Ten universities have received NAWA grants to support research projects that will contribute to solving current scientific problems of key importance to society. Nine projects are dedicated to pandemic-related research.
The objective of the NAWA Urgency Grants programme is to support the international cooperation of research teams or the mobility of researchers in response to sudden, important and unforeseen social, civilisation and natural events with global or regional implications. The programme was announced in the autumn of 2020. Applications in the call, conducted on a continuous basis, were accepted until the end of last year. The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) awarded urgency grants to researchers from 10 universities. The aggregate sum of funded projects is more than PLN 2 million. The winning projects were selected from 84 applications submitted in the first call.
“NAWA Urgency Grants will go to researchers and their teams conducting international research projects on current scientific challenges. Undoubtedly, one such global challenge today is the fight against the pandemic and its health, economic and social consequences. Therefore, the largest number of NAWA-funded projects is for COVID-19. They represent a wide range of scientific research: from medical and health sciences to education and economics. However, NAWA Urgency Grants are not just about pandemic-related research. We have also co-financed a project concerning mining and metallurgical research in the areas inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” says dr Grażyna Żebrowska, Director General of NAWA.
For example, the programme helped co-finance the project “Implementation of innovative hospital pulmonary rehabilitation based on virtual reality for patients after discharge from hospital (post-COVID-19)” carried out by scientists from Opole University of Technology in cooperation with, among others, the MSWiA (Ministry of Interior and Administration) Hospital in Głuchołazy and the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, USA. The project aims to propose an innovative, comprehensive, hospital-based rehabilitation programme for COVID-19 convalescents.
Another project in the field of medicine will be implemented by Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin in cooperation with the University of Murcia (Spain) and Bethlehem University (Palestine). Researchers will examine the impact of environmental factors on the mental health of nurses caring for COVID-19 patients. The results of the study will be used to construct a research tool and model taking into account the environmental risks to mental health of this professional group.
The University of Lower Silesia in Wrocław received NAWA Urgency Grant for a project in the field of education: “The emerging new school culture and its potential implications in the context of remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic”. The aim of the project is to look at the process of the changing school culture under the influence of remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland and in the UK. Researchers intend to gain an insight into such aspects as student-teacher interaction in the new virtual school reality, parental participation in e-learning, and examine the process of remote education in terms of educational inequalities resulting from the social status of families.
Another example of pandemic-related research undertaken by scientists and co-financed by NAWA is the project “Determinants of a company’s adaptive capacity to a crisis situation. The case of COVID-19”, carried out by researchers from Poznań University of Economics and Business (UEP) in collaboration with scientists from Aalen University (Germany). The project will analyze to what extent individual Polish companies are capable of adapting to crisis conditions caused by the pandemic. The conclusions are to be used, among other things, to develop support measures for companies and to prepare the company and its management to adapt more quickly to the changing environment.
One NAWA Urgency Grant will support salvage studies of recently discovered remains of mine shafts and charcoal piles in the UNESCO mining and metallurgical area of Tarnowskie Góry. The project is run by the University of Silesia in Katowice and the Brandenburg University of Technology (Germany). As the scientists from the University of Silesia point out, the remains of mine shafts and charcoal piles are currently being destroyed as a result of human interference, e.g. during new tree planting, so their salvage studies are planned, especially since they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The main aim of the project is to identify the remains of mine shafts and charcoal piles that are part of the UNESCO area in Tarnowskie Góry in the northern part of the Silesian Highland and to analyze their structure along with determining their absolute age.
Universities which are beneficiaries of NAWA Urgency Grants:
University of Lower Silesia in Wrocław
Koszalin University of Technology
Opole University of Technology
Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin
SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Poznań University of Economics and Business
University of Silesia in Katowice
Medical University of Warsaw
University of Technology, Katowice
The second edition of the programme will be announced soon – in April 2021.