“Solidarity with Ukraine” – Polish universities associated in alliances of European Universities to help Ukrainian HEIs - NAWA

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Polish HEIs associated in European Universities alliances will receive almost PLN 16 million in total to foster cooperation with Ukrainian universities on a supranational level. All of this under NAWA’s “Solidarity with Ukraine” programme.

NAWA’s “Solidarity with Ukraine” programme, which was carried out until September this year, provided Ukrainian refugees with the opportunity to continue their studies, work on their doctoral dissertations, or complete any other forms of education at Polish universities and institutes.

The suspension of teaching as well as other problems faced by Ukrainian universities have limited the possibilities to carry out activities related to the mission of higher education institutions. In the light of the new challenges and needs, Poland’s Ministry of Education and Science has extended the scope of the assigned tasks, which now includes launching the possibility to provide funding for higher education institutions supervised by the Minister that are members of European Universities alliances and will take up cooperation with one or more partner universities from Ukraine. The activities subject to funding should be complementary and synergistic to those taken up by Polish universities within their alliances.

The funds that universities will receive for the implementation of projects amount to almost PLN 16 million in total. The activities will be carried out from January to December 2023.

The ceremonial signing of the agreements took place on 20 December 2022 at NAWA headquarters in the presence of Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Dr. Tomasz Rzymkowski, and was performed by NAWA Director Dr. Dawid Kostecki and vice-rectors of three out of 18 HEIs, representing various types of institutions:

Prof. Jan Słyk – Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at Warsaw University of Technology, partner in the ENHANCE Alliance

Prof. Marta Mendel – Vice-Rector for International Cooperation at Warsaw University of Life Sciences, partner in the UNIGreen Alliance

Prof. Jacek Prokop – Vice-Rector for International Relations at Warsaw School of Economics, partner in the CIVICA Alliance

“The universities can carry out various activities under the initiative. Our goal is to maintain the intellectual quality of the Ukrainian people. We want the staff to be able to continue doing scientific research once the war ends”, emphasised Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Tomasz Rzymkowski, at a press conference following the signing of the agreements.

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The aim of next step in the “Solidarity with Ukraine” programme is to achieve long-term collaboration of partners as well as supranational cooperation, e.g. when it comes to adapting Ukrainian higher education institutions to EU standards and principles under the European Economic Area or the European Research Area.

“Cooperation within European Universities alliances is a bridge between the East and the West. The implementation of the activities undertaken so far has prompted us to reflect on how to prevent the brain drain, how to help so that the effects of this assistance would bring benefits to the Ukrainian academic community after the war”, NAWA Director Dr Dawid Kostecki underlined.

As many as 18 Polish universities supervised by the Minister of Education and Science are members of European Universities alliances, that is international partnerships of higher education institutions. A network comprises at least three HEIs from at least three EU member states or other countries participating in the programme. The goal of the project is to establish so called “universities of the future” and to enhance the international competitiveness of European HEIs.

Prof. Marta Mendel, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation at Warsaw University of Life Sciences, spoke for the universities: “On behalf of all higher education institutions associated in European Universities alliances, I would like to thank you for this initiative and for the prompt assistance that NAWA provided to Ukraine’s academic community as soon as in the first months of war”. Vice-Rector Mendel pointed out that the activities that WULS is planning to undertake thanks to the funding include funding fellowships for doctoral candidates from Ukraine, organising study visits to the remaining eight universities associated in the alliance, and including Ukrainian doctoral candidates in webinars.

The complete list of Polish universities associated in European Universities alliances that have received funds for actions:

  1. University of Warsaw
  2. Jagiellonian University
  3. University of Gdańsk
  4. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
  5. University of Opole
  6. Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  7. AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow
  8. Poznan University of Technology (the only Polish HEI that is a leader of a European Universities consortium – the EUNICE European University)
  9. Silesian University of Technology
  10. Warsaw University of Technology
  11. University of Silesia in Katowice
  12. Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  13. Warsaw School of Economics
  14. Lodz University of Technology
  15. Koszalin University of Technology
  16. Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences
  17. University of Wrocław
  18. Wrocław University of Science and Technology

The funds granted under the programme may be allocated to actions such as: organising exchange of students, doctoral candidates, and staff; participating in study visits, fellowships, summer/winter schools, seminars, workshops, trainings or intensive courses; taking active part in conferences; developing modern teaching materials; improving or preparing new and innovative teaching tools and methods; improving the quality management system with regard to improving the quality of teaching and research; carrying out joint research and development; preparing joint scientific publications; networking and taking up cooperation between Ukrainian universities and members of the alliances.