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The Foundation for Polish Science: focusing on long-term investments for scientific excellence

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Brussels, June 30, 2014: On June 11, The Foundation for Polish Science (Fundacja na rzecz Nauki Polskiej) held a breakfast seminar titled ‘FNP Presentation: Teaming for Excellence’ in Brussels. 

The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) is engaged in the Call for Proposal to support the development of Poland’s scientific excellence. The objective of the seminar was to raise awareness of the applicants endorsed by the FNP and support their bid in the Teaming of Excellence Call for Proposal. 

The FNP is a non-profit institution funding and promoting science in Poland since 1991. It is a leader as the largest source of science funding in Poland outside of the state budget. Some of the Foundation’s main functions are:

  • Supporting distinguished scholars and research teams in all fields of inquiry;
  • Modernizing research facilities; and
  • Assisting innovative ventures and commercialization of scientific discoveries and inventions.

The attendees included representatives of Polish applicants’ excellent partners and representatives of EU Member State stakeholders with an interest in advancing science through Teaming and looking to Poland as an example to learn from. 

Some of the attendees included: 

  • Mr Włodzisław Duch, Under-Secretary of State, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education;
  • Mr Mateusz Gaczynski, Director, Department of Strategy, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education;
  • Ms Malgorzata Misiewicz, Counsellor (research, innovation, and technological development), Permanent Representation of Poland;
  • Dr. Babett Gläser, Scientific Officer, Brussels Office, Max Planck Society
  • Mr Christopher Frieling, EU Policy Officer, Fraunhofer Brussels;
  • Ms Stefanie Ubrig Rodríguez, R&D policy, Madrid Regional Office in Brussels;
  • Ms Csilla Ferenczy, EU Affairs, Hungarian Academy of Sciences;
  • Mr Abraham Trujillo, Research Forum Coordinator, European Foundation Centre; and
  • Mr Royaux David, Attaché, Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union 

At the seminar, Under - Secretary W. Duch answered questions on whether or not Poland plans to launch any initiatives to bridge the gap between researchers and industry, he explained, “Polish companies spend little on R&D and do not cooperate enough with scientists. Mostly because companies are interested in quick fix, in very quick solutions, whereas scientists look into long term processes and benefits. But indeed, Poland has a few programmes aimed at fostering dialogue between research and industry”

Under - Secretary Duch also addressed the question of how Poland deals with managing basic science and applied science, “In Poland there are two separate agencies (National Centre for Research and Development and National Science Centre) which deal with this differentiation. Poland has also a special Ministry of Administration and Digitization which makes effort to apply the latest technologies into different spheres of life of citizens, like e-government, or eHealth”.

In Poland, the identification of smart specialization policy has not been finalized, but regions in Poland have identified areas. This has enabled dialogue between authorities, industry and stakeholders. The deadline for finalizing smart specialization strategies is in 2016. 

Also at the seminar, Prof. Zylicz, President of FNP, explained how the FNP trains people to acquire management skills. He explained, “The FNP chooses scientists who are determined and committed. FNP is exploring plans to launch an initiative on management to support management skills”. 

Furthermore, “In the case of Poland, 10.5 billion Euros of R&D have been allocated to Poland from UE Structural Funds, of which 7.5 billion will be distributed centrally and 3 billion will be distributed through the regions, although, even these will be partly managed centrally. Locally, there is a possibility to fund infrastructure”, he said. 

The ‘excellent partners’, role will be to share their expertise and scientific excellence with applicants from lower performing countries. 

FNP has already notified some candidates about the result of the initial selection for endorsement of their proposals. The excellent partners of Polish applicants include among others, Cambridge University, (4) Max Plank Institutes, (2) Fraunhofer Institutes, Aberdeen University, Glasgow University, Universitätsklinikum Ulm, AstroParticule et Cosmologie CNRS, Würzburg Universität, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

 

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Editor’s Note

The Foundation for Polish Science

The Foundation for Polish Science has been in operation since 1991. It is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit institution which pursues the mission of supporting science. It is the largest source of science funding in Poland outside of the state budget. The Foundation realizes its statutory purposes through:

  • Support for distinguished scholars and research teams in all fields of inquiry;
  • Modernization of research facilities; and
  • Assisting innovative ventures and commercialization of scientific discoveries and inventions.

The Foundation pays special attention to the transparency and openness of its operations, regarding this as the foundation for building the society’s trust in the Foundation and in the entire NGO sector. Financial reporting The Foundation is examined each year by renowned auditing firms. It publishes an extensive report on its operations every year in its Annual Report, available at FNP’s offices and on its website. FNP’s financial reports are submitted to the National Court Register and the competent ministries.

Further information can be found here: http://www.fnp.org.pl/en/ 

 

The Teaming for Excellence Call

The challenge addressed by the Call: Despite its strengths, the European Research and Innovation landscape presents a lot of structural disparities, with research and innovation excellence concentrated in a few geographical zones. These disparities are due to, among other reasons, the insufficient critical mass of science and centres having sufficient competence to engage countries and regions strategically in a path of innovative growth, building on newly developed capabilities. This could help countries and regions that are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation performance reclaim their competitive position in the global value chains. Teaming will address this challenge by creating or upgrading such centres of excellence, building on partnerships between leading scientific institutions and low performing partners that display the willingness to engage together on this purpose.

Scope: Teaming, will involve in principle, two (2) parties: an institution of research and innovation excellence (public or private) or a consortium of such institutions and the participant organisation from a low performing Member State (for example a national or regional authority, or a research agency at national or regional level; the presence of a local partner research institution is encouraged as it could provide additional relevance to the teaming process). Both parties will be required to sign the grant agreement. The coordinator of the project should be the participant organisation from the low performing Member State. 

Expected impact: Actions will lead to the creation of new (or significant upgrades of existing) Centres of Excellence in Member States and regions currently identified as low performers in terms of research and innovation, increasing on the one hand their scientific capabilities and on the other, enabling them to engage in a strategic growth path in terms of economic development. It is also expected that improved scientific capabilities will allow them to improve their chances to seek competitive funding in international fora (including the EU Framework Programmes).

Over the medium to long term there will be a measurable and significant improvement in the research and innovation culture (as shown through indicators such as research intensity, innovation performance, enhanced strategy, values and attitudes towards research and innovation) within Member States currently with low R&I performance. These will be fostered through constructive and sustainable partnerships achieved between research and innovation-intensive institutions of excellence and the partnering organisation in the low performing Member State or region.  

Benefits will also accrue to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of issues such as access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.

Further information: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/2535-widespread-1-2014.html

 

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