International Visibility Project – what is it about?
One of the main goals of the reform of the higher education and science in Poland – introduced on the basis of ”The Law on Higher Education and Science” from July 20, 2018 – is raising the level of scientific research and their greater internationalization. Solutions, introduced by the Law in the field of support of research universities – based on the international standards – create new opportunities to improve the position of the Polish HEIs in global academic rankings, including those „by subject”. This requires a deeper understanding of the specificity of these rankings and the proper targeting of the university’s efforts.
In this context, “Perspektywy” Education Foundation undertook the implementation of the two-year project of “academic excellence” – the International Visibility Project (IntVP) – which will contribute to:
- educating and shaping professional staff, both at managerial and specialist level at leading HEIs, competent in the area of academic rankings and knowing key aspects of creating a University international reputation,
- increasing the visibility and image building of Polish universities at the international scene,
- finally, as the result of the implemented and completed activities, raising the position of Polish HEIs in the international academic rankings.
International Visibility Project is financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland. During the official inauguration of the project on April 17, 2019, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin said, ”This project will help Polish universities to make a better use of their potential, which in its turn will be transferred into a better position in global rankings”. The Minister’s optimism was shared by prof. Jan Szmidt, the Rector of Warsaw University of Technology and the President of the Conference of the Academic Schools of Poland (CRASP), who pointed out that ”the means assigned by the Ministry will allow Polish HEIs for a broader entrance into the international academic society and a more effective presentation of their potential”.
The project presupposes the analysis of the four prestigious academic rankings (”Big-4” Group) from the point of view of the needs and possibilities of the Polish Universities. These are: Shanghai Ranking – Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU); Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE); QS World University Rankings (QS) and US News Best Global Universities Rankings (US News). The above rankings – prepared on a regular basis by prestigious ranking organizations from China, Great Britain and the USA – have transparent methodologies and publish at least 1000 universities in their lists. That makes them a perfect tool for the monitoring of the effectiveness of the Polish universities’ activities, at least those 17 of them that could be found in Top-1000 ranking lists in 2018. Additionally, other ranking systems’ indicators may be taken into account, including CWTS Leiden Ranking and U-Multirank.
20 Polish academic HEIs were invited to take part in the project. They belong to different types of the HEIs (universities, technical, medical, economic, life sciences and private HEIs) and are geographically diverse.
The key condition of participating in the Project is appointing the ”Project Ranking Group” at a HEI. The Group is intended to be supervised by a Vice-Rector responsible for the development or management of the University and to be provided with all the necessary administrative means. The project was launched in March 2019 and is to be finished in January 2021.