The European Research Council (ERC) last week announced a list of 209 scientists who will receive funding from the Horizon 2020 program with a total value of over half a billion euros. These are "Advanced" grants, each worth several million euros, supporting the best research projects prepared by experienced and renowned scientists. There is not a single scientist or institution from Poland in this group.
In fairness, there are also no scientists from other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which, together with Poland, became members of the EU several years ago. The most grants were awarded to scientists from Germany (53), Great Britain (32), France (21), Italy (14), the Netherlands (13), Belgium (11), Spain, and Switzerland (9 each).
This is not our first failure to distribute EU research money. The competition was very fierce, as funding was obtained only by 8 percent. submitted applications. The problem, however, is that we do not even try, as if recognizing in advance that we are without a chance.
"We do not know the exact statistics yet, but preliminary information shows that institutions from Poland submitted four or five applications under the recent ERC Advanced Grants competition,” Jakub Lackorzyński, press spokesman for the National Center for Research and Development (NCBR), admitted.
It has been like this for years. We are doing a bit better in early-stage researcher competitions ("Starting" and "Consolidator" grants), but out of the billions of euros available each year, our researchers get crumbs. In the years 2007-13, the pool for scientists was €7.5 billion, of which Poles received only 16 grants for a total amount of €18.43 million. In the next seven-year EU budget, there were already €13 billion to be distributed in the "Horizon 2020" program. And we have only won 29 grants for €48.4 million.