21 February 2024

The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA), together with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), is recruiting applications for a support program for Ukrainian scientists: IMPRESS-U. Thanks to an initiative by the U.S. NSF, one of the largest research and education funding agencies globally, there will be support for scientific and technical projects integrating Ukrainian scientists into the international research community.

NAWA, as part of its commitment, will fund at least ten supplemental grants, the called International Supplements, aimed at expanding existing research projects funded by the U.S. NSF with new components and partnerships: with researchers from Ukraine and Poland.

“As part of our budget we will fund salaries for group members, scholarships, mobility-related costs, and other research-related expenses. The total project budget on the Polish side within a single project cannot exceed  PLN 1 million for a period of 2 years,” said NAWA’s Deputy Director, Dr. Zofia Sawicka. She added that the first three projects have just been approved for implementation.

U.S. National Science Foundation is humbled by the overwhelming number of high-quality proposal submissions we received for the IMPRESS-U program. We pay particular attention to the clarity and breadth of the proposed research, novelty and uniqueness of the research approach, roles of international collaborators and other partners, and likely potential of making a meaningful contribution towards integration of Ukrainian researchers into the global research community. The creation of a state-of-the-art research/education/innovation ecosystem in Ukraine is of great significance. We expect that many of the funded projects will become enduring productive collaborations for years to come” – said Dr. Maija M. Kukla – Program Director at the Office of International Science and Engineering of the U.S.NSF.

The first project “Integration of UA-PL-USA students and researchers with advanced science and technology of amorphous materials”,  is coordinated by Yaroslav Shpotyuk, PhD from the University of Rzeszów. The uniqueness of this project lies in combining the expertise and knowledge of three participating institutions: the University of Rzeszów, Austin Peay State University, and Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, in the implementation of three sub-projects which belongs to one common area – amorphous materials science.

Each sub-project was proposed by different institution and will be supervised by their senior researcher, while two remaining institutions will be participating in realization. Implementation of the project is expected to bring new diagnostic methods in medicine, as well as breakthroughs in antibacterial coating materials and new applications of amorphous materials in photonics.


“The primary goal of this project is to engage students from participating institutions in international scientific collaboration. The creation of joint research teams, composed of students and scientists, aims to harness the scientific and intellectual synergy from different educational systems in Poland, Ukraine, and the USA. Furthermore, this project will allow its participants to familiarize themselves with the culture of other countries involved in the project.,” says Dr. Yaroslav Shpotyuk from the University of Rzeszów.


Prof. Yuriy Tomilow from the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences is the coordinator of the second project entitled “Spectral and geometric methods for perturbed wave equations with applications to fiber lasers”. The project is about applied mathematics and is at the intersection of the dynamical systems theory, analysis and mathematical physics. It will include research on spectral and asymptotic properties of perturbed wave equations on manifolds and metric graphs, as well as the application of the properties to modeling fiber lasers.



The third project, co-financed by NAWA and titled “A Universal Biosensing Platform Amplifying Signals Produced by NAD+/NADH-Dependent Enzymes” will be implemented at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw. Dr. Klaudia Kaniewska serves as the representative of the University of Warsaw in this project. The aim of the project is to create innovative multi-signal-regulated systems that integrate a chimeric enzyme with “smart” hydrogels and magnetic nanoparticles. This will open up new possibilities in various areas of biosensing, including biomedical, environmental, and forensic applications.

Dr. Klaudia Kaniewska emphasizes that this collaboration is important, among other reasons, due to its multidisciplinary and international nature. “The proposed research requires a multidisciplinary approach, as it is a combination of different research fields (synthetic biology, bioelectrochemistry, material chemistry “smart”-signal responding materials) all leading to the results in biosensing which cannot be obtained without this multi-disciplinary approach, therefore work within the international team is key to the project’s success. It is great opportunity to establish long-term cooperation and exchange experiences, and it also has an educational aspect by introducing junior researchers to the international scientific” says Dr. Kaniewska.


Prof. Mykhailo Gonchar from the Institute of Cell Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine adds: “It should be noted that the signal-amplified and signal-switchable enzyme systems will find many applications in scientific and technological areas related to biosensing, but not being exactly used for traditional sensing applications. These applications will include, but will not be limited by, enzyme-based unconventional computing systems where signal processing will be performed in a binary (0,1 / Truth/False) mode mimicking Boolean logic operations and other computational tasks (e.g., half-/full-adder, keypad security devices, etc.). Another possible application may include bioelectronic systems with switchable performance, e.g., signal-controlled biofuel cells operating as implantable or wearable bioelectronic devices with an adaptivity function.”


According to Dr. Marcin Karbarz from the University of Warsaw, these basic research studies hold the promise of numerous applications for a universal biosensor integrated with signal-responsive materials. ” The results will lead to a new generic concept of biosensing with simple adaptation to different analytes measured with very high sensitivity (sub-nanomolar concentrations) being controlled by various physical signals (electric or magnetic). This will open novel possibilities in different sub-areas of biosensing, including biomedical, environmental, forensic, homeland security, etc. applications” adds Dr. Karbarz.


IMPRESS-U (International Multilateral Partnerships for Resilient Education and Science System in Ukraine) is the result of an international agreement between grant organizations from six countries: USA (U.S.NSF and NASEM), Poland (Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange and NCN), Ukraine (NRFU), Estonia (ETAG) , Latvia (LCS) and Lithuania (RCL). The IMPRESS-U program will support research in any field of science, engineering, education and innovation. As part of the partnership, proposals for joint ventures carried out by American scientists in cooperation with scientists from Ukraine and researchers from at least one partner country may be submitted to the U.S.NSF. Projects that increase efficiency within international partnerships, support scientific staff and contribute to building a modern ecosystem of research, education and innovation in Ukraine will be particularly sought after.

The call for applications is ongoing until June 30, 2024.

More information about the call: https://nawa.gov.pl/en/scientists/impress-u