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    Foundation for Polish Science Awards Over 3 Million PLN in Scholarships to Young Researchers through the START competition

    Over 3 million PLN will be awarded to 100 winners of the START competition organized by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). The FNP announced on Monday that this year marks the 31st edition of the scholarship program, with recipients receiving an annual grant of 30,000 PLN.

    The START program, established by the Foundation for Polish Science, is the oldest scholarship program in Poland aimed at supporting the most promising young researchers across all scientific disciplines. Its objective is to provide assistance to outstanding young scientists and encourage their further scientific development.

    Out of a pool of 660 candidates, 100 researchers were selected as this year’s winners. The selection process involves multiple stages, with the quality of their previous scientific achievements being assessed.

    According to the FNP, the majority of the laureates for this year represent the fields of biology and medicine, with 28 scholarships awarded in these areas. The University of Warsaw took the lead among institutions, with 14 scholarship recipients, followed by the Warsaw University of Technology with 11, and Wrocław University of Technology with 8.

    The recipients of the program will receive an annual grant of 30,000 PLN. Since 2009, the FNP has also recognized outstanding research achievements through the START Program Distinction, increasing the grant amount to 38,000 PLN for these individuals.

    The START program also includes the Barbara Skarga Scholarship, which is awarded to individuals whose research showcases bold interdisciplinary exploration, opens new research perspectives, and creates new value in science. This year’s laureate of the Barbara Skarga Scholarship is Dr. Zuzanna Miodońska from the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice.

    Since 2015, the Foundation for Polish Science has awarded the Professor Adam Sobiczewski Award within the START program. This award is given to laureates conducting research in the fields of mathematics, theoretical physics, or astronomy. The main criterion for the distinction is the exceptionally high quality of the candidate’s scientific achievements. This year, it was received by Dr. Jan Kwapisz from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw.

    In this edition of the competition, the scholarship with the distinction named after Professor Wacław Szybalski was awarded for the second time. This distinction is given to an outstanding young scientist conducting research in biotechnology, genetics, or molecular biology – the fields practiced by the founder. Izabela Stupka from nCage Therapeutics sp. z o.o. received the scholarship.

    The scholarships in this year’s competition will be financed both by the FNP budget and by funds provided by the program partner, the PZU Foundation, as well as by private donors and from the 1.5% income tax contributions.

    START scholarships have been awarded by the FNP since 1993. Up until 2023, the FNP has recognized 3,400 individuals and granted 4,036 scholarships (between 2002 and 2015, it was possible to receive the START scholarship twice) with a total amount exceeding 93.5 million PLN.

    The START scholarships are a recognition for young scientists who are starting their research careers but have already demonstrated significant research achievements. Young scientists up to the age of 30, or older if they meet the eligibility criteria for an extension, are eligible to apply for the scholarship. The candidates’ accomplishments, documented by patents or publications in recognized Polish and international scientific journals, are assessed by experts in their respective fields.

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