The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) has announced the results of the third edition of the Polish Returns programme. Thirteen scientists will come back from abroad, among others from the universities in Oxford or Princeton or from the US National Institutes of Health, and carry out research in Poland.
Sixty applications from sixteen countries were submitted correctly in the third edition of the Polish Returns programme. The greatest number of applications entailed the return of scientists from the United Kingdom (18), the United States (15), and Germany (7). The remaining researchers wish to come back from: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan. What encourages scientists to return to Polish universities?
‘The Polish Returns programme offers researchers a chance for scientific independence. They can work on their own research project for several years with a team they create themselves. Another incentive are certainly the financial conditions offered by NAWA. The remuneration of the returning scientists is comparable to that received in foreign institutions,’ says Dr. Grażyna Żebrowska, Director General of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.
NAWA’s expert team has selected thirteen best projects submitted by scientists returning from research institutes in the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, and Japan. They will receive funds to carry out at Polish institutions research projects in the areas of natural and exact sciences, medical and health sciences as well as social sciences. NAWA will finance the remuneration of the scientists for the period of 3–4 years, the remuneration of their research teams and, additionally, the resettlement expenses and the costs of adapting the workplace. The aggregate sum of funds provided by NAWA is more than PLN 24.5 million. Moreover, seven projects have been recommended for a starting grant from the National Science Centre (the so called research component) for a total sum of PLN 1.3 million.
‘The projects carried out under the Polish Returns programme that have a research component will be taken into account in the evaluation of scientific units’ quality with regard to the financial effects of research and development. This change was introduced with the amendment to the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 22 February 2019 on the evaluation of the quality of scientific activity,’ Dr. Grażyna Żebrowska explains.
The largest number of scientists participating in the third edition of the Polish Returns programme is going to return to the University of Warsaw (5). Other programme winners will continue their research at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS, the Institute of Organic Chemistry PAS, and the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.
Forty scientists have come back to Poland under the Polish Returns programme so far. They work at Polish universities and research institutes in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Cracow, Poznań, Wrocław and Szczecin, among others. They make use of their foreign contacts and create international research teams, cooperate with the best foreign scientific institutions, publish research articles in prestigious journals affiliated with Polish universities and win prestigious grants, among others from the programmes of the European Research Council, the European Molecular Biology Organisation or Horizon 2020. They win grants from the National Science Centre, as well.
‘The returning scientists make the best use of the knowledge and experience they have gained abroad. Thus, the programme’s beneficiaries are not only the researchers, but also the universities and research institutes that employ them. The scientists have good conditions to carry out their own research ideas, while the Polish scientific centres enhance their scientific potential, position and recognisability in the world,’ says NAWA Director Dr. Grażyna Żebrowska.