The overall budget of PO WER programme provides over 1.2 billion euro for supporting higher education. However a large part of these funds has already been acquired by universities, there is still a grand amount of funding available in the last financial perspective up to 2020. For 2018 the National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR) planned several calls for proposals within the PO WER programme.
PO WER 3.5 - Comprehensive programs of higher education institutions
The Action 3.5 of PO WER called 'Comprehensive programs of higher education institutions' should be the key area of interest for university management leaders. Within this action the second edition of the flagship call for proposals "Integrated Programs of Universities" is planned. There will be a total of 1 billion polish zloty (PLN) to be acquired by HEIs. Call will be divided into three paths addressed to universities of various sizes to ensure equal opportunities in accessing the funds. In 2017 edition, the same budget was increased to 1.3 billion PLN due to the high quality of applications. It can be assumed that this kind of situation may happen in this edition too.
In first edition funds were granted to almost 140 HEIs for projects supporting their development and implementation of their missions, as well as activities implementing system changes resulting from the Act 2.0. Thanks to the funds obtained, universities are increasing the quality of education they offer and support the process of strategic university management through the implementation of modern solutions for the university. Many of the universities-beneficiaries of the program will implement IT systems for universities, such as ERP and LMS systems for universities or systems for students service. HEIs are also implementing tools to improve the work of the administrative staff, helping, for example, settle accounts for the university. Innovative solutions for universities were presented during Academy of Innovations for universities on 9th of February 2018.
Such development activities will also be supported in the next edition of the "Integrated Programs of Universities" to be announced in May 2018.
Financing possibilities for university development outside PO WER 3.5
Within PO WER programme, HEIs can also obtain funds through other Actions. In Action 3.1 'Competence in higher education' a call of proposals called "Teacher education programs" is planned for April this year. In this call, universities will be able to acquire funding for the development and implementation of teacher education programs in the fields of study with teaching specialization. The allocation for the call is 200 million PLN.
PO WER 3.1 Action also includes the "Third mission of the university" call, also with a budget of 200 million PLN. It will be a great opportunity to develop the cooperation between the university and its external stakeholders. Funds will be granted for projects for improvement of competences of non-students, that will be conducted by universities together with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local government units (LGUs).
The development of the university's third mission will also be supported by the "University of the Third Age" call, initiated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and this year continued by the National Center for Research and Development. Devoted to the goal of popularizing the latest scientific knowledge among the society and raising the competences of not only students will be also a new call „Course to MOOC”. The pilot edition of this competition is planned for this year. Polish universities will be able to apply for funds for the development of Massive Open Online Courses and publishing them on the national educational portal for everyone to use.
Within the PO WER programme there is also conducted a non-competitive project "Foreign accreditations". Here universities are granted financial support to cover costs directly related to the process of obtaining accreditation (including re-accreditation) and education quality certificates. The project is based on continuous recruitment and until today 121 basic organizational units of public and non-public universities have received financing.
PO WER support for activities benefiting university stakeholders
PO WER offers not only funding for university development, the implementation of ERP and LMS systems at the university, or for educating the society. It is also financing the activities addressed to higher education stakeholders, such as entrepreneurs and state administration.
Within Action 2.17 'Effective justice system' will be available 3.3 million zloty for HEIs for the implementation of postgraduate studies programme for the administration of justice system, whose subject matter will be mediation or economic crime. Universities will also be able to obtain between 200 and 400 thousands PLN for conducting trainings for local government employees under Action 2.18 'High-quality administrative services'. Training topics include taxes and property management.
PO WER also offers universities funds for the development of corporate staff. For development services for enterprises that can be carried out by HEIs among others will be allocated approx. 129 million PLN as part of Action 2.14 'Development of tools for lifelong learning', 2.2 'Support for strategic management of enterprises and building competitive advantage on the market', and 2.21 'Improvement of management, development of human capital and support of innovative processes in enterprises'. These services will allow universities to strengthen cooperation with business and support the conclusion of new partnerships.
The basis for this article were the official sources: the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the National Center for Research and Development, the Portal of European Funds, and the Operational Programme Knowledge Education Development website.