I. Increasing the impact of the scientific activity of the University on the development of world science
Research universities strive to improve the quality of scholarship, in order to increase the chances of making breakthroughs in the sciences and to influence solutions for the main socio-economic problems of the modern world; they also endeavour to provide knowledge that enables faster technological progress and answering questions related to the functioning and development of our civilisation. The University of Warsaw adopts the following specific objectives to increase the impact of research on world science:
II. Strengthening research cooperation with internationally renowned scientific institutions
UW is a member of the 4EU+ Alliance of research universities. However, it does not limit the internationalisation of its activities to collaboration with alliance members, only. It develops cooperation with other scientific centres which are carrying out ground-breaking scientific research. The following objectives will enable UW to achieve increased scope in the area of international cooperation:
III. Improving the quality of education for students and doctoral candidates
A key element of the education model in a research university is having a strong connection between the curriculum and research-based teaching, articulated in the creation of programmes based on state-of-the-art research results on the one hand, and on the other hand, in gradual involvement of students in the research process – from familiarising them with the scientific workshop of disciplines and disciplines up through the possibility of conducting independent research projects as part of individualised study programmes.
PhD students should be given opportunities to participate in high-class scientific projects, and to develop their research competences under the guidance of outstanding scientists who are conducting ground-breaking research. It is equally important to have a system for recruiting talented young people to study research-oriented curricula and programmes, and at the same time, to develop a system of individualised support for the most outstanding students. This will allow them to develop their research competences at an early stage, while preparing them to take up tertiary education at doctoral schools and carry out projects meeting the highest standards.
The above concept requires the following objectives to be achieved, which will be operationalised primarily in cooperation with the POB and based on their resources.
IV. The preparation and implementation of comprehensive solutions for the professional development of employees at the University of Warsaw
The formation of a scientific career path is based upon the individual decisions of a particular researcher and what that person’s university has to offer. A university should support the decisions made by its employees, while maintaining definite limits in the direct influence it has on them. This means giving individuals the freedom to conduct research. It is also important that a researcher’s professional development path accounts for the individual phases in his or her life, during which different types of activities may be preferred. The Excellence Initiative includes plans for achieving the following objectives:
V. Improving the quality of management at the University
A research university needs to provide its staff with high-quality support for research, education, and other aspects of scientific activity; it must provide them with good facilities and a productive working environment, and enable the staff to form work teams flexibly. This requires adequate resources, a well-designed organisational structure, reliable and easily accessible information, and effective communication. A SWOT analysis has shown that UW has severe deficits in this particular area, mainly due to the “silo effect” in its organisational structure, differentiation in operating models and standards, scattered resources, poor availability of management information, and ineffective communication/networking channels for scientists. The Excellence Initiative and the management tools and procedures created within its framework will become a driving force for management change (improvement), by pursuing the following objectives:
VI. Increasing the international significance of the University’s activities – Federalization with the Medical University of Warsaw
Closer cooperation between the University of Warsaw and the Medical University of Warsaw (WUM) will be yet another impetus toward achieving the position of a well-recognised university in Europe. Closer cooperation between WUM and UW will allow for better use of the potential of both universities. Together, they will be able to carry out more comprehensive scientific projects concerning the most important challenges of modern times. These require the knowledge and experience of specialists, and the infrastructure that both universities have at their disposal; they will be able to compete more effectively with other comprehensive universities in Europe and worldwide. Students and doctoral candidates will be able to participate more widely in the teaching activities of the partner university, as well as benefiting from its scientific clubs and university business incubators. The universities will join forces in applying for grants to implement joint scientific projects.
The strengthening and development of the University’s potential in the field of medical and related sciences, and the choice of WUM as a partner university, are carefully considered decisions which are rooted in shared history. Medicine and pharmacy were taught at the University of Warsaw until the 1950s. By decision of the state authorities, the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy were separated from the University in 1950. This merger created the Medical Academy in Warsaw, which is today’s Medical University of Warsaw.
For many years, UW and WUM have cooperated in research, e.g., within the consortium of the Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology, as well as in projects concerning the social contexts of vaccination. They also carry out educational projects together, such as those conducted by both universities in the field of general and clinical speech therapy, or criminology and forensic science.
Meetings of scientists from the University of Warsaw and WUM have shown that the research the institutions carry out is often complementary, as are many of our major areas of study. We already do many activities together to develop cooperation between the two universities. During these meetings, more than 100 scientists from both universities had the opportunity to talk about the research carried out by their teams. They primarily focused on issues that could be developed jointly by the two universities. The researchers saw opportunities for conducting joint research in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics in biology and medicine, mathematics in medicine, genetics, neuropsychology, immunology, physiology, regenerative medicine and pharmacy, and others. Representatives of the social sciences and humanities, such as those working in areas like public health, bioethics or psychology, also count on further cooperation with WUM. Among specialists representing the humanities and social sciences, there are many opportunities; research leading to the development of technology or medicine introduces various new challenges, e.g., ethical issues. Scholars in the humanities and representatives of social sciences can therefore contribute an extremely important element of humanism to the research cooperation between both universities.
Starting in October 2018, employees and doctoral candidates of the University of Warsaw and MUW may apply for grants – up to PLN 10 000 – to carry out joint research projects financed with external funds, including NCN, NCBiR, MNiSW or EU research and innovation programmes, among them Horizon 2020. Microgrants may be used, among other things, for short stays at foreign research centres, carrying out preliminary research in order to apply for an external grant, and to cover the costs of participation in conferences or seminars. And since 2017/2018, the Incubator of the University of Warsaw has also addressed its services to the WUM community. Students, doctoral candidates and employees of this university may participate in meetings, workshops and programmes organised by the Incubator of the University. Cooperation between the Open University of Warsaw and WUM began in August 2018, and for the first time, courses conducted by employees of WUM were offered in the recruitment process.
The UW/WUM collaboration has already started on a strong note, though the process of developing and strengthening it further would not be possible without a well-prepared long-term strategy to uphold the knowledge triangle – E+R+I (education, research, innovation), including cooperation with partners from foreign research centres, and a solid organisational background. Therefore, the University of Warsaw will undertake activities supporting these objectives, as part of the Excellence Strategy.