- There has never been such a success in the history of our university before. We must recognize it and celebrate this day," Prof. dr. habil. Andrzej Sokala, NCU Rector told the numerous journalists and the audience during the press conference organized in connection with the awarding of the ERC grants to our researchers.
On Tuesday, November 22nd, at noon, the atrium at the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics was filled with journalists and photojournalists from local and national editorial boards, representatives of the University authorities - Prof. dr habil. Andrzej Sokala, NCU Rector, Prof. dr habil. Winicjusz Drozdowski, Dean of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, and Prof. Ireneusz Grabowski, director of the Institute of Physics. There were also numerous university employees.
The time and place were no coincidence. Exactly at noon, the European Research Council (ERC) was announcing the winners of the Starting Grant, one of the world's most prestigious programmes for funding projects that explore, pioneer and push the current boundaries of knowledge.
The just-concluded edition received nearly three thousand applications. The greatest competition was in the area of physical sciences and engineering - as many as 1,224 researchers applied for funding. In total, in the entire competition, the ERC distributed 636 million euro among 408 project authors. The grants will be carried out over five years in 26 European countries by researchers of 46 nationalities. Nearly two thousand jobs will be created thanks to this year's distribution, including for young PhD students, postdocs and engineers.
Only four Poles were among the awardees, including as many as two from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń - from the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics to be exact.
It is with great satisfaction and pride that I announce that the winners of one of the most prestigious scientific competitions in the world are dr habil. Katharina Boguslawski, NCU Prof., and dr Habil. Piotr Wcisło, NCU Prof. My warmest congratulations to you on this spectacular success," said Prof. dr habil. Andrzej Sokala, NCU Rector. - The success of our scientists is not only the opportunity to conduct research at the highest level, thanks to very high funding. It is a globally recognized sign of the level of a researcher, as well as a huge international prestige for our university.
Professor Katharina Boguslawski was awarded a total of EUR 1,218,088 for the project Devising Reliable Electronic Structure Schemes through Eclectic Design. Professor Piotr Wcisło received EUR 1,923,239 for the project New Experimental Methods for Trapping Cold Molecular Hydrogen. This is one of the highest amounts awarded in this round of ERC grants.
Both laureates talked about the importance of the task and the scientific challenges they face in the next five years. They also stressed that the Institute of Physics is the place where they will certainly be able to succeed.
I came to the NCU from the outside, this is not my Alma Mater. Already while employed at the Nicolaus Copernicus University I traveled and worked in the best laboratories in the world. From this perspective, I can clearly emphasize - the Institute of Physics is an absolutely unique place in Poland, where you can do science at the highest world level. I say this with full conviction," explained Professor Piotr Wcisło. - It is in our Institute that the National Laboratory of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics and the Center for Quantum Optics are located - these are the places where we have ultra-modern research apparatus, unique not only in Poland, but also internationally. Out of this, success was bound to emerge. I'm sure that in the near future more awaits us - Nicolaus Copernicus University will join the European, not only Polish, league of research universities.
The awarded researchers will be able to use the ERC funds to cover all necessary expenses, including salaries for team members, research, apparatus, reagents, travel, publications, conference fees and other contracts.