1. Why does our university need the union of universities / federation / consolidation?
The main reason for consolidation activities concerning universities in the world is to benefit from the large scale of operations – to obtain benefits from the integration of the universities’ activities, enhance their position at home and abroad, and increase their impact on all aspects of academic life. The Fahrenheit Universities (FarU) most important task is to identify and prepare the best possible use of the resources and potential of the three member universities in the scientific, research, teaching, organisational and development areas. Joint action by the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG in all those areas may, but do not have to, lay the foundations for one cohesive academic centre with an unquestionably high position in Poland and elsewhere in the world.
More importantly, this would also translate into greater development opportunities and procurement of funds from external sources.
However, at this stage, it is important first of all to recognise potential cooperation areas and identify those which may bring the expected synergy effect with the Union universities retaining their full autonomy.
The location is also important, as Gdańsk is a city distinguished by a high personnel, technology and scientific potential. One of the key elements is close cooperation with the local government authorities of the region and the joint development of the strategy, which will enhance Pomerania’s academic potential through the increase of the number of Polish and foreign students. One of the strong challenges is to pursue the common promotion and rating policy, especially on the global markets.
2. How is the gradual consolidation of the three universities supposed to strengthen our position both domestically and internationally?
Each of the member universities has a considerable potential and scientific achievements, and this is confirmed by their successes so far and by very good results of the first edition of the prestigious “Excellence Initiative – Research University” competition and the European Universities partnership programme for European higher education institutions. Moreover, as many as 43 scientists from the universities forming the Union have been counted among 2% of the most influential researchers in the world in the Stanford University rankings.
Joint interdisciplinary research and initiatives gradually undertaken in synergy areas constitute solid grounds for making Gdańsk a recognisable academic centre, which may successfully compete with the best centres in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The development of a bigger and stronger academic centre may also result in better interdisciplinary programmes, broader educational offer, effective administration and enhanced change management potential. The integration of universities also permits closer cooperation with local authorities and business circles.
Through our activity, we wish to enhance quality in Polish science, foster relations with industry and business, and make the most gifted high school graduates and young scientists choose Gdańsk as a suitable place to study and develop their professional careers.
3. What is the schedule (in years) for the merger of the three universities into the union/federation? When will the change be implemented and how will it be staged?
To make the gradual consolidation process a success, it should be looked at from the perspective of several, perhaps even around a dozen years or so. The current activity within the Union aim, first of all, at preparing us for the federation, which will fully maintain the autonomy of the universities forming that federation. Its creation will only be possible following comprehensive analyses and, what is important, extensive consultation within the academic communities, so the perspective of at least 3-7 years should be adopted.
Current activities undertaken by the member universities are designed, first of all, to develop the federalisation strategy and identify possible collaboration areas in the short, medium and long-term perspective. Based on the example of foreign centres, including the universities in Paris, we know the process covers many stages taking place in a long-term perspective.
In the initial period of the activity of the Fahrenheit Universities, the main drive is to achieve synergy effects at, first of all, the financial level, for example through the rationalisation of the maintenance costs of the three universities (joint purchases of electric energy, etc.), and to increase efficiency in the area of research and teaching activity. Works are also underway which are focussed on optimisation of activities related to access to library resources by the staff and students of the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG, on the development of flexible access by the students of all those universities to halls of residence and on joint provision of selected public procurement services.
4. Is a dialogue with the academic communities of the three universities anticipated? In what kind of formula?
Each change raises concerns. Communication with the academic circles and the external environment is one of the key actions. The basic communication tools will be the FarU website and profiles in the social media, through which we will keep the community informed about major issues and day-to-day activities, and also give answers to important questions about the Union, areas of activity and benefits resulting from them, etc.
A cycle of debates at each member university with the participation of the rectors of the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG are planned, which will permit a better understanding of the idea of the Union of Universities and encourage the academic community to become involved in its promotion. The idea of the Fahrenheit Universities is being presented at the sessions of the member universities’ senates in order to build and increase the awareness of the FarU brand and introduce its objectives and main directions of the joint action.
5. Has a long-term strategy for the development of the union/federation been devised where the vision, mission and common objectives have been specified?
As part of the project “Supporting university consolidation processes” activities are undertaken which are designed, first of all, to develop the consolidation strategy and identify possible collaboration areas in the short, medium and long-term perspective.
