Maciej Żylicz: Creating an inspiring environment for scientists in Poland

Maciej Żylicz is an outstanding Polish molecular biologist with an international career, currently based at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. He is also president of the Foundation for Polish Science, which is a non-profit funding agency, which is the largest source of science funding in Poland outside of the state budget. In an exclusive podcast interview to EuroScientist, he shares his views on the future of Polish science policy.

Europe has currently an important role in shaping Poland’s scientific attitude, he explains. Specifically, he believes that the ERC has been an example for a newly set up agency, the National Centre for Science.

Another agency devoted to applied science, the National Centre for Research and Development, has been profoundly revamped in line with European evaluation criteria, centred on excellence. If European institutions promote excellence, this will help us to build a similar attitude in Poland,” he explains, adding: “We need to promote excellent scientists in our system.”

Meanwhile, the Polish government has committed investment in R&D to increase by 10-15% every year, “so we will reach 2% of the GDP by 2020,” he points out.

The problem of brain drain is another issue that has been tackled by Polish institutions. The advisory boards of many of the new institutes created recently to foster excellence will involve many of the Polish scientists working abroad. The Foundation of Polish Science has also set up a program to bring back established scientists and young postdoctoral students to work in Poland. “Right now, there are quite a lot of people of Polish origin who would like to return to Poland to work,” he says, adding: “But we have to create an inspiring environment for this to happen.”

Podcast editing and cover text by Luca Tancredi Barone

Interview by Sabine Louët

Featured image credit: Maciej Żylicz

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Sabine Louët

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