: Dawid Nidzworski’s SensDx and the Institute of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine and Paweł Soluch’s Neuro Device. Moreover, scholarships will be financed from funds provided by private donors and from 1% income tax transfers.

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

[Logos of the above program partners: PZU, NBP, SensdX, Neuro Device]

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