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II.3.11. Creation of the International Research Network in Applications of Subatomic Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry to Investigation of the Early Universe

IDUB Programme Objective(s)

  • II.3 Improving the capacity to cooperate by increasing research capability

Name of POB/activity group



To establish the Research Network “Early Universe”, which will support, integrate, intensify, and initiate research in subatomic physics, astronomy, geochemistry, and mineralogy at the University, with particular emphasis on areas related to understanding early stages in the evolution of the Universe.


There are active theoretical and experimental research groups at the University, in areas such as elementary particle physics, fundamental interactions, cosmology, the physics of nuclear reactions, the structure of atomic nuclei, atoms and molecules, the study of the Solar System and the Galaxy, extra-galactic astronomy, and the study of the phase and isotope composition of matter in the interplanetary space of our Solar System.

Recent breakthrough discoveries – Higgs particles and gravitational waves – have confirmed the paradigm of fundamental interaction physics. At the same time, they have shown the significance of unresolved puzzles, among them dark matter and the baryon asymmetry problem. We do not know the nature of 25% of the Universe, nor do we understand why we do not observe antimatter in the Universe. Finding explanations for these problems is of enormous importance and will likely lead to verifying the current paradigm of fundamental interaction physics. The authors of the solution of these essential problems will have every chance to receive a Nobel Prize.

The efforts of researchers from different fields should be combined in order to meet these challenges – examples of this could be a development in nuclear astrophysics for explaining the genesis of chemical elements in space, or particle cosmology – using methods of studying the micro-world to explore the cosmos on a macro scale. Nevertheless, achievements related to mineralogical, geochemical, and isotopic studies of phases present in meteorites and cosmic dust are of interest. They allow for recreating very early stages in the formation of the Solar System and its evolution over time.

These issues are dealt with by theoretical and experimental research groups at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, the Astronomical Observatory, the Institute of Experimental Physics, the Faculty of Chemistry, and the Faculty of Geology. The Early Universe Network will combine the experiences of specialists from these units, foster integration, and inspire the creation of new links between the disciplines. The groups participating in the network will operate as usual in their units, but the network will provide opportunities for integration and allow the use of complementary experiences and the potential of the staff involved, increase mobility and internationalisation, and also raise the visibility and significance of their research. The strengthening of international links will build on established contacts and new initiatives.

The Centre will cooperate extensively with the Institute for Advanced Studies (ISZ) (see Action I.3.8). We envisage taking part in the organisation of medium-term and long-term visits by eminent foreign scholars (Distinguished Visiting Fellowships), joint actions supporting the mobility of doctoral candidates and young researchers, joint organisation of summer schools, workshops and conferences, as well as didactic and promotional initiatives.


  1. Creating and maintaining a website with information about the Network and its activities, including the research groups involved, the research conducted, current seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, and other initiatives.
  2. Organising and financing specialised lectures for students, doctoral candidates, and employees, delivered by outstanding foreign scholars (with co-financing from Action I.1.1/IV.1.1).
  3. Organising and funding the Distinguished Visiting Fellowships programme (with the Institute for Advanced Studies (ISZ) – Actions I.3.8 and II.2.1), for outstanding foreign researchers, for a period ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months, in order to start or intensify cooperation with University staff.
  4. Organising and funding international thematic scientific workshops (with 20-100 participants), which will be open to the University community. Following the example of similar institutions existing in leading research centres, we also plan to announce competitions for the organisation of workshops by outstanding researchers from outside the University.
  5. Financing short visits by foreign colleagues to the University.
  6. Co-organising international scientific conferences (co-financing from Action II.4.1).
  7. Supporting the mobility of doctoral candidates and University staff by financing short trips to leading research centres (with Action IV.2.3).
  8. Funding of short (1-3 month) visits by young researchers and doctoral candidates, to prepare applications for individual doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships at the University (co-financing from Actions I.1.3 and I.1.4/IV.2.1).
  9. Financing postdoctoral internships at the University (one 2-year internship and two 1-year internships).
  10. Co-financing doctoral “bridge” scholarships to enable the use of funds from external grants.
  11. Coordinating joint applications for large national and international research grants (ITN, COFUND, MSCA, NAWA, MNiSW) (co-financing from Action I.1.3).

Coordinating unit

  • Faculty of Physics

Entities involved in implementation

  • Faculty of Physics
  • Faculty of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Geology
  • CeNT