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Research University. Application, review and a big opportunity!

On Friday, November 11, 2019, an international Board of Experts announced the decision regarding University of Wrocław’s application in the “Excellence Initiative – Research University programme”. The result was positive, although not without criticism. It had clear recommendation for the Minister in terms of our participation in the project. Consequently, on November 30, Jarosław Gowin, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, announced that our University was going to be awarded grants as one of ten beneficiaries in the programme.

What, in practice, does it mean for the University to be one of the winners in this contest?

To present the whole procedure in short – last spring, together with my team of employees of different departments as well as representatives of administration, we prepared an honest, critical analysis of the University’s situation in terms of its ability to transform into a research university. Then, we proposed changes, whose execution would be financed by the 10%-increase of the subsidy promised by the Minister for the period of 2020-2026. After the application had been submitted, it was evaluated by members of the panel consisting of international experts in implementation of pro-quality changes in the European Higer Education. The Minister’s decision means that we have the green light and resources to implement the changes that had been proposed and that they were recognized by the international authorities as purposeful and viable.

Responding to the doubts existing among us on whether our University is ready to take a new path of development, whether deploying the changes mentioned in the application will not pose a threat to its stability and, lastly,  whether our development will not favour certain disciplines at the cost of others: this is not a project that discriminates or excludes anyone from our community! Quite the contrary – the sole purpose of the project is enforcing and enhancing the scientific stature of our University and our employees in the international context, as well as reinventing our educational offer so that our students have a sense of studying among the elite researchers.

The programme of changes knowingly puts emphasis on positive, enhancing impuslses directing our academic and administrative employees. These changes are not just projects on paper. Our application is to be or not to be for the modern visage of the University of Wrocław. Therefore, we have done our best to make them friendly for our academic environment, so that they contribute to growth and self-fulfillment of everyone who cares for the future of our Almae Matris. Without your approval, this project, even if implemented, will not succeed. Also, it must be clearly emphasized that it will not favour any field of science. In the process of planning, there were involved representatives of experimental departments, departments of humanities, science, social sciences, as well as administrative staff of different levels. The project aims at supporting research of highly advanced and international character. It consists of six crucial and precisely selected areas of research (Priority Research Areas): new materials, big data and AI (Artificial Intelligence), health – from genes analysis to manufacturing drugs, human between nature and culture, human – city and the environment, multiculturalism. Also, it accentuates substantial funding of initiatives that are supposed to even the level of science and the importance of disciplines on the international scale, which today are focused mostly on the national research area. Finally, the project will grant rewards for those who, either  contribute to extending their disciplines onto the international level, or those who develop and broaden their scientific activities rapidly. We have not forgotten about the teaching, which, together with research, will receive a substantial capital injection, so that it can liv up to the demands of teaching oriented towards students’ participation in research projects. Lastly, in order for these changes to happen, we have to improve the administrative support of teaching and research.

The goal of the application, let me remind once again, is inclusion, support, and development. Also, it is going to lead our University and all of us to the elite group of universities being centres of innovation. We are within an ace of a chance to elevate our prestige and create comfortable conditions for the development of our University. We will not waste this opportunity that we have fought for.

I am sure about that.

Prof. dr hab.[1] Przemysław Wiszewski | Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Pedagogical Sciences.

Members of the team preparing the application project in the IDUB contest: dr hab. Dariusz Adamski prof. of UWr (WPiA), dr hab. Maciej Kryza, prof. UWr (WNoZiKŚ), dr hab. Tomasz Kalisz, prof. of UWr (WPiA), dr Wojciech Małecki (WF), mgr[2] Krzysztof Małys (Vice-Chancellor), dr hab. Patrycja Matusz, prof. UWr (WNS), prof. dr hab. Jerzy Marcinkowski (WMI), dr hab. Dorota Nowak, prof. of UWr. (WB), mgr Emilia Wilanowska (Foreign Projects Office), prof. dr hab. Przemysław Wiszewski (WNHiP)

The reviewers of the application of our University were:

Prof. Therese Fuhrer – Swiss classic philologist working at the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität). Earlier, she worked, among others, at the University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin), the University of Freiburg, and the University of Zurich.

Prof. Éva Kondorosi – biologist. She directs the Symbiosis and Functional Genomics Unit at the Hungarian Academy of Science. In 2013-2018, she was a member of the European Research Council, in 2017-2018 acting as its Vice-Chairperson. She was the founder and the first Director of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France);

Dr Sijbolt Noorda – President of Magna Charta Observatory. Vice-president of the University of Amsterdam and Vice-president of the Association of Dutch Research Universities. Scientifically engaged in the research on the cultural history of religions in Europe.

Translator’s Note

[1] dr hab. – Polish equivalent of post-doctoral degree (such as Sc.D.)

[2] mgr – Polish equivalent of MA or MSc

Published by: Michał Raińczuk

3 Feb 2020

last modification: 23 Jun 2020