PAN University to be established? "It will be a showcase of Polish science in the world"
We want the University of the Polish Academy of Sciences to be a showcase of Polish science in the world and in the not-too-distant future to make it to the top 100 universities – this is how the president of the academy, prof. Jerzy Duszynski.
The work on the shape of the university (PAN-University) was assessed by the PAS president as moderately advanced. – I count that the particularóThe main concept on the shape of the PAN University will be worked out by the end of the year, he said.
The suggestion to establish a new institution came from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. – The ministry informed about the image problem of Polish science. We are all aware that when it comes to international rankings, Polish universities are in a distant position,” noted prof. Duszynski.
In 2016. In the ranking of the top 500 schoolsóThe Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU, known róalso as the Shanghai List), there were only two Polish universities – Jagiellonian University and Warsaw University (both made it to the fifth hundred of the list, in previous years they were in the fourth). In another prestigious ranking, the Times Higher Education World University Ranking, in 2016, among theód 980 institutions from 79 countriesóOnly nine Polish universities were included. The two best – Warsaw University and Warsaw University of Technology – were only ranked in shóhundred.
According to the head of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the new university will make it possible to use the enormous scientific capital of the Polish Academy of Sciences in teaching, while creating a university thatóra has a good chance to be in prestigious positions in the world rankings.
The university will be formed by approx. 50 most efficiently functioning instituteóin the PAN (sposród 69), whichóre operate within all five facultiesóat the PAN: Humanities and Social Sciences, Biological and Agricultural Sciences, Science and Earth Sciences, Technical Sciences, and Medical Sciences. – These dozen or so weaker institutesów will be given time to achieve the necessary excellence. After this time, those whoóre not up to the process, they will either be incorporated into other institutesóin or universities, or they will be liquidated, the PAN president declares.
According to the professor, the new university will have a chance to become a strong university: The Committee for Evaluation of Scientific Units has given as many as 13 institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences the highest parametric rating (A+). Spośród 960 scientific institutions evaluated across the country, in a similar mannerób evaluated only 35.
Several hundred millionóin zlotys per year
The shape of the new university is being worked on by a team ofół composed of ten directorsów instituteóat the Polish Academy of Sciences under the leadership of the vice president of the Polish Academy of Sciences, prof. Pawel Rowinski. The idea needs to be consulted with the academic community, and then – with the broader academic community.
According to the head of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the cost of operating the new university may be several hundred millionóin PLN per year. – Someone will say: these are huge public funds. If we want to compete with the best, we have to go for it – zwróThe attention of prof. Duszynski.
The planned PAN university is expected to solicit EU funds, earmarked for the university’s activitiesów of a research nature.
The president is counting on the university to partially earn its own money. – Perhaps we will open a path of paid studiesów for osób from abroad,” he suggested.
The professor pointed out that the annual budget of the best-funded university in the US – John Hopkins University – recently exceeded the próg dwóch billionóIn dollars, most of which came from federal funds.
PAN University is to focus on research and teaching at a high level. Currently, the academy is not allowed to confer a titleóin a master’s degree; the creation of the academy is expected to change that. By educating studentsów university will be mótion of funds from new sourcesódeels, zaróD. students, both domestic and European (such as those whoóre currently directed to universities).
Prof. Duszynski noted that the institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences already have many Phów, and that the inauguration of a PAN University does not necessarily mean the recruitment of a large number of studentsów. – Initially, it will be a small nabór, increased gradually over the following years. We do not care about the large number of studentsów, only at a high level of education and placing high in the rankings,” he said.
"Such a solution will do us good"
Asked if he is not worried that as a result of teaching, highly rated institutes will lose their strong positions (their employees will have less time for research and publications) – the PAN president reassured: This will be a research university. The emphasis will be on research. During research work, it is extremely important to have contact with young people, educate współemployeeóIn and the flow of scientistsóin between institutions. Such a solution will do us good. Maybe it will be more difficult, but a great support will be the energy, which willórą will be contributed by master’s and doctoral students. I assess that these changes will affect us positively,” he said.
He added that many prestigious universities around the world operate on such a model, e.g. Harvard or Stanford universities in the US.
– The headquarters of the new university could be located in the Staszic Palace in Warsaw, but it too requires fundsów financially in order to adapt appropriately,” he added. It would also be important to have facilities in the form of housesóin assistantships, in whichórych could house foreign researchers pursuing research grants in Poland, but also students and doctoral students.
To meet the needs of the new university prof. Duszynski credited the need to build or purchase a buildingów intended for teaching (or adaptation of those already held). It may be even more important to supplement the staff with a large contingent of outstanding researchers and didacticsóin from abroad,” he added.
According to the expertóin one of the problemsóin Polish science (whoóry translates m.in. on the rating in the rankings) is the small scale of its internationalization: very few students come to Polandów and scientistscóin foreign. – This is not surprising – they are attracted to these centers, whichóre are recognizable,” said the PAN president. He stipulated that the new university will not immediately enter the top 100 universities in the world; "this process will require several years".
Changing the image of Polish science
RóOther countries are also implementing solutions thatóre to support the growth of the global standing of their top universitiesów and improving their image. As examples prof. Duszynski cited Russia – with its 5/100 program (meaning a plan to bring five Russian universities into the top 100 of the world rankingsóin 2020.), France – która solved the problem of the low position of its universitiesów initiative of the University of Paris–Saclay, or Germany – with a program of excellence at selected universities.
– The purpose of establishing the university is to próba change the image of science and higher education in Poland in at least a European, and perhaps even a global dimension. We want to get a reputation as a university thatóra provides quality education and attracts studentsóin from abroad. We want to put the scientists in motionóin Poland, increase the mobility of our scientific staff,” concludes the PAN president.
The professor notes that by building a university from scratch, it will be possible to test new models for the functioning of a higher education institution and to see whichóre of them are really good. – This will be of great benefit to the science system in Poland,” he suggested.
Currently, the science ministry is working on a new law on higher education (the so-called “Law on Higher Education”). By Law 2.0). Prof. Duszynski, whichóry sits on the program council of the National Science Congress (the body responsible for shaping the Law 2.0) noted that the róThe PAS bill is in the process of being passed. He stressed that the two acts should be spójne and compatible.
Sourceóbackground: PAP – Science in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski. Pictured is the Staszic Palace, home of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Photo. Guillaume Speurt