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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 2, 2009
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From the Publisher
December 2, 2009   
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The end of the year is a time to take stock. If there was a program to carry out then it can be especially worthwhile to look back at what was achieved, what was abandoned and what was postponed.

Poland has been in a state of flux for the past two decades during which time radical reform programs have been drawn up and carried out in many areas of society. This does not seem an inordinately long time given the backwardness of every aspect of social life in the previous politico-economic system.

In science and education, leaving aside the achievements of individual researchers and academics, we entered the era of democracy and a free market 20 years ago with outdated facilities and infrastructure. This is one field that was resistant to revolutionary change and not just because of lack of money. As a result, we were plodding toward essential change at a snail's pace. We had no real way of accelerating the process until we joined the European Union five years ago. Over the past two years, we have had to implement some fundamental legal reforms in addition to effective economic changes.

In an interview in this issue of The Polish Science Voice, Prof. Barbara Kudrycka, the minister for science and higher education, talks about the scope of the new legal regulations drafted by her ministry and approved by the government. "The main idea behind the proposed changes is to support and promote the best at every level-institutions, scientific entities, researchers, postgraduates and students," Kudrycka says. "... I believe that the new rules for financing higher education and the greater flow of funds to universities with the best research and academic results will help the most."

Foreign educational trips are indispensable for the training of young scientists and their future prospects. But the problem is that some scientists decide not to return to their home country after they complete the foreign contract or scholarship.

The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) runs several scholarship programs for young researchers, including the Columbus program, which provides scholarships for researchers to work at leading research institutions abroad, and the Homing program, which offers grants to those returning. The foundation's Dr. Izabela Wagner has surveyed a number of scholarship holders. The upshot of this survey is an edifying report on the fates, decisions and opinions of the young people, whose presence and development are vital to Polish science.

In addition to all that, this last issue of The Polish Science Voice for the year has the usual information about what is happening in the field of research and technology as well as reports on the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and the University of Silesia's Faculty of Biology and Environment Protection in Katowice.
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