On Friday, 11 October 2019, an international team of experts submitted the evaluation of our application in the “Excellence Initiative – Research University.” Though not without its criticisms, the review was positive and contained a definite recommendation to the Minister regarding our participation in this programme. Consequently, on 30 October 2919 Jarosław Gowin, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, indicated our university as one of 10 beneficiaries of the programme.
So what does it practically mean for our University to become one of the winners of this competition?
To present the whole procedure in a nutshell: last spring, my team of employees from different faculties and university administration representatives prepared an honest, critical analysis on the possibility of transforming our university into university with a research profile. Then we proposed changes, the implementation of which would be funded from the promised 10% increase of the university’s subsidy for the period of 2020-2026. Our application was then reviewed by members of an international panel of experts on implementing pro-quality changes in European higher education. Due to the Minister’s decision to include our university in the group of 10 winners of the competition, we can now begin to implement the suggested changes, regarded by international authorities as purposeful and realistic.
In response to the doubts among the members of our community about whether the university is ready for this undertaking, whether the changes are a threat to its stability, and finally, whether the development would favour several disciplines at the expense of others, it must be said with all force: this is not a discriminatory project that would exclude anyone from our community! Contrarily, the primary goal of this project is to tighten our bonds, elevate the scientific prestige of our university and its employees on an international scale, and to modernise education so as to instil in our students the sense of being part of an elite group of researchers. The programme of changes emphasises positive, strengthening impulses directed towards our employees and administrative personnel. These changes are not paper projects. Our application is “to be or not to be” of the modern image of the University of Wrocław. That is why we did absolutely everything to make sure these changes are friendly to our entire Alma Mater and that they allow everyone who cares about our university to grow and prosper. This project will succeed only if you embrace it. It is also crucial to note that it does not favour any specific discipline. The making of this project was supervised by members of various faculties – experimental sciences, the humanities, science and social sciences, as well as the administrative staff of different levels. The project will promote and support research wherever its scale is advanced and international. It distinguishes six essential, precisely designated Priority Research Ares: new materials; big data; artificial intelligence; health – from gene analysis to drug design; man among nature and culture; man – city and the environment, multiculturalism. It also highlights the generous funding initiatives that would equalise as many research disciplines as possible and elevate them from the national to the international scale. Finally, the project offers rewards for those who heavily contribute to bringing their disciplines to the international level or those who quickly grow and broaden their scientific expertise. We have not forgotten about didactics. This field will also receive bonus funding so that it can better meet the demands of education directed towards active participation in research. Finally, to successfully implement these changes, we need to improve the service of research and didactics by the university administration.
To restate – the goals of this application are inclusion, support and growth. It aims to raise our university and all of us to the elite group of universities which are centres of innovation. We are one step away from the greatest chance for decades to raise the prestige and creating comfortable conditions for the development of our university. We will not waste a chance that we ourselves fought for. I am sure of it.
Prof. dr. hab. Przemysław Wiszewski | Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Pedagogical Sciences.
Members of the team preparing the application for the Excellence Initiative – Research University competition: dr hab. Dariusz Adamski, professor of the University of Wrocław (Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics), dr hab. Maciej Kryza, professor of the University of Wrocław (Faculty of Earth Sciences and Environmental Management), dr hab. Tomasz Kalisz, professor of the University of Wrocław (Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics), dr Wojciech Małecki (Faculty of Letters), mgr Krzysztof Małys (vice-chancellor), dr hab. Patrycja Matusz, professor of the University of Wrocław (Faculty of Social Sciences), prof. dr hab. Jerzy Marcinkowski (Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science), dr hab. Dorota Nowak, professor of the University of Wrocław (Faculty of Biotechnology), mgr Emilia Wilanowska (Foreign Projects Office), prof. dr hab. Przemysław Wiszewski (Faculty of Historical and Pedagogical Sciences).
The Reviewers of our University’s application were:
prof. Therese Fuhrer – Swiss classical philologist of the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität). Previously she worked at, among others, the University of Berlin, the University of Freiburg, and the University of Zurich;
prof. Éva Kondorosi – biologist. She heads a scientific unit dealing with symbiosis and functional genomics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2013-2018 she was a member of the European Research Council, acting as vice president in 2017-2018. She was the founder and first director the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France);
dr Sijbolt Noorda – chairman of Magna Charta Observatory, former president of the University of Amsterdam, and former chairperson of the Association of Dutch Research Universities. He specialises in research on the history of culture and religion in Europe.