Our University – as one of 10 Polish universities – has obtained the status of a research university and faces a historic opportunity for development.
20 Polish universities took part in the competition of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education “Excellence Initiative – Research University”, resolved on 30 October 2019. They all met the preconditions for the scientific categories obtained during the last parameterization. The status of a research university was granted to 10 of them. Among them were: University of Warsaw, Gdańsk University of Technology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, AGH University of Science and Technology, Jagiellonian Universityin Cracow, Warsaw University of Technology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Silesian University of Technology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, and University of Wrocław.
The objective of the “Excellence Initiative ¬ Research University” programme is to select and support the best Polish universities, which will be able to successfully compete with foreign centres in the coming years. Research universities will receive a 10% higher subsidy in the years 2020-2026 for activities improving the quality of research and education. The programme is one of the most important measures undertaken as part of the reform of higher education and science in Poland.
Each of the 20 universities participating in the competition was evaluated by a team of foreign experts enjoying authority in the international academic environment: eminent scientists, rectors and presidents of the best European universities. The competition was divided into two stages. In the first stage, the competition application was evaluated, in the second, experts talked to representatives of the universities, determining the final recommendations.
In the competition applications, universities demonstrated their potential and specified development plans, in particular objectives and specific actions to improve the quality of research and education. Nicolaus Copernicus University has identified increasing internationalisation, interdisciplinarity, innovation and internal integrity as its key objectives. Our University also identified five Priority Research Areas:
- Astrophysics and astrochemistry;
- From fundamental optics to bio-photonics;
- Dynamics, mathematical analysis and artificial intelligence;
- Towards personalised medicine;
- Interaction – mind, society, environment.
The reviewers stressed that the Priority Research Areas were selected within a well conducted university-wide process, in conditions of strong internal competition. According to the experts evaluating the conclusions, the strategy of implementing the activities of doctoral schools, the strategy of excellence and the proposed new management model are also convincing. The review reads, among others “The strategic concept is convincing and takes into account the fact that the Nicolaus Copernicus University is an non-metropolitan university with special challenges. There is considerable development potential to become an internationally recognised research university within the next six years. The proposed programme is extremely ambitious yet indispensable to achieve the best possible level of excellence. (…)” Both in the proposal and during the hearing, the Nicolaus Copernicus University presented excellent concepts for managing change with high motivation and academic spirit, which clearly dispels any doubts about the possibility of achieving ambitious goals.
The competition application was prepared by the team composed of: Prof. dr habil. Włodzimierz Jaskólski (chairman), Prof. dr habil. Alina Borkowska, mgr. Karolina Jarzynka, dr Agata Karska, mgr. Justyna Łaskowska, Prof. dr habil. Sebastian Maćkowski, Prof. dr habil. Przemysław Nehring, dr habil. Radosław Sojak, NCU Prof., and Prof. dr habil. Werner Ulrich.