10.11.2017 change 06.03.2018

Director of NAWA: We want to encourage Polish scientists to return

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

One of the priorities of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) will be the programme "Polish Returns", encouraging Polish scientists to return to the country - says director of the agency Łukasz Wojdyga. In early 2018, NAWA will announce its first scholarship and grant programmes.

The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA), a government agency supporting the internationalisation of Polish science and higher education, was inaugurated on October 1, 2017. The NAWA Council was officially established on Monday: the tasks of the Council will include preparation of proposals for direction of the agency\'s activity and development, evaluation of the annual activity report and annual financial report, as well as periodic evaluation of the execution of activity plans.

Director of the agency Łukasz Wojdyga told PAP about the vision of NAWA after the first month of its operation.

"For the first period of the agency\'s activity, we tried to prepare an interesting offer for every segment of the Polish academic world" - Wojdyga emphasized. - "I assume that the first two or three years will be a pilot in a sense, a trial period. Although our programmes have been consulted with the community, of course be it may turn out that interest in some of them is not as expected. That is why we try to present a broad offer in this initial period. The details of the offer concerning domain or geography will come naturally at some point" - he said.

At the first meeting of the NAWA Council, a total of 25 programmes in the five areas of activity of the Agency were presented. The plan goes to the year 2020 - 14 programmes are due to be announced in 2018. "If we manage to accomplish all that we have planned during the first period of the Agency\'s activity, I will be satisfied" - declared Wojdyga.

Accodring to director Wojdyga, the first NAWA initiatives will focus primarily on three areas: encouraging Polish scientists to return from abroad, supporting the mobility of doctoral students and continuing the Polish government scholarship programs for foreigners.

"+Polish Returns+ will certainly be a priority programme. We will use the programme to encourage people who have achieved academic or scientific success abroad to return to Poland. We want to persuade them to continue their research in Poland: in Polish institutions, using Polish laboratory equipment , using a network of scientific contacts in Poland" - Wojdyga said.

In 2018, NAWA will also announce a number of scholarship programmes for PhD students and researchers. "We will finance medium-term research trips, 3 to 12 months. We assume that the most important thing is to enter the world\'s scientific community, gain contacts, cooperate with international research teams. This is the purpose of mid-term trips" - said the agency director and added that this especially applies to doctoral students. According to him, doctoral studies are the period of scientific career, in which it is easiest to make contacts abroad, through both the medium-term trips as well as participation in conferences and summer schools.

"A smooth continuation of the existing programmes is also important for us: I am talking mainly about the Polish government scholarship programs for foreigners" - added Wojdyga.

NAWA will have a budget of PLN 130 million in the first year of its activity. "For the first year of operation of the institution, it is a lot of money" - emphasized Wojdyga. "We have to look at our budget first and foremost from the perspective of spending this money. What we have now is adequate for what we are planning to do in 2018" - he said.

And what budget will the agency have in the coming years? "Prime Minister Gowin is open to our proposals. During the presentation of the nominations to members of the NAWA Council he mentioned that the budget would be increased in the following years" - said Wojdyga.

The agency director did not mention specific amounts, but emphasised that he was "optimistic". "I am convinced that the agency`s budget will grow significantly with the first results of our programmes and the emerging needs of the scientific community" - he added. (PAP)

author: Katarzyna Florencka

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