With the participation of in-house and third party experts, the path towards the gradual federalisation will be prepared, whereas the assumptions for the promotion strategy for the brand of the Fahrenheit Union of Universities in Gdańsk have been developed and specific actions in the area of the dissemination of the brand have been proposed.
6. How will changes be implemented and communicated?
This is a multi-stage process spread over at least several years in a remote time perspective. Changes will be implemented gradually in jointly defined areas. To make these activities effective, the involvement of the academic communities in the process is essential. It is crucial to hold a dialogue with the member universities’ community, both during face-to-face meetings, and indirectly, with the use of modern technologies.
A cycle of debates at each member university and a webinar with the participation of the rectors of the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG are planned, which will permit a better understanding of the idea of the Union of Universities and encourage the academic community to become involved in its promotion. The Idea of the Union is being presented at the sessions of the member universities’ senates in order to build and increase the awareness of the FarU brand and introduce its objectives and main directions of the joint action.
1. How will the researchers at the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG benefit from the creation of the Fahrenheit Universities? What are the positive aspects of the next stage, i.e. the federalisation of the universities, in the context of research?
The creation of the FarU should translate into the creation of a scientific and research centre with a high international and national position in the league of academic centres, and with a significantly increased development potential. Synergy between the universities will open up the possibilities of pursuing completely new, even more interdisciplinary research projects, and it is precisely such projects which gain global recognition most often. The creation of the FarU also means new opportunities to procure finance for scientific and research projects.
2. Is the integration of such a large number of researchers in one federation reasonable? Will the federalisation of the universities bring more funds for science?
Definitely. The only chance to create an internationally recognised research centre is integration and joint action. The joint representation of the interests and objectives of the researchers at the FarU member universities will also translate into the better perception of those universities at institutions responsible for research project financing.
The potential of the Fahrenheit Universities is 44,000 students, nearly 4,000 research workers as well as 1,700 Ph.D. students, which places us among medium sized universities.
In a broader time perspective, better recognisability of a scientific and research centre will also enhance the position of the researchers focusing in their work on scientific fields with the highest growth potential, and the creation of common project offices will accelerate procedures and improve finance procurement efficiency.
3. What about the idea of a research university? Will the three universities take part in the new “Excellence Initiative – Research University” (2026) competition independently or as one entity?
Such a solution requires many arrangements, analyses, a thorough benefits assessment, etc. A joint start in the EIRU programme will only be possible when it has been approved by the three academic communities.
If the integration of the universities goes smoothly and gradually, the chance of the federation of the universities to obtain the research university status will be much greater. It will then be possible to obtain an additional grant and other extra funds in the next edition of the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” programme planned for 2026.
In the case of parametrisation, the assumptions are very similar. The possible joint assessment of the research activity of the FarU member universities and their staff would have to be supported by the high degree of the university consolidation process, as well as by the acceptance granted by the Union’s academic community.
4. What will the affiliation process of the Fahrenheit Universities look like?
If the federation of the three member universities of the Union is created, the affiliation of the researchers and other employees to their alma mater will continue to be stressed, and emphasising the membership of the university concerned in the Fahrenheit Universities will be an additional element.
5. Will the faculties representing the same/similar fields (e.g. the Faculty of Chemistry at the Gdańsk Tech and UG, and the Faculty of Pharmacy at the MUG or the Faculties of Economics at the UG and Gdańsk Tech) merge?
The faculties at the member universities of the Fahrenheit Universities will not be merged, and work organisation and structure of those facilities will not change. The FarU will, however, permit unrestricted academic cooperation between the faculties pursuing similar activity. University authorities are also considering the introduction of a system of grants supporting joint research work between the teams from our universities and the process of applying for international grants prepared by intercollegiate teams.
6. What will academic cooperation look like in practice? Will administrative procedures be simplified?
Owing to the FarU, it will be possible to make cooperation between researchers from the member universities of the Union much closer and more dynamic. Its creation will also enable the introduction of processes making administrative procedures simpler.
6. Will it be possible to use research infrastructure between the three universities free of charge?
The objective of the FarU is to create a modern research equipment and infrastructure base, which would be extended as the Fahrenheit Universities in Gdańsk develops. This will permit easy identification of research equipment and infrastructure available at the three universities. The common rules for making research infrastructure available will be developed in the nearest future.
The option to use research equipment of another university will most probably depend on the type of research activity for which such equipment would be needed.
