The committee reviewed the draft amendment to the Law on Academic Degrees and Title and Degrees and Title in the Arts. The amendment has been prepared by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The new regulations included in the draft law provide for the establishment of the "Implementation Doctorate" program. It aims to revitalize the cooperation and transfer of knowledge between the scientific community and the socio-economic environment. Three groups of entities will be involved in this program. Firstly, people with a masters degree or equivalent, who want to develop their academic careers based on, inter alia, the implementation of research results. Secondly - the best academic centres in Poland. And thirdly - entrepreneurs and employers wishing to develop R&D, implement new technologies and organizational processes, or launch the production of innovative products and services.
The program participant is expected to pursue doctorate in a dual system. This means that he or she will work on a doctoral dissertation in a research unit (university or research institute), and will be employed by an entity in the socio-economic environment. The aim of the PhD student's research work is to solve the specific problem of the employer.
The committee issued a negative opinion on one of the Ministry of Science proposals included in the draft amendment. It concerns the possibility to obtain rights equivalent to the qualifications of habilitated doctor on the basis of implementation work.
The provision proposed by the ministry would apply to doctoral degree holders who have been conducting research and development for at least five years and had significant implementation achievements. In addition, they would have to be employed in a unit authorized to confer habilitation degree. On the basis of decision of the rector or institute director, such persons could, for example, act as doctoral dissertation promoters and reviewers, be employed as associate professors and enjoy other privileges associated with habilitation.
To justify this decision, deputy Włodzimierz Bernacki (PiS) said that the parliamentary subcommittee that discussed this solution earlier had concluded that the already existing provisions were sufficient for employment of independent researchers with a doctorate degree. "There is no need to create a new quality in this regard" - Bernacki said.
"The amendments are corrective, but they do not cause nor impede the introduction of a new quality in higher education: that is, the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies as part of the so-called implementation doctorate" - emphasised the PiS deputy.
Members of the committee approved the provision introduced by the Ministry of Science, according to which the chairman of the Central Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles would be appointed, from among the Commission members, by the Prime Minister. Until now the role of the Prime Minister in the election of the chairman was smaller: the head of government selected the Commission chairman from among the two candidates nominated by the Commission from among its members.
Deputy Joanna Schmidt from Nowoczesna proposed an amendment that would maintain the current Commission chairman appointment procedure, but the committee rejected this proposal.
The procedure for appointing the head of the Central Commission for Degrees and Titles has attracted great interest of the scientific community. Currently the Commission does not have a chairperson, resulting in the absence of new professors. Open letter referring to this issue, among other things, has been addressed to Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin by members of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. They pointed out that although two candidates had been nominated in accordance with the current law, the proposal to change the selection procedure appeared already after the nomination of candidates by the Central Commission.
Originally the amendment was supposed to enter into force on March 31, but due to inability to meet this deadline, the Ministry of Science proposed that it should come into force the day after its announcement. (PAP)
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