– For the last years, the Polish science and universities have been developing, but too slow. After a quarter of a century of rounding around, I offer a decade of rapid marching – Jarosław Gowin said. The Minister of Science and Higher Education announced today his strategy for science and higher education.

After few months of intensive work and accomplishment of key tasks of the department, Jarosław Gowin announced a strategy for development of the Polish universities and science. The proposal for changes and reforms consisting of three pillars is to guarantee improvement in the condition of the Polish universities and provide development of science.

– Let’s watch the numbers – Jarosław Gowin started the conference. Among 24 GDP in the world, Poland takes 37th place in terms of the size of the investment made to research and development in reference to GDP. Although the Polish scientists take 20th place, as regards a number of scientific literature, our universities are on the 38th position in the Shanghai Ranking.

– What is the result? Firstly, we have definitely not enough resources for science. Secondly, we have a great scientific potential which may be developed and thirdly – we have a problem with the Polish universities which need to go through a reform much deeper than those which had been carried out in the last years – the Minister summed up.

Jarosław Gowin’s strategy is based on the fundamental pillars: Constitution for Science which will bring systemic changes in the higher education, Innovations for the economy in which commercialization of research is combined with business partnership as well as Science for You – a social responsibility of science programme.

Constitution for Science

The first element of the Constitution for Science is a Deregulation Act which should apply as from the beginning of October. – But it is not eliminating bureaucracy, it is only preparing the ground – the Minister announced. The Act 2.0, which is now being prepared, is the one which will bring a broad reform.

– I would like to announce these changes at the National Science Congress. We have a year to prepare deep system changes – Jarosław Gowin said. – within the Conference in various academic centres, from the beginning of October there will be a broad debate held – the Minister announced. The discussion will be based on concepts of three teams chosen through a contest organised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Jarosław Gowin admitted that he didn’t settle the debate’s results. – I hope that the new Act will allow to, among others, create a new type of university – a research university – he explained. Apart from a high quality of education, the universities will put an emphasis on scientific research as well. When asked by journalists, he declared that the MSHE would not indicate the universities which would play this role.

Growth of internationalization is one of the challenges facing the Department. That is why, Minister Gowin called for the National Agency of Academic Cooperation. The agency will be responsible for making scholarship programmes unified and encouraging foreign students to study in Poland. Its goal will be also turning “human capital flight” and enabling Polish scientist a come back to the country.

Innovations for economy

Increase in innovation is one of the fundamental goals of the Responsible Development Plan – Jarosław Gowin reminded. – the government has already applied the Act on innovation prepared by this Department, the parliament will begin works on it next week. We count that it should apply as from January 2017.

A way of functioning of the National Centre for Research and Development will be also modified. NCRD will have 22 of 50 billion zlotys at its disposal which Poland will have allotted for innovation till 2020. – However, we need to grant funding more effectively – Jarosław Gowin explained. The rules of reviewing will be changed, while procedures will be accelerated. – But we will pay greater attention to make the money serve the determined goals and grants result in specific implementations.

The Minister mentioned also two financial instruments which are supposed to provide financing or capitalizing innovation in start-ups. The Bridge VC programme costs almost 2 bln zlotys, whereas the Vitello programme realized together with PZU costs another 500 mln. – It’s a rare example in Europe of how a big public company is activated in the research and development activity – Jarosław Gowin noticed.

The reformed research institutes will be the research facilities for innovative economy. Besides introducing a series of changes, the MSHE will also call the National Institute of Technology. – It will be a network of the best research institutes which will contribute to development of priority economic sectors – the Vice Premier explained. A reform of the institutes will allow to verify their level as well and determine capabilities and competences.

Science for You

The last pillar of the strategy presented by Jarosław Gowin is Science for You – a series of undertakings and programmes which are to increase social responsibility of academia and scientific institutes. – Science should serve everyone of us, science should serve the society. We want scientists to go out of the university walls.

First project is the University of the Young Explorer which was announced last week – factual and financial support for children’s universities. In the following year, science-buses will appear in Poland. – the buses will be equipped in professional research laboratories, in which there will be professional animateurs educated by the Copernicus Science Centre. We would like the buses visit at least 400 schools in 2017 – Jarosław Gowin said.

The last presented programme is support for the Universities of the Third Age. – It’s a fantastic social phenomenon which has been present in Poland for many years -the Minister said. A pilot edition of the programme will be started in October and its budget will come to 4 mln zlotys.
Strategy for science and higher education

First of all, the strategy announced by Jarosław Gowin is supposed to accelerate development of the Polish science. – of course, there has been a lot of good things in the Polish universities for the recent years – the Vice Premier noticed, but he also added that the pace of those changes was far from the desired one. – I hope that the above mentioned proposals will become a subject of discussions with the academic world and their actual shape will be seen soon.

Source: MNiSW