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Graduate Spirit shares results with University Science Commission of Poland

Late 2018, the Polish government passed a new law on Higher Education and Science, as part of the Constitution of Science, which, among other things, makes the establishment of Graduate Schools for PhD-researchers compulsory for each university. As a result all Polish universities have set up graduate schools, varying in mission, size, services and training programmes.
Graduate Spirit was invited by the Polish University Science Commission to present and share the results of the project on January 16, 2020. It was the first time this Commission, consisting of al 20 vice-rectors of research of the Polish university paid collective attention to the challenges for the new Graduate Schools.

Professor Liesbet van Zoonen, academic director of the Graduate Spirit project and dean of the Erasmus Graduate School for Social Sciences and Humanities in Rotterdam (NL), talked about the European and national policy context for establishing graduate schools; the two main organisational forms to organize a school, as a large umbrella organization servicing different groups and disciplines, or as a smaller thematic school connected to a specific research area; the basic, best and advanced practices to establish Triple I (international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral) training in graduate schools.

After Professor Van Zoonen’s presentation two newly established Polish graduate schools, of Adam Mickiewicz University and Poznan presented their particular set up for their graduate school. The meeting was continued the next day with an extensive conversation with the vice-minister of higher education, Dr. Anna Budzanowska.

The meeting was attended by al 20 vice-rectors of the Polish universities, and by several directors of Graduate Schools. Vice-minister Dr. Budzanowska said that she was very pleased to have an international set of examples and experiences from Graduate Spirit to inspire the further development of Polish graduate schools.

The representative of the graduate school of the University of Silesia in Katowice said afterwards it was encouraging to learn that the university’s choice to organise graduate training in an umbrella organisation could build on several international examples and practices. The representative of the university of Warsawa, likewise said that he was happy to see that the Graduate Spirit results confirmed the policy choice of his university to set up an umbrella school, because of the possibility to work with staff and professors from different disciplines. The representative of the graduate school for polar research of the Polish Academy for the Sciences said that he was inspired by the advanced practice identified by Graduate Spirit, to set up an advisory council for his school consisting, not only of academics, but also of representatives of the public and corporate sectors.

The vice-minister of higher education, Dr. Budzanowska, invited Professor Van Zoonen to return to Warsaw to advise on models of evaluation for the new graduate schools, while the Polish Academy of Sciences will organise a new meeting for their doctoral schools and members of Graduate Spirit to further explore and implement the results of Graduate Spirit.

Update March 2020: due to the Corona virus and its impact on Europe a follow up meeting for further collaboration between the GRADUATE SPIRIT consortium and representatives from the Polish Graduate Schools was postponed until further notice.

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