Poland Looks To Turn Elite Universities Into Local Startup Incubators

Universities are a great place for innovative ideas to take a more solid form. Plenty of students have an idea of what changes they would like to see, and some of them may even try to do something about it. Over in Poland there is a plan on the table to turn universities into startup incubators, which would certainly shake things up quite a bit.

An Exciting Development For Polish Startups and Students

This new proposal is drafted by Jaroslaw Gowin, Poland’s Minister of science and higher education. In his opinion it is due time that the country’s top universities shift their focus to fostering innovation rather than “just teaching”.  After all, with the current global focus on new technologies, Poland does not want to be left behind in the race.

The educational system in Poland has been subject to substantial changes over the past few decades. What once was a country ruled by the iron fist of communism with a limited access to education, is now a booming region for university studies. With a growing number of young people starting to study, things are looking quite well for the educational system in the country.

Despite the growing interest in higher education, there are some unwanted side effects as well. Most major universities in the country have shifted away from doing research and have gone all-in on education itself. This is rather unusual, as most universities around the world seem to walk a fine line between research and education.

Considering the number of graduates in Poland, things are looking quite positive. Eurostat indicates that there were nearly 600,000 graduates in 2013, putting Poland as the third most productive country in all of Europe. At the same time, the government is spending a lot of money on these educational efforts. Unfortunately, these strong trends cannot prevent many graduates from ending up in factory or service center jobs. Moreover, quite a few residents move to other countries as well, which is not helping matters much, either.

A reform seems to be in order, and focusing on turning universities into startup incubators is an interesting proposal. In doing so, Poland would follow similar trends in France , Germany, and the United Kingdom. Universities such as Cambridge and Humboldt have become global leaders in the field of research and business incubation.

Establishing more “elite universities” will not be an easy task, though. Poland hopes to spend 1.7% of the country’s GDP on research by 2020. Selecting the few elite universities will undoubtedly be a topic of substantial debates, as academics all have their own opinions and “favorites” as to who should be on these lists. This is an exciting future for Poland, assuming they can keep the unnecessary bickering to a minimum.

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