The Centres of Excellence are the prestigious centres of expertise where leading researchers perform highest quality research in the fields defined as national priorities.
In Poland, the first project on the Centres of Excellence was developed as a response to the OECD recommendations formulated in the ‘National Research and Technology Policies: Poland’(Przegląd narodowej polityki naukowej i technicznej: Polska) published in 1996.
The first CoE call was launched in 1999 as a part of the PHARE SCI-TECH II – one of the Pre-Accession Funds. After the evaluation process, only the best 5 out of 59 submitted Polish proposals received funding for 3-year projects. However, the same year the European Commission announced within the 5th Framework Programme another call for the establishment of Centres of Excellence, this time dedicated to the Candidate Countries (INCO call). In the response to the call 185 proposals (34 from Poland) had been submitted. The EC accepted 34 proposals, 9 of them were Polish. As a result, created in 1999 a pilot system consisted of 14 Centres of Excellence.
The new Teaming instrument, under H2020’s Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation initiative, is intended to help improve research performance and increase investment in countries with lower research excellence rankings. On 30 January 2015 the EU announced this grants that will help bridge the research excellence gap between Member States. In total, 169 projects were submitted in response to the first call including 19 from Poland. Among 31 positively evaluated ideas, there were 3 projects CEZAMAT-Environment, with the participation of scientists from Warsaw, WCE – with participation of Politechnika Wroclawska and ICRI-BioM with participation of Politechnika Łódzka.
The second phase of Teaming will start in 2016. A typical project may obtain €15-20M for a duration of five to seven years.
7th Framework Programme
When preparing the FP7, the European Commission decided to implement a new measure
Research Potential in the Convergence Regions (REGPOT) included to the CAPACITIES Programme and being a counterpart of the instrument in the previous FPs. Poland was 2nd in the EU27 REGPOT competition, and gained 21 projects with a total budget of € 67 million.
6th Framework Programme
New type of the call Transfer of Knowledge introduced in the 6th Framework Programme was designed to support leading research centres in Less Favoured Regions (LFR). As before, the results of FP6 calls had been a great success for the Polish institutions as 52 projects (49 coordinated by Poland) obtained financing.
5th Framework Programme
The year 2001 was a crucial point in the further development of the CoE system. The European Commission decided to continue the support for the CoEs in the Candidate Countries by implementing a special FP5 call. The newest programme was based on the experiences from the previous INCO call and included two financing schemes:
- NAS-1 targeted at entities willing to join ongoing projects,
- NAS-2 for entities willing to start their own CoEs
The results of the NAS-2 call appeared to be highly successful for Polish beneficiaries. Polish institutions submitted 246 proposals in total and 85 of them obtained financing (66% of all funded projects). The Polish units received a total sum of € 26 mln.