HOMING┋Postdoctoral fellowships for young postdocs coming to Poland from abroad
The aim of the HOMING programme is to improve the human potential in the R&D sector by financing breakthrough projects designed as postdoctoral fellowships, carried out by young doctors (postdocs) from all over the world (regardless of nationality), with a special focus on the return to Poland of outstanding scientists of Polish descent, at research units or companies in Poland, working in the most innovative areas, with the involvement of a scientific partner, i.e. local or foreign research partner.
Eligible applicants are those young doctors (regardless of nationality) who have had a doctoral degree for not longer than 5 years, where the start of this period is defined by the year of obtaining the degree and the end – by the year preceding the deadline for submitting applications in the competition. The 5-year period may be extended to a maximum of 9 years from obtaining the degree on the terms set down in the competition documentation.
At the same time, the applicant has to fulfil all of the following conditions:
- having stayed outside Poland uninterruptedly for at least 9 months for the purpose of conducting scientific research;
- intending to come to Poland no later than on the project’s starting date, or having come to Poland no earlier than in the year preceding the deadline for submitting applications in the competition.
For the duration of the project, the project manager (principal investigator; PI) shall be employed at the unit, with a commitment of at least 60% of a full-time employment for the purposes of project realisation.
Projects lasting up to 24 months will be financed under the programme.
The Foundation does not determine in any way the maximum amount of the project budget that can be claimed with the competition application, however, for the purpose of estimation, the average budget of the HOMING project is approximately PLN 800,000 for the project lasting 24 months. The project budget submitted with the competition application should be planned accordingly by the Project Manager, i.e. reflecting appropriately all the costs necessary to carry out the project, as for the day of submission of the application.
In subsequent editions of the programme, the final deadline for project completion and any project extensions is 31 December 2023.
Financing under the HOMING programme will be provided to projects whose subject matter is listed on the National Smart Specialization (NSS; PL – KIS) list (see below); in exceptional cases, while giving preference to NSS areas, the Foundation may agree to finance projects involving topics not on the NSS list if they show significant application potential or importance for solving a major socioeconomic problem.
Projects under the programme can be implemented in one of two options:
- by research units to the extent to which they do not conduct economic activity (without granting state aid),
- by enterprises (pursuant to the principles of granting state aid for R&D activity).
In the HOMING programme, the participation of at least one scientific partner from Poland or another country is mandatory.
Applications submitted in the competition will be subject to a formal and merit-based evaluation. After receiving a positive formal evaluation, applications will undergo a three-stage merit-based evaluation:
In stage one, the merits of the applications will be evaluated by a group of experts (a scientific and economic panel, or SEP) having proper scientific achievements or experience in implementing innovative solutions in the R&D sector.
In stage two, the applications will be evaluated by at least two third-party reviewers.
In stage three, the applicants who qualify will be invited to an interview with an interdisciplinary panel of experts (IPE). The panel will include experts representing different fields of science and, optionally, an expert in the role of an observer.
The panel of experts will then compare the applications and draw up a ranking list as well as evaluating them on the basis of the criteria set down in the competition documentation.
The terms of participation are the same for all applicants and are described in detail in the programme’s competition documentation.
Projects to be carried out under the HOMING programme should involve research that will contribute to solving current or arising scientific problems that are relevant for the developing global market or will make a significant contribution to solving important challenges faced by society today.
A project may also involve R&D work on a new product or production process (technological or manufacturing) of significant importance for the economy, based on an identified product, technology or buyers’ market for the given product or technology.
Support under the programme should enable researchers at the start of their scientific careers, particularly young postdocs, to gain experience in conducting R&D work of significant importance for the economy and society.
As part of the project, the project manager (PI) may employ additional staff to carry out the R&D work, to be chosen in open competitions, in particular students or PhD students.
Rates of remuneration to be utilized within funded projects shall be competitive on an European scale, therefore, similar rates applicable in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) were used for benchmarking.
As regards remuneration (based on an employment contract), the total costs of remuneration together with non-payroll labour costs are eligible costs. The eligible remuneration costs under the programme for working full-time on the project are as follows:
- Project manager – PLN 17,500/month
- PhD student – PLN 8,000/month
- Student – PLN 4,000/month
Students and PhD students may become team members based on an employment contract or a stipend. The stipend amounts should be within the following ranges:
- for PhD students PLN 3,500–4,500/month
- for students PLN 1,500–2,500/month
The project manager (PI) is obligated to ensure any PhD students taking part in the project adequate scientific supervision and to guarantee them mentoring from a second scientific supervisor. As far as possible, the mentor should be an employee of a foreign partner institution, a domestic partner institution or a unit other than the applicant’s place of employment – a research unit or a company conducting R&D work.
The programme is co-financed with the support of the Smart Growth Operational Programme (PO IR).
National Smart Specialization areas
The 18 national smart specializations (national priorities in the field of R+D+I) were grouped into five thematic areas:
- 1. Medical engineering technologies, including medical biotechnologies
- 2. Diagnosis and treatment of civilization diseases and personalized medicine
- 3. Production of medicinal products
Agri-Food, Forestry-Timber and Environmental Bioeconomy
- 4. Innovative technologies, processes and products of the agri-food and forestry-timber industry
- 5. Healthy food (high quality and organic production)
- 6. Biotechnological processes and products of household chemistry and environmental engineering
- 7. High efficiency, low-emission and integrated energy production, storage, transmission and distribution systems
- 8. Smart and energy efficient construction
- 9. Environmentally friendly transport solutions
Natural Resources and Waste Management
- 10. Modern technologies for sourcing, processing and use of natural resources and production of substitutes thereof
- 11. Minimising waste, including waste unfit for processing and use of waste for material and energy purposes (recycling and other recovery methods)
- 12. Innovative technologies for processing and recovery of water and reducing its consumption
Innovative Technologies and Industrial Processes (in Horizontal Approach)
- 13. Multifunctional materials and composites with advanced properties, including nano-processes and nano-products
- 14. Sensors (including biosensors) and smart sensor networks
- 15. Smart grids and geo-information technologies
- 16. Electronic based on conducting polymers
- 17. Automation and robotics of technological processes
- 18. Optoelectronic systems and materials