Two PAS researchers among the laureates of the FNP Prizes

Professors Marcin Nowotny and Bartosz Grzybowski, both from the institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, received this year’s awards of the Foundation for the Polish Science (FNP). Informally known as the “Polish Nobel Prizes” the FNP awards have a reputation as the top-ranking and most prestigious scientific prizes in Poland.

Prof. Marcin Nowotny

Professor Marcin Nowotny from the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw received the Foundation’s Award for the Polish Science in the field of life sciences. He was appreciated for explaining the molecular mechanisms of DNA damage recognition and repair.

Prof. Marcin Nowotny is a molecular biologist. He described the structure, function and the mode of action of several proteins and protein complexes crucial for cell biology that interact with nucleic acids and participate in DNA repair. The results of his work have been published in a number of highly cited scientific publications.

He won numerous prestigious grants, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, European Research Council, and the EMBO Installation Grant. His team was engaged in research on drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He is also a member of many international organizations and scientific societies, including: Academia Europaea or the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

In the past, he worked at two PAS institutes, namely, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology and the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Prof. Bartosz Grzybowski

Prof. Bartosz Grzybowski from the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, Republic of Korea, received the 2022 FNP Prize in the area of chemistry and materials sciences for the development and empirical verification of an algorithmic methodology for planning chemical synthesis.

Prof. Grzybowski is a chemist. His research interests focus on computer-aided chemical synthesis, artificial intelligence used in organic chemistry, and discovering new reactions and new drugs.

He received his doctorate from Harvard University, where he began exploring the possibility of using computational methods that predicted better ways to synthesize difficult organic molecules. He is a laureate of numerous scientific awards, including: the Unilever Award  granted by the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry, the Nanoscience Prize, the Feynman Prize in nanotechnology, and the NIH ASPIRE Award. Member of the British Royal Chemical Society. He represented Poland at the 23rd Solvay Congress, as the first Polish lecturer since Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Author of highly valued, widely cited scientific papers (Hirsch index 81).

Other laureates

Professor Adam Łajtara from the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw is the winner of the FNP Prize in the field of humanities and social sciences. He was distinguished for his interpretation of epigraphic sources, showing the religious and cultural aspects of the functioning of medieval communities living in the Nile Valley.

This year, no prize was awarded in the field of mathematical, physical and engineering sciences.

About the FNP Prize

The FNP Prize has been awarded since 1992. The prize honors renowned scientists for significant advancements and scientific discoveries which shift cognitive boundaries and open new perspectives for research, provide an exceptional contribution towards the advancement of our nation’s progress and culture as well as assure Poland a significant position for undertaking the most ambitious challenges of the modern world.

The prizes are awarded in four categories. Each laureate receives PLN 200,000.

This year’s award ceremony will be held on December 7 (Wednesday).

Source of information: Foundation for the Polish Science