National Programme for the Development of Humanities in the revised formula

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Ministry of Science will allocate 80 million zlotys to the next edition of the National Programme for the Development of Humanities (Narodowy Program Rozwoju Humanistyki, NPRH). As of this year, however, the objective of the program changes, as do the rules of competitions, the way of reviewing and selection of reviewers.

According to the Ministry of Higher Education Science release sent to PAP, the changes are introduced in response to the challenges of Polish humanities and in order to strengthen their international position

The new formula NPRH will consist of three modules: Tradition, Development and Internationalisation. Each module is a separate competition, focusing respectively on: the national cultural heritage studies, innovation and integration studies, and ensuring the international influence of Polish humanist thought.

The module "Tradition" will support research projects focused on the development of a unique resource base essential for Polish cultural heritage, for its protection, dissemination, and inclusion in the living tradition of national culture.

The module "Development" will support research projects aimed at stimulating and promoting innovative humanities research and integration interdisciplinary research. The module will cover research in the field of Polish culture and socio-cultural life, universal in relation to the used methods, obtained results and the extent of impact.

The module "Internationalisation" will support the introduction of the greatest achievements of Polish humanities research to the international circulation. It will fund the translation and publication of outstanding works of Polish humanities and foreign language editions of Polish scientific journals.

"National Programme for the Development of Humanities should create a vision of the development of Polish humanities - emphasized Minister of Science, Prof. Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, quoted in the release. - This is not only a source of funding for research, but also and primarily a tool for the introduction of the system changes that are beneficial to the humanities."

The changes apply not only to the NPRH objective, but also the competition rules, review methods and selection of reviewers, to improve transparency and clarity. Also clarified were the criteria for assessing applications.

"The more clearly defined are objectives and the nature of the program, the easier it will be to select the winning projects" - believes Minister Kolarska-Bobińska.

National Programme for the Development of Humanities was established in November 2010. In this framework, humanists have already been granted nearly 280 million zlotys for research.

NPRH new formula has been developed as a result of the Round Table of Humanities, to which in February 2014 Minister Lena Kolarska-Bobińska invited representatives of the scientific community. Final changes have been worked out by the new Council of the National Programme for the Development of Humanities, appointed in May by the Minister of Science and Higher Education.

"In the pursuit of innovation, we tend to forget that inventions and new technologies are created for the people. Humanities remind us that we will not solve the problems of civilization without the use of its achievements. I am fully aware of the key importance of humanities for social and economic development. The more glad I am that together with the academic community we were able to set new goals and functioning of the National Programme for the Development of Humanities" - said Prof. Lena Kolarska-Bobińska. She reminded here that restoring the rightful status of the humanities was one of her main goals, when she took the position of the Minister of Science.

Ministry of Science and Higher Education reminded in the press release that in 2014 began a pilot program expanding classes at universities. "The emphasis has been placed on the development of soft skills sought by employers, like communication skills, rhetoric, logical thinking, teamwork, philosophy classes. Competency Development Programme will be fully implemented in 2015. By 2020, we want to spend approx. 1 billion zlotys on it. New courses, also in the field of humanities, may be proposed by both public and non-public universities" - announced the Ministry of Science.

According to the Ministry of Science, the humanities occupy a more important place in the funding awarded to Polish scholars by the National Science Centre. Grants for research in this area account for about one third of all funded projects.

Humanists may apply for the National Science Centre grants in several competitions, including three that begin on the 16th of March: Opus, Prelude and Sonata.

New initiatives organized by the National Science Centre is the competition HERA, designed exclusively for humanists, implemented together with the consortium Humanities in the European Research Area.

"Another postulate of humanists was to take account of the specific nature of the humanities in the evaluation of scientific units. The concept of these changes prepared by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Committee for the Evaluation of Research Units will be discussed on February 18 in Warsaw" - reads the Ministry of Science release.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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