Work on the constitution for science, changes for innovation, new programs for dissemination of science - the Ministry of Science activity in the last two years has been based on these three main pillars - summarized Minister of Science Jarosław Gowin on Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin summarized two years of activities of his ministry during a press conference on Wednesday. He reminded that a year and a half ago the Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced the strategy for the development of Polish science and higher education for 2015-2019. It is based on 3 pillars: the law on universities, also called the Constitution for Science; innovation for the economy; and the social responsibility of science.
The main pillar of this strategy is the Constitution for Science. The idea is to prepare systemic changes in Polish science and higher education primarily by developing a new, systematic law.
"In general, Polish law is too detailed. It creates a complicated jumble of often unclear and arbitrarily interpreted provisions, and the Polish state too strongly interferes with the individual freedom, with family freedom, freedom of association, as well as academic freedom. I want this model of the state, which is subject to us here in the Ministry of Science and Technology (...) to change" - declared Deputy Prime Minister.
He emphasised that the new law would be "one legal act that would replace the four existing laws". He added that the number of provisions would be about half of what it is today.
The Ministry announced the bill in September, now consultations are under way. During the inter-ministerial consultations, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education received 440 pages of comments. "We have analysed all the comments. We will include about 20% of them" - Gowin said.
"The work schedule for the law (on higher education and science - PAP) is not threatened. I would like the government to work on this law at the turn of the year, so that it can be passed in the spring. I hope it will have the president\'s approval and come into force on October 1, 2018" - said Minister of Science and Higher Education, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin.
Deputy Prime Minister stressed, however, that the resort he was in was not willing to wait with the first changes for the new law to enter into force. "To expedite the reform, we have introduced a number of new solutions" - he emphasised.
He mentioned a change to the university funding algorithm. The new rules are not based on the number of students, but on the students/lecturers proportion. University should have no more than 13 students per academic employee. The algorithm - that is new - also takes into account the scientific category of the unit instead rather than the number of professors employed.
According to Gowin estimated, the most important achievement of the last two years in the field of internationalisation of science was the establishment of the National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA). NAWA supports international co-operation, at both student and researcher levels. "There should be more foreign lecturers at Polish universities than now (...) Poland is an attractive, safe and dynamically developing country, and we can afford talented scientists from abroad teaching at Polish universities" - said the Minister of Science.
A very important activity of NAWA will be the organization of a "great return campaign" of young, talented Polish scientists, who - as the minister said - "have scattered across the globe".
Among other achievements of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Deputy Prime Minister mentioned the signing of the agreement between the Polish Ministry of Science and its German counterpart on the establishment of 10 DIOSCURI centres of scientific excellence, under the aegis of Max Planck Society. Poland is the second - after Israel - country in the world in which such centres will operate.
The Ministry of Science - Gowin continued - also solved problems of so-called Slovakian habilitation and recognition of Polish diplomas in China. A very important American medical certification for medical studies has also been extended. According to Deputy Prime Minister, the program of Cambridge Polish Studies is also a success.
The Minister also recalled the deregulation law, which entered into force on October 1, 2016, and was intended relieve universities of certain bureaucratic obligations. According to Gowin, however, some universities still follow regulations that no longer exist. He appealed to universities to believe in their freedom.
The second pillar of the Gowin\'s strategy are the "innovations for the economy", building a bridge between the world of economy and the Polish science. Deputy Prime Minister noted that the first law on innovation prepared by his ministry entered into force on January 1. Polish employers considered it to be "the best deregulation law in the tax area".
He reminded that last week the Sejm adopted the so-called second law on innovation, prepared by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. "Thanks to this second law, for every zloty invested in research and development, the entrepreneur will be able to deduct 2 zlotys from the tax base. This solution puts Poland among the world leaders in terms of creating conditions for the development of innovative economy" - Gowin said.
The third pillar, Deputy Prime Minister reminded, is "science for you", or the social responsibility of science. "Science is not for academics. The purpose of universities is not to be closed circles, transform into ivory towers. The goal is to promote the achievements of contemporary science, especially the achievements of Polish scientists"- said Gowin. He reminded that under this pillar, on Monday he announced the second competition for grants for the Universities of Young Explorers. The Ministry of Science will allocate PLN 20 million for these grants. The Ministry of Science has also launched a support program for Third Age Universities, and sent a Science Bus to Polish schools to promote science among schoolchildren. (PAP)
Science in Poland
author: Ludwika Tomala (PAP)