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I.3.5. Establishing a Centre for Research on Culture, Language and Mind

IDUB Programme Objective(s)

  • 1: Increasing the impact of the scientific activity of the university on the development of world science, in priority research areas with a high development potential, in which the university plans to intensify its scientific activity.
  • 3: Support for the creation of research programmes and teams that will become future centres of excellence, including plans for their internationalisation

Name of POB/activity group


Specific objectives of the Centre

  1. Stimulating interdisciplinary research conducted at the University of Warsaw with the participation of the humanities, by creating conditions for the development and implementation of research projects, and providing support (organisational, technical, IT, methodological, related to the dissemination of their results).
  2. Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and skills between research teams working in different fields, for instance by enabling the optimal use of UW research infrastructure and supporting laboratories which are providing services to research teams/projects.
  3. Cooperation with foreign entities (facilitating the establishment of international contacts for teams carrying out research in the Centre), scientific exchange, internships, etc. (in cooperation with the appropriate administrative and organizational units of the University of Warsaw) and promotion on national and international forums of interdisciplinary research that is being carried out with the participation of the humanities at the University of Warsaw.


Researchers in contemporary humanities are increasingly interested in crossing thematic, disciplinary, domain and worldview boundaries. The strategic importance of searching beyond the most common research paradigms is becoming clear, as is the importance of quantitative methods of empirical science to the humanities. Therefore, a central challenge for the humanities is to cross the borders of different domains by applying existing research methods and tools from the social sciences and exact/natural sciences in research. There is also a need for greater openness to participatory research, which would include social players and stakeholders (e.g., NGOs and local communities). At the same time, responsible communication and dissemination of research results is becoming increasingly important, hence the need to offer support for carrying out those activities.

The Centre for Culture, Language and Mind Research will be a place for research which combines the humanities with areas of social and mathematical/natural sciences. Utilizing the potential of leading humanities disciplines, the Centre will become a platform that facilitates the implementation of interdisciplinary research projects on issues related to the human mind, languages, and culture. The Centre will constitute a complementary, supportive structure for the departments at UW and enable further involvement of UW researchers in the search for solutions to complex problems of strategic importance, such as those faced by many societies today. It will serve to integrate researchers from the UW and other entities interested in the humanities (in the broad sense of the term), and to strengthen their connections to other fields.

The Centre is open to proposals for ground-breaking research projects which lie on the borders of two fields, or at least three humanities disciplines. Projects should be carried out by research teams with a high degree of internationalisation, who want to tackle new topics that require innovative multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary approaches. Such projects demand the pooling of knowledge and skills from different fields or disciplines. Projects needing a unique combination of participants’ competences will be preferred. The Centre will provide support for humanities projects that incorporate methodologies and tools from other fields, as well as inter-disciplinary projects which draw upon research tools from the humanities.

Examples of areas of research conducted within the Centre

  1. Humanities in the face of contemporary challenges – searching for paradigms, notions and language on issues and problems resulting from the development of technology and science (philosophy, literature studies, linguistics, cultural studies, anthropology, psychology, sociological sciences, medical sciences, biology, physics, computer science, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology).
  2. Neurophysiological, social, and cultural aspects of cognitive and communicative processes (medical sciences, philosophy, psychology, education sciences, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, medical sciences, physics, chemistry, computer science, and art sciences).
  3. Cultural and social determinants of biological and environmental processes, including climate change (biology, anthropology, medical science, and sociology)
  4. Biological and environmental conditions of the processes of formation of social structures and artistic practices (linguistics, literary studies, anthropology, sociological sciences, art sciences, psychology, botany, geology, medical sciences, and genetics).
  5. Literature in relation to language practices – social, media, material, and cognitive aspects of literary phenomena (linguistics, literary studies, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, and computer science).
  6. Analysis, reconstruction, and modelling of linguistic, cognitive, socio-cultural and historical processes, with the use of advanced techniques and tools of the sciences (linguistics, literature studies, cultural studies, sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, mathematics, computer science, and physics).
  7. Settlement processes and human economic activity, in terms of the natural sciences (archaeology, history, physics, chemistry, geology, botany, genetics, climate science, and demography).