1. What about the similar educational offer of the faculties? Is a merger of those units planned?
The educational offer of each of the member universities of the Fahrenheit Universities is different. As the FarU, we offer 143 courses of study, which will not only permit better competitiveness, but should also attract a greater number of prospective students from outside our region.
At the same time, we already have good practices in the creation of intercollegiate programmes of joint studies, for example Biotechnology taught at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the UG and MUG, Space and Satellite Technologies taught by researchers from the Gdańsk Tech and UG and Mechanical and Medical Engineering taught by the MUG and Gdańsk Tech. Owing to that experience, we think that it is possible to create a joint offer taking advantage of the interesting teaching solutions adopted by the partner universities.
2. Courses of study – will they be intercollegiate or unified?
At this stage, it seems most appropriate to administer such courses of study in the intercollegiate formula.
3. Is one joint enrolment process planned and, if so, when?
No joint enrolment process is planned at the moment; this option is only being considered.
4. Will students be able to choose classes within the Fahrenheit Universities? How will they receive their credit?
Obviously, students may take part in classes taught at other universities and the creation of the Fahrenheit Universities should make that easier. In the case of first and second cycle studies, there is such an option within the individual mode of study. In the case of doctoral schools, a Ph.D. student, upon consent from the director following consultation with persons teaching the classes and with the supervisor, may receive credit for classes at another doctoral school or in other education forms administered at level 8 of the Polish Qualification Framework. As for the credit method, we use a credit without a grade. The successful completion of classes in any form will thus satisfy that condition.
5. Will students be able to use the infrastructure within the three universities, e.g. library resources, halls of residence, laboratories, sports facilities?
Work is underway to prepare the collaborative use of welfare infrastructure (e.g. halls of residence) so that accommodation facilities are used reasonably. Under the regulations of the libraries of the FarU universities, the resources of those libraries may be used by the students of all the three universities already. It is a question of time to make common space (e.g. sports facilities) available to all the students of the Union’s universities. The use of laboratories will be possible at joint courses of study and under agreements between the universities.
6. What kind of graduation diploma will the students receive? Will the name of the alma mater be retained? What about professional titles?
The current law requires a course of study to be allocated to a leading field. The diploma may be a joint one or double, and there are many lawful solutions available for use.
7. Will the maintenance grant system change?
The maintenance grant system is regulated by relevant regulations at the Polish national level. Only the income threshold may vary. Money towards the maintenance grant fund is divided between higher education institutions and settled as such. We do not anticipate any changes.
1. Is the consolidation of the organisational structures of the universities planned and if so, in which time perspective? This applies to faculties, administration, organisations such as the Students’ Government or Doctoral Schools.
This is a multi-stage process spread over at least several years in a remote time perspective. Changes will be implemented gradually in jointly defined and agreed areas. The member universities retain their autonomy; and action at this stage aims, first of all, at system optimisation and at the collaborative use of library resources, halls of residence and public procurement contracts. The member universities already administer joint forms of education through the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology and Doctoral Schools.
The current activities undertaken by the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG are designed, first of all, to develop the strategy for identification and consolidation of possible collaboration areas. Based on the example of foreign centres, including the universities in Paris, we know the process covers many stages taking place in a long-term perspective.
In the initial period of the activity of the Fahrenheit Universities, the main drive is to achieve synergy effects at, first of all, the financial level, for example through the rationalisation of the maintenance costs of the three universities, and to increase efficiency in the area of research and teaching activity. Works are also underway which are focussed on optimisation of activities related to access to library resources by the staff and students of the MUG, Gdańsk Tech and UG, on the development of flexible access by the students of all those universities to halls of residence and on joint provision of public procurement services.
2. Does the creation of the Fahrenheit Universities mean the reduction of the employment level at the universities? Will salaries be unified? Will there be one rector and Senate?
At the moment, the first and most important stage is to create the universities’ federation within which the autonomy of the Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology and University of Gdańsk will be retained. This will also translate to the personnel area, at which the universities will remain autonomous, too. Following the creation of the federation, the collaborative use of the selected areas of activity will continue, but only in those areas in which this will be advantageous to each of the universities forming the federation.
3. How will that translate to daily work? Will there be more work?
As part of the project “Supporting university consolidation processes”, 21 teams responsible for the various aspects of the integration of universities have been appointed. Especially at the design and implementation stage, this will require the involvement of the employees of the member universities. In the long-term perspective, the optimisation of activities will bring tangible benefits including higher efficiency of research and teaching activity, and the rationalisation of activities and maintenance costs incurred by each university separately.