Bernacki: Draft Amendment to the National Science Center Act Is Done

The MEiN Department of Science and a specially appointed team have drawn up a draft amendment to the National Science Center Act. The further procedure depends on political decisions, Deputy Minister of Education and Science Włodzimierz Bernacki told PAP.

PAP asked Deputy Minister of Education and Science Włodzimierz Bernacki about the planned system changes in the laws on science and scientific institutions. In response, he pointed to the draft changes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the draft amendment to the law on the National Science Center.

“At the level of MEiN, the department of science to be precise, we have prepared a draft amendment to the law on the National Science Center,” Bernacki said. However, he notes that it depends, among other things, on what the financial consequences of these changes will be. He added that a team specially appointed to prepare an amendment to this law was also working on the bill.

Bernacki, when asked about the commencement of work in parliament on this draft, stated that the ministry was waiting for “political and administrative decisions” and therefore could not specify the date. As he said, “the project is being discussed among several scientific communities.”

“Critical comments about the National Science Center’s activities to date have been driven primarily by scientists, but also by political circles, from the left, the center, and the right. Among the critical remarks are serious concerns about the transparency of grant award procedures,” the deputy minister said, pointing to the problem of the scientist’s inability to effectively appeal a negative decision when applying for a grant.

Bernacki admitted that the NCN has not participated in the work on the project so far. “At this stage, consultation of the draft was not warranted, if only because the National Science Center failed to notice the phenomena that were negatively assessed by scientists applying for research funding. After the government and presidency approve the draft amendment proposal, it will be sent for consultation in the general procedure prescribed for all other legal acts “- he added.

In the published on January 24 this year. During the interview, the head of MEiN Przemysław Czarnek told PAP: “A thorough amendment of the law on the National Science Center is ready. Today (on Friday – PAP) Deputy Minister Włodzimierz Bernacki will submit the draft to the list of legislative works so that the government can start working on it in the coming weeks and in the middle of the year, and at the latest within the next six months, the new provisions of the National Science Center Act could already apply.” He added that these activities are intended to make the grant process “more transparent and fair”.

In January, citing announcements of changes planned by the ministry, the National Science Center told PAP that it operates in accordance with the best European standards, in a transparent manner, awards grants solely on the basis of substantive principles and the best finance projects.

“Information about possible changes to the functioning of the National Science Center is of concern to us, but should worry us about even more thousands of scientists from all over Poland, often young ones, who, thanks to the National Science Center’s programs – and our collaboration with the National Center for Research and Development – PAP) and NAWA (National Agency for Academic Exchange – PAP) – they have the opportunity to conduct research, build their own teams, give scholarships to doctoral schools or employment in Polish research units, implementation of internships abroad in key research centers “- emphasized Anna Korzekwa-Józefowicz from NCN.

The NCN is an implementing organization established in 2010 to support scientific activities in the field of fundamental research. Its duties include: research funding, implementation monitoring and international cooperation (PAP)

Author: Szymon Zdziebijowski

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