  • Implementation of Objective 1 – Stimulating interdisciplinary research with the participation of the humanities conducted at the University of Warsaw by creating conditions for the creation and implementation of research projects and supporting such projects.

The Centre for Culture, Language and Mind Research (The Q Centre) will be launched in 2020, and will be a place for conducting research projects that connect the humanities with social and exact/natural sciences. The University of Warsaw will provide the infrastructure necessary for the Q Centre to operate; the Centre’s budget will come from the IDUB UW program, the indirect costs of projects allocated to it, other grants or subsidies, and other sources.

The Centre will be headed by a Director, who will be appointed through a competition for 2020-2023. The Centre will establish an international Scientific Council. The main task of the Council will be to regulate the research activities of the Centre, including the selection of tasks and projects implemented by it.

The Centre will provide administrative support (financial, legal, and organisational; managing tenders) at the stages of preparing applications for external funding, and later during their implementation and settlement.

During the establishment of the Centre, but not later than until the appointment of the Director/Director, the coordinator of work on the Centre’s development will be the Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Warsaw, assisted by a team involved in the creation of the Centre. Only one representative of a given unit of UW may become part of the team.

  • Implementation of Objective 2 – Promote the transfer of knowledge and skills between research teams working in different fields, including facilitating better use of UW research infrastructure and supporting laboratories which are providing services to research teams/projects.

The Q Centre will have an integrative function for researchers and researchers of the University of Warsaw, who are interested in the humanities (in the broad sense of the word) as they relate to other fields. The Centre is open to proposals of ground-breaking research situated between two fields or at least three humanities disciplines.

Projects that can only be achieved through a unique combination of knowledge and competences of researchers from different fields and disciplines will be of interest to the Centre; the Centre will apply methodologies and tools from other fields and inter-disciplinary projects while also using techniques from the humanities.

The Q Centre will have a system of grants for the development of research projects that have been accepted under its guidance. The proposed value of one grant is max. 50,000 PLN, with an implementation period of 6-12 months. Funds for internal grants will come from outside the Centre’s budget. The Q Centre’s Scientific Council will appoint a jury committee to evaluate and select projects for implementation and financing through the Centre, in cyclical or open calls for applications.

The Research Manager employed by the Centre will provide support in establishing contacts with research bodies and other work laboratories of the University of Warsaw, whose experts, equipment, and support may be used in preparing applications for internal and external funding.

  • Implementation of Objective 3 – Cooperation with foreign entities, scientific exchange, and promotion on the national and international forum of interdisciplinary research, with the participation of the humanities at the University of Warsaw.

Internationalisation – the Q-Centre is a university-wide unit, which integrates interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects under the common motto of “Crossing the borders of the humanities”. It has the character of an “umbrella” institution – it accepts ideas for research projects, chosen through competitions, which will be implemented under its guidance and with its resources. This applies to projects which integrate researchers/scholars from various parts of the University and from various institutions, including those from abroad. Projects accepted by the Centre will be implemented by research teams with a high degree of internationalisation, who want to approach new research that requires an innovative, multidisciplinary, or transdisciplinary approach.

Dissemination of research results – the Director of the Centre will ensure the dissemination of the results of the research carried out in the Centre and manage communication with the media and other public forums. The Director will also initiate interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary seminars, for exchanging experiences and ideas – and accordingly, initiating new research projects. Support in organizing trainings, consultations, and conferences (depending on the needs of individual project providers), as well as projects implemented in the concept of open science (including preregistration of research), will be provided.

Maintenance and consolidation of the Centre’s position – In the long term, the Centre will establish strategic international partnerships, which will help in the preparation of applications for major international projects. It will also implement a strategy of systematic communication and promotion of its scientific achievements.

The Centre will conduct interdisciplinary studies at the graduate level and will have an interdisciplinary study track for the doctoral schools.

Entities involved in implementation

  • Units at UW, whose employees carry out research projects at the Centre