14.05.2017 change 14.05.2017

Ministry of Science wants to establish the National Institute of Technology

The establishment of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), which will consist of dozens of research institutes, is envisioned in a bill prepared by the Ministry of Science. The NIT will to conduct research and development work in areas that are a priority for Poland.

The public consultation of the project ended on Thursday.

NIT activities will be supervised by the Minister of Science.

As we read in the project, "NIT\'s goal is to conduct research and development work that is particularly important for the implementation of economic, scientific, technological, and innovation policies of the state as defined in the development strategies and the National Research Program".

The NIT, combining the potential of the existing smaller centres - according to the authors of the project - is expected to facilitate a uniform government policy in the area of innovation, increase the chances of Polish researchers to win international grants, improve the efficiency of obtaining patents, and increase the percentage of foreign researchers employed in institutes. The basic organisational units in the NIT will be institutes grouped in competence centres, covering the areas of activity specified in the NIT statutes. Not all institutes will become part of these competence centres.

Currently there are active 114 research institutes in Poland, including the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute, the Institute of Mother and Child, Scientific and Academic Computer Network, the Polish Geological Institute - National Research Institute, supervised by 16 ministers (for example defence, health, development). Institutes conduct research in almost all areas of science. Each of them has its own legal personality.

The project lists 35 institutes that will be included in the NIT (all currently subordinate to the Ministry of Development). As of the date of entry into force of the NIT Law, they will lose their legal personality. The NIT will take over both their employees, property, receivables and liabilities of the institutes that will be incorporated into its structure. Deputy Minister of Science Piotr Dardziński told PAP that other institutes could join this group during legislative work on the bill. After the establishment of the NIT, the procedure for the inclusion of further institutes will be made by regulation rather than by statute, the deputy minister informed. This will be done by the Council of Ministers on its own initiative or at the request of the supervising minister, after consulting the director or scientific council of the institute to be included.

The NIT will be financed by basic subsidies - those that individual institutes have received so far. The NIT will also receive funds that are currently awarded to other institutes that will not be incorporated into the NIT (those institutes will gradually receive smaller grants). By 2021 all research institutes will stop receiving subsidies, except those that deal with health care (these are 16 institutes supervised by the Minister of Health and three supervised by the Minister of National Defence).

As a consequence of these changes, from 2021, after the NIT has taken over the entire statutory grant (apart from the subsidies received by medical institutes), the new institute will receive an additional PLN 335 million per year - according to the impact assessment prepared by the Ministry of Science.

The authors of the project proposed Warsaw as the seat of the NIT headquarters.

The NIT will be headed by president (appointed by the Minister of Science) and no more than five vice presidents. A council of advisors composed of fifteen members will operate at the NIT president, including ten representatives from the socio-economic or financial community and five professionally active researchers.

According to the project, in addition to the president , the NIT will be governed by a council composed of four members (responsible for IT, science, regional development and higher education). The council members will be selected by the respective ministers and appointed by the Minister of Development. The council will include approve the annual activity plans of the institution and issue opinions on its annual plans and financial reports. It will be headed by a chairman appointed by the minister responsible for economy.

Introduction of the NIT Law requires the amendment of a dozen other laws - including the Law on the Principles of Financing Science, the Law on the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Law on Higher Education.

According to the project, the NIT is scheduled to launch operations on January 1, 2018; some of the provisions of the law, however, will enter into force later, and some earlier - on October 1, 2017.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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