AGH UST becomes research university – special session of AGH UST Senate

photo by Kuba Kołoczek, KSAF AGH

photo by Zbigniew Sulima

photo by Zbigniew Sulima

photo by Zbigniew Sulima

The transformation of AGH UST into a research university is not only a great challenge, but in the first place, it is a great opportunity for a significantly faster development. I am convinced that we will take advantage of this opportunity – said professor Tadeusz Słomka, AGH UST Rector, in the speech opening a special session of the AGH UST Senate that took place on 20th January 2020, and was dedicated to the project “Initiative for Excellence – Research University” at AGH UST. The event featured Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education. 

The session was open to a wide audience – it was participated in by the members of the AGH UST Senate and the University Board, as well as scientists and researchers, teachers, administrative staff, doctoral students, and students. 

Professor Tadeusz Słomka, AGH UST Rector, said:
“The status of a research university is for us a great honour and distinction, but it is also a great responsibility. At AGH UST, additional funds will be allocated for keeping the best doctoral students at the university, as well as funding scholarships for international scientists and researchers who will want to work with us. In the area of education, we are introducing even more refined programmes of study that are created jointly with experts from the socio-economic surroundings of the university. In the fields of study and academic disciplines connected with the priority research areas, it is planned to involve the best students and doctoral students in conducting scientific research. I believe that the actions initiated today will produce tangible results in a few years, and in the first place, a high position of the university in the international academic environment.” 

Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, said:
“I congratulate you on this great and well-deserved success. You have every right to be proud and satisfied. In the competition “Initiative for Excellence – Research University”, the AGH University of Science and Technology submitted an application that was very highly rated by experts. The most important part of all applications were development plans containing aims related to the improvement of the quality of research, the quality of education, and the quality of management. The plan prepared by AGH UST was evaluated as one containing a very convincing and realistic strategy leading to the improvement of internationalisation. The plan is based on the strengths of the university, which are, for example, the achievements of scientists and researchers employed by AGH UST, which are outstanding compared to other Polish universities, as well as the active participation of the university in international collaboration networks. The team of experts recommended that the university should place even more emphasis on internationalisation – to increase the number of international employees and students, and to promote international collaboration in the field of publishing scientific papers and organising events. AGH UST in Krakow is now facing a great challenge. I am convinced that the academic community of AGH UST will manage to achieve the targets it has set for itself.” 

During the open session of the Senate, professor Marek Przybylski presented the objectives of the project and the details of its implementation at AGH UST. He also explained how the employees and doctoral students of AGH UST will be able to use the additional funds granted to the university for the purpose of carrying out the project.

One of the main aims of the project at AGH UST is the internationalisation of the university and its transformation into a modern technical university that in the course of 10-15 years will become an attractive place to study and work, in a way comparable to some other European universities. An increase in funding for research projects (nearly PLN 370m of additional funds in the course of the next 7 years) will make it possible for the academic staff to focus more extensively on scientific activity and improving the quality of education. The additional subsidy also means a possibility to compete with universities which are at the top of international ranking lists, as well as strengthening research-related collaboration with scientific institutions that enjoy a high reputation on the international arena.

The beneficiaries of additional funds will be in the first place research teams that work in the field of the so-called “priority research areas” (POB). At AGH UST, the following priority research areas have been specified: 

  • Sustainable energy technologies, renewable sources of energy, and energy storage,  
  • New technologies for the circular economy,  
  • Water-energy-climate: interdisciplinary approach to sustainable development,  
  • Technical solutions: from fundamental research, through modelling and design, to prototypes,
  • Materials, technologies, and processes inspired by nature,
  • Intelligent information, telecommunication, computer, and control and operation technologies,
  • Design, production, and testing of modern materials and the technologies of the future,
  • Crossing boundaries: experimental high energy physics, extreme states of matter, transdisciplinary applications.  

The actions that the university is going to take will primarily serve the following aims: 

  • increasing the influence of AGH UST’s scientific research on the development of the world science,  
  • strengthening research-related collaboration with scientific institutions that enjoy a high reputation on the international arena,  
  • improving the quality of education offered to students and doctoral students,  
  • preparation and implementation of comprehensive solutions aimed at the professional development of university employees, especially young scientists and researchers,  
  • improving the quality of managing the university, including quality-oriented organisational changes. 

A large number of the university employees worked on the AGH UST’s application in the ministerial competition “Initiative for Excellence – Research University”, and professor Marek Przybylski thanked all of them. Work was coordinated by professor Andrzej R. Pach, AGH UST Vice-Rector for Science.  

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