10 Dioscuri Centres of Scientific Excellence will be launched in Poland

Ten Dioscuri Centres of Scientific Excellence will be established at Polish scientific institutions. The signing ceremony of the agreement between the National Science Centre and the German Max Planck Society will take place on July 4th at the Wawel Castle in Kraków.

Signing of the agreement was announced in the National Science Centre release sent to PAP on Thursday.

Dioscuri is an initiative of the Max Planck Society (MPG), Germany’s independent research institution, intended to establish Centres of Scientific Excellence in Central and Eastern Europe. The Centres will enable outstanding researchers to carry out research at the highest level in scientific units located in this part of Europe. The signing of the agreement between the MPG and the National Science Centre (NCN) scheduled for July 4, will inaugurate the programme.

Ultimately, ten Dioscuri Centres specialising in various fields of science will be established in Poland, with existing organisations acting as their host institutions. Each newly established Centre will cooperate with a German Mentor Institution, and its funding will be provided by the National Science Centre from the funds contributed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The launch of the Centres was announced in April at Hannover Messe by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin. He said at the time: "The intention of the Polish and German parties is that these ten centres represent different areas of science. We will start with science, engineering and life sciences - but we would like to also create a centre of excellence specialising in the humanities and social sciences".

"Dioscuri Centres of Scientific Excellence offer an opportunity to bring outstanding researchers to Poland - leaders, who will set up their research teams here. Selection of these leaders will follow a rigorous competition procedure, with international experts as referees, under the auspices of the renowned Max Planck Society. The same group of experts will later evaluate the progress of the teams’ work" - explained Prof. Marta Miączyńska, a member of the Council of the National Science Centre involved in the programme’s launch.

The Centres will be established by outstanding scholars, selected in a series of international competitions. The researchers and their respective scientific institutions will start to compete for the opportunity to establish these Centres in October 2017. The winners will be announced in 2018. In the pilot edition there will be up to three winners, and thus up to three Centres will be established.

"The Dioscuri programme is an excellent opportunity for Polish research units to set up new, world class teams. I hope that our universities and research institutes will use this opportunity and make every effort to ensure the best possible conditions for these largely international teams. The National Science Centre will certainly systematically monitor this during the course of the programme" - said Prof. Zbigniew Błocki, Director of the National Science Centre.

The scientific institution that wins the competition will receive the equivalent of EUR 300 thousand per year to spend exclusively on the Centre’s operations. The remuneration for the head of each Centre will be at an internationally competitive level. A project leader will be paid EUR 100,000 per year. The funding period is 5 years, and may be extended by further 5 years (subject to positive evaluation and availability of funds).

"I am hoping that the Dioscuri Centres will influence their immediate surroundings at Polish research units, promoting high standards and scientific excellence" - concluded Prof. Miączyńska.

Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland