Research for everyone. New subject in all Gdańsk Tech fields of study | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2023-03-07

Research for everyone. New subject in all Gdańsk Tech fields of study

The group of researchers
Studying at a technical university is a pass to a profitable career that often comes to your doorstep without you even trying to look for it. Offers from employers flow to students even before obtaining a diploma. It is mainly for this reason that many of young people give up thinking about a scientific career, which is an extremely interesting alternative to traditional work, and its effects can make a significant contribution to the innovativeness of the national economy. Thanks to the introduction of a new subject called research project implementation at all faculties of Gdańsk University of Technology, students will get to know the backstage and development opportunities that a scientific career path might give them.

Currently, the issue of conducting research work appears to a minimum extent in the curricula of Polish universities. The competences necessary to carry out a scientific project are acquired by only a few students - mainly those who work in scientific clubs. This is soon to be changed at Gdańsk University of Technology. The implementation of research projects – as a compulsory subject - will appear in the curriculum in the academic year 2024/2025.

From group projects to research projects

Gdańsk University of Technology already has experience in conducting a similar course, which, in various formulas, is conducted at the Gdańsk Tech Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics. The first such classes were held at second-cycle studies already in 2004, and the initiator of the idea was prof. Henryk Krawczyk, then dean of the faculty.

Currently, on the initiative of prof. Jerzy Wtorek, all students of second-cycle FETI studies have been working in research teams of several people for two years with the support of a mentor-scientist, and group projects have been changed into research projects.

– When we received the status of a research university, an idea arose that group projects, where various types of applications in a typical engineering dimension are created, should be changed into research projects. This is to prepare students of master's studies for research work, e.g. in R&D centers, but also for a conscious decision to choose doctoral studies - explains prof. Mariusz Kaczmarek, vice-rector for education. – Both the type of students’ work and the nature of projects have changed, which are no longer application projects, but serve to prove scientific theses that students, under the supervision of a mentor, formulate when starting their project work.

The subject is compulsory, and all second-cycle students at FETI take part in the projects. The prerequisite for passing the subject is the preparation by the research team of a report in English, in the form of a scientific publication. Students have two semesters to complete the project. The best and most interesting projects are presented and awarded in March, during the inauguration of second-cycle studies.

– Already the first edition showed that it was a good idea - sums up Krzysztof Nowicki, PhD, Eng., professor at Gdańsk Tech, subject tutor. – All student teams prepared relevant reports in the form of articles. Several of them have been published and presented at international scientific conferences. Four publications have appeared in high-scoring journals and one patent procedure is under way. The second edition includes almost eighty projects and at least a dozen planned publications of scientific articles. This is a huge potential that we want to transfer to other faculties.

Project management system

ETI faculty has created a special service for managing group projects, in which students of engineering and research studies now participate. Project topics are submitted by both scientists from the faculty, as well as external companies interested in implementing issues from their industry by students.

– When students start these classes, they have several hundred topics to choose from, several dozen of which are submitted by companies. In the current edition, almost 300 topics were available, of which about 50 in cooperation with companies. We are pleased with such a large number of issues, because it leaves students a lot of choice - explains Krzysztof Nowicki, PhD, professor at Gdańsk Tech.

A similar platform for managing research projects will be implemented in the university-wide system. Thanks to this, students of all faculties will be able to form research teams, choose topics they are interested in and find a project supervisor.

Full documentation on intellectual property and ownership has also been prepared.

– When carrying out a research project, it is extremely important to regulate the rules of cooperation between students, the mentor, and in some cases an external company - says prof. Paweł Czarnul, vice-dean for cooperation and promotion at FETI - We have developed effective procedures and appropriate agreements defining the scope of ownership and intellectual property rights to the project results. They are universal and can also be used in other faculties.

Valuable experience 

– Seeing the benefits that students take in these classes at FETI, with what enthusiasm they approach this task, having already gained experience and tools, we want to introduce such a subject as compulsory at the second-cycle of master's studies at all other faculties. Thanks to this, all students will be able to experience what it is like to work on a research project. We hope that interdisciplinary projects will be created and that students from different faculties will cooperate with each other - emphasizes rector Kaczmarek. - Thanks to publications, it will also be easier for interested students to apply for doctoral studies, where one of the admission conditions is an article in a scientific journal. It is also an opportunity to present your scientific achievements in your CV, which can be an advantage for a potential employer.

Although student research projects are carried out at most universities in Poland, such activities are undertaken primarily by scientific clubs or individual students. Gdańsk University of Technology was the first to introduce such a subject to the curriculum.

Teaching innovations at Gdańsk Tech

The university constantly improves the quality of education and introduces innovations in teaching. For two years now, the Center for Innovative Education, which methodically supports academic lecturers and students in the educational process has been operating at Gdańsk University of Technology. Gamification, multimedia academic textbooks, a didactic innovation competition or a lecturer certification system aimed at "didactic excellence" are only a small part of the Center's activities.