Ambitious universities are testing a federation model

By Waldemar Siwinski and Kazimierz Bilanow

Universities in Poland have been following, with great attention, the consolidation process in France that led to the creation of University Paris-Saclay and, especially, University Grenoble Alpes in the hope that some of the ideas that worked in France will work for them in Poland as well.

One may ask why Norway and Sweden pay their students to be educated as doctors at Polish medical schools or why German firms happily employ engineers educated at Polish universities of technology. The answer is simple: graduates of universities in Poland receive a solid education at a good European level. And yet, in general, Polish universities are not well known internationally and they lag behind Western institutions in international university rankings.

University rectors realise this and, understandably, get frustrated about their unsatisfactory international standing. But they also understand that to improve their situation they must act.

The new law on higher education may offer them some help. In 2018 it introduced the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” or IDUB (Inicjatywa Doskonalosci – Uczelnia Badawcza in Polish), providing modest additional financing for the two dozen selected universities. The new law has also opened, however slightly, a door to consolidation of higher education institutions.

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