The majority of them are from Ukraine, Germany and India. 34 scientists from around the world have been employed by the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology (Polish Academy of Sciences). The researchers, including chemists, biologists, linguists and psychologists, have moved to Poland within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) programme established by the European Union.

Among the 668 scientists who have moved  at the Vistula river, there is Rohan Soman from India. He works at the Gdansk Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery. I have to admit that when I came across this opportunity, I did not know much about Poland, emphasizes the doctoral student. But I quickly found out that the classes are at a high level here and the institute is a prestigious research unit with  stable funding. I specialize in mechanics and investigate the influence of wind turbines on health. I have been offered a job at the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery after completing the scholarship, so my adventure with Poland will not end, says Rohan Soman.

He is one of the 27 Indian researchers who moved to Poland in the last 10 years within the MSCA grant. The same number of researchers are from Spain. The largest group is from Ukraine – 34, Germany – 32 and Italians – 24.

The scholarships are given for a period of one to three years. They are granted to scientists who already have a PhD or 4 years of experience in research, explains Anna Wiśniewska from the Polish National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the European Union, who helps researchers win EU funding, including grants for international travels. The programme finances living and travel expenses,, family allowances and research. The money goes to the university or company that hosts the scientist from abroad, says Anna Wiśniewska.

Thanks to MSCA, foreign researchers were employed, among others, by Top Gan – the manufacturer of semiconductor laser diodes, as well as by CTA – specializing in medical imaging and virtual reality. The programme is implemented by academic institutions, including the Polish Academy of Sciences: the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology and the Institute of Physical Chemistry.

International mobility is an inherent part of the scientific profession. Participation in international conferences, research projects or applying for fellowships to do research in another country are activities which are crucial for scientific research at the highest level, says Adam Szewczyk, Director of the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. Such conditions are provided to our employees and under such conditions we host foreign researchers, stresses prof. Szewczyk.

Professor Marcin Opałło from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw points out that these several hundred foreign scholars working in Polish scientific centers are a valuable energy shot: Thanks to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, 27 foreigners were admitted to our institute. They are Ukrainians, Belarusians, but also Germans and Indians. Apart from being excellent experts, they also bring a little different perspective based on their experience gained in their countries. It is really precious, believes director of the institute.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme has been in operation since 1997. At the time, it has supported the careers of 135,000 scientists from around the world. Among them are eight Nobel Prize winners, but also an Oscar prize winner (for engineer programmers in the ‘special effects’ category). The MSCA grants focuse on career development but also on international mobility of experts. The scholarships are given to the best and most promising researchers from all over the world. Beneficiaries either come to Europe from other continents or move from one EU country to another. The grants can be used also outside the Old Continent, but in that case the researcher after his secondment has to return to Europe for one year.

This important scholarship program commemorating the Polish chemist and two-time Nobel prize winner Maria Skłodowska-Curie is funded by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020.