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Poland’s most talented young scientists. NCN prizes for 2023 awarded

On October 11, NCN awards were presented to the winners. The National Science Center awards them to female and male researchers under the age of 40. This year’s ceremony took place in Krakow’s Sukiennice, and the awards themselves have already been received by more than 30 people over the course of 11 editions.

Each year, the prize is awarded in 3 categories:

  • HS – humanities, social, and arts sciences;
  • ST – Science and Technology;
  • NZ – life sciences.

In addition to the award, scientists receive PLN 50,000. The award goes to young scientists with significant achievements in basic research conducted in the country and documented by publications with affiliations to Polish scientific units.  [1]

Winners are selected from among the candidates by the decision of the Chapter – this year, 44 persons were submitted to the competition.

Winners of the NCN Prize in 2023

Life sciences

In the life sciences category, the award went to Łukasz Opaliński, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Wrocław University from the University of Wrocław. His research on fibroblastic growth factor receptors (FGFRs) and their significance in anticancer therapies was honored. Dr. Opaliński is also concerned with the role of galectins (activators of FGFR receptors) in tumorigenesis and immune-related processes.

More generally, the topics of research conducted at UWr concern information exchange at the cellular level. Knowledge of receptors and chemical carriers may allow researchers to reprogram them to exert desired effects on selected cells.

Humanities, social sciences and the arts 

In this field, the award went to Dr Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska, a researcher at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

“I analyse if and how new communities, which I call settlement cultures, were formed in selected areas. I examine how the new inhabitants dealt with things left behind by their predecessors.” — describes her work, cited on the NCN website. [3]

In her research, Dr Ćwiek-Rogalska focuses primarily on areas inhabited by German-speaking communities where Poles (Recovered Territories) and citizens of the then Czechoslovakia settled after World War II.

The winner of this year’s NCN award has held foreign internships at, among others, the University of Cambridge, UCLA in Los Angeles and Charles University in Prague.

Her research is based on hauntology- a philosophical idea by the French thinker Jacques Derrida pointing out that “[…] we always come after someone, whether we want to or not, we are simply after someone and this inheritance determines what our future will look like.” [3]

Science and technology

The NCN award for research in science and technology went to Dr Katharina Boguslawski from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The researcher returned to Poland after spending 26 years abroad. She defended her PhD in quantum chemistry at the Federal Technical University in Zurich. She did her postdoctoral training at the same university, as well as at McMaster University in Canada. [4] 

Dr Boguslawski’s awards include the prestigious Dirac Prize, as well as a number of grants and fellowships awarded. One of these, a SONATA BIS obtained from the National Science Centre, allowed her to set up her own research group.

The award to Dr Boguslawski was for the “construction of a reliable and easy-to-use quantum mechanical model of chemical compounds containing actinide atoms”. The second achievement cited by the Chapter is “the design and development of innovative methods for studying the electron structures and tracking chemical reactions of actinides based on quantum information theory”.

The researcher’s research interests lie at the interface of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. The work carried out by her team makes it possible to model the properties of large-scale chemical molecules without having to do experimental studies.

“We built a new software platform from scratch, incorporating all our theoretical models and tools, starting in 2015. We have reached a point where we can finally tackle larger problems with more efficient models and implementations. The initial results are promising,” says Prof Boguslawski. [5]

The laureates’ lectures available to watch live

In November and December, the prize winners will give online lectures in the ‘Science at the Centre’ series organised jointly by NCN and the Copernicus Centre Foundation. Readings by previous laureates can be found here.

These discoveries represent an invaluable social asset for our society, capable of revolutionizing the market, creating new development opportunities, and introducing innovative changes. Their significant impact on the market is undeniable, serving as a sort of key social resource that drives progress and development within our society.


[1] NCN website, Award of the National Science Centre,, (accessed 18.10.2023)

[2] University of Wrocław website, NCN Award to Prof. Łukasz Opaliński,, (accessed 18.10.2023)

[3] NCN website, NCN Prize Winners 2023,,  (accessed 18.10.2023)

[4] Everything Most Important website, Katharina Boguslawski, Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska and Łukasz Opaliński laureates of the National Science Centre Award 2023,, (accessed 18.10.2023)[5] Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń website, NCN Award for Scientific Excellence, (accessed 18.10.2023)

Marcin Szałaj
Absolwent kognitywistyki na Uniwersytecie Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej w Lublinie. Dziennikarz i copywriter, który od lat na bieżąco śledzi wszystkie doniesienia ze świata nauki i działa na rzecz jej popularyzacji.
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Marcin Szałaj

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