National Round Table in Poland: Excellence in Research
On November 15, 2019, an expert meeting in the „round table“ formula was held in Łódź as part of the Alliance4Life project. The theme of the meeting was excellence in research and its impact on the recognition of research centers. The participants tried to answer the question, how excellence in research translates into the recognition of universities and scientific institutes on the international level, thus increasing the success rate in applying for international grants. The meeting was hosted by prof. Lucyna Woźniak (Medical University of Lodz) and prof. Toivo Maimets (University of Tartu), and participants of the meeting were representatives of the National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the European Union, Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish medical universities and research centers from Lodz. In her opening speech, prof. Lucyna Woźniak emphasized the importance of the participation of the Medical University of Lodz in large international consortia, i.e., EIT Health or EIP AHA for increasing effectiveness in acquiring research projects.
The second part of the meeting was devoted to the success stories of selected scientists and research centers. Presentations of the Medical University of Gdańsk, Poznan University of Medical Sciences , Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, and the conclusions formulated in a White Paper served as a starting point for the discussion moderated by prof. Lucyna Woźniak and prof. Toivo Maimets.
During the discussion, participants drew attention to several issues related to the creation of scientific excellence, and thus the recognition of individuals and recognition for research groups. One of them was the issue of separating the professional paths of an academic teacher and researcher at the university, as well as the dilemmas of medical graduates who find it difficult to combine the career paths of a doctor-clinician and scientist. Some of the participants pointed out that the structure of institutions and teams is very hierarchical, which hinders communication and the process of sharing knowledge, and thus building truly interdisciplinary research teams. It is necessary to work on increasing openness among researchers, draw on good practices of foreign centers, where the hierarchy is not so strong. One way is to support the mobility of researchers, with particular emphasis on PhD students and young researchers. We are currently observing less interest in long-term visits in foreign centers and actions should be taken to change the way scientists think about such visits - as an opportunity to build a strong position in the country and abroad and establishing contact network.
Alliance4Life is a bottom-up initiative of ten leading life science institutions from nine EU-13 countries that aims at closing the divide in European health research and innovation. Alliance members will join forces and share good practice through a Horizon2020 supported collaboration. The partnership will focus on raising their institutional profiles to attract and retain international talents and to provide the right operational framework conditions including improved research management. More information about Alliance4Life: http://alliance4life.ceitec.cz/.
The project "Alliance for Life Sciences: Closing Research and Innovation Divide in the European Union" received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 779303.