Excellence Initiative - Research University IDUB

When applying for the IDUB programme, we set ourselves very ambitious goals. The bibliometric indicators reported for the years 2014-2018 placed the Silesian University of Technology in a distant position among the universities participating in the competition. However, we presented a development plan that won the trust of the International Panel of Experts. The plan was a well-thought-out systematic package of 27 tasks and a series of organisational measures forming a unified whole. It contained elements that significantly distinguished it from other applications, thanks to which our University moved up many places in the ranking and found itself among the winners. After already four years of IDUB implementation, we do not regard any of them as unnecessary or whose dimension should be weakened, even though the achievement of some of the set goals still requires consistent effort, but is as realistic as possible by 2026. I think that the period so far and the manner of implementation of the IDUB programme, which I have the honour of leading, have proven that it is accessible to everyone - our Staff, Doctoral Students and Students - and does not exclude anyone. However, it is a very ambitious programme, and in order to benefit from it, we need to commit to and often change our current practices. The prospect of multi-year funding based on a package of more than 30 transparent pro-quality programmes based on precisely defined criteria and the investment of around 90% of the budget in human capital provides the opportunity and, most importantly, the guarantee to do so. This is brilliantly demonstrated by the growing number of IDUB beneficiaries each year - in 2022 there were 3050 people, including 1750 staff and 1250 students. In 2023, these figures have increased significantly. The openness of information and the annual reporting of all tasks and progress at university-wide meetings and discussions with individual Community groups, analyses at meetings of the Senate, University Council and Management College, as well as with Students and Partners from the socio-economic environment, make it possible, within the framework of defined tasks, to refine the paths for their implementation. This is an important element of improvement.

By assumption, IDUB was not treated at the Silesian University of Technology as a project, but as a strategic programme for the development of the University. It became the basis for the adopted new development strategy until 2026. The IDUB programme has been supported by a number of coherent complementary activities, which include participation in the EURECA-PRO European University alliance, consolidation of potential with other universities in the region, participation in development and organisational projects financed from EU funds, investment in unique infrastructure and world-class apparatus, science popularisation and promotional activities.

The most important measurable objective successes, in my opinion, include the very dynamic growth of the key indicators of scientific and teaching excellence defined by international Experts and the opening up to cooperation with external partners - national and international, scientific and industrial. All of this is accompanied by a significantly increasing number of programme beneficiaries getting involved. This is an essential element in the development of the University, which wants to strengthen its position nationally and gain international prestige and recognition.

The clear and graded direction of support for publishing in the most prestigious journals has resulted in the Silesian University of Technology improving its position in the TOP10, TOP5 and TOP1 groups from 2019 to 2022 among the 20 universities participating in IDUB by up to 10 places, and the percentage of publications in TOP1 has increased by as much as about 5 times. Similarly, a rise of a dozen positions was recorded in terms of international cooperation as expressed by the percentage of articles with a foreign co-author. This is an extremely significant upturn, as we were in last place until 2020. Given the determination of the Sstaff and the forecasts of international bibliometric systems, our position in all these indicators will continue to rise in the years to come. 

The Silesian University of Technology is becoming an attractive place to study, work and develop a career for people from abroad. The proportion of foreign doctoral students has already significantly exceeded the target planned for 2025 at the end of 2021. The number of publications by Doctoral students in renowned journals is also growing significantly. They are encouraged by the growing cooperation with Partners in the Joint Doctoral School. We are a leader in the country in developing the student research movement. The number of funded PBL projects exceeds 200 per year. The number of student research club projects is not much smaller. Students are co-authors of many publications. The huge number of settled teaching hours within the framework of pro-quality programmes has made it possible to employ new staff. The widely developed activities within the priority research areas, POBs, cited as a model in the country at the annual IDUB reporting conferences, and the in-depth studies we initiated on the possibility of forming a federation or other forms of consolidation with the entities of the education and science system in the region have significantly contributed to and provided the basis for the implementation of joint activities in this area with 6 other public universities. This cooperation has been formalised. Already much greater successes than at the outset are evident in the acquisition of international projects, including those coordinated by our University. In competitions for employment at the Silesian University of Technology, applications are submitted by people with very high citation indices. We are visited by eminent personalities such as Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Kobilka, ERC grant holders and Highly Cited Researchers. Competitions for breakthrough research, gaining great interests of our scientists, are starting to produce results. The number of double or joint degree and doctoral agreements is increasing. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education appreciating our achievements has entrusted us to organise the next IDUB reporting conference in autumn 2024.

The ground-breaking role of the IDUB programme in our University and our collective concern for it was brilliantly summarised by the International Panel of Experts, whose words as expressed in the report for the mid-term evaluation. We are well on the way to continuing this programme in the next edition.

I kindly ask for Your confidence