History of Gdańsk University of Technology after 1989 | Gdańsk University of Technology

History of Gdańsk University of Technology after 1989

Professor Edmund Wittbrodt, PhD, DSc, Eng., full professor at GUT

Członkowie Senatu Politechniki Gdańskiej, 1990 r

Beginnigs of system transformation

The year 1989 was a breakthrough in the history of Poland. The Gdańsk Coast played a dominant role in the events leading to changes - here "Solidarity" was created. Employees and students of Gdańsk University of Technology also took part in them. A democratic state, with market economy - the Republic of Poland was created.

The transformation also included higher education and science. A new Higher Education Act (1990), an Act on Scientific Titles and Degrees (1990) and the Act on the Scientific Research Committee (1991) were adopted. Universities gained considerable autonomy (education programs, admission limits), quality (categorization of faculties) and competitiveness (research funding based on competition) began to be important. From the very beginning Gdańsk University of Technology met the requirements set for autonomous universities - it employed over 80 professors, most faculties had full academic rights, and six of them were awarded category A for international achievements. The new university statute gave faculties significant independence, the deans' competences and responsibilities were strengthened.

The changes took place in difficult financial conditions. In the first years of transformation, funds for education of a single student fell by over 60%, and the share of funds for scientific research in the university budget decreased from 50% to 30%. Research financed by SRC accounted for 5 percent of the university budget, and by industry 8% This forced cost rationalization. While the number of students increased, the number of academic teachers was maintained at the level of 1100, and the number of non-teaching staff dropped from 2500 to 1500. All previously existing staff reserves were used. The ratio of the number of students per academic teacher increased from 4.8 to 17, reaching the European standard.

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University development

The needs of the economy forced s at the university. The Shipbuilding Institute was transformed into the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology (1990), the faculties of Machine Design and Machine Technology and Production Organization were merged into  the Mechanical Faculty (1992), the Management and Economics Faculty was established (1993). The Hydrotechnics Faculty was transformed into Environmental Engineering Faculty (1995), and the Faculty of Electronics into the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications

and Informatics (1995), while the Electric Faculty – into the Faculty of Electrical and Control Engineering (1996). The faculties of Civil Engineering and Hydrotechnics were also merged into the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2005). The Mechanical Faculty in Elbląg was closed (2000).

In 1990-2010, the following buildings were added: Institute of Maritime and Industrial Engineering, Auditorium Novum, the Faculty of Management and Economics, and the ‘B’ and ‘C’ Chemistry buildings were extended. Dormitories, "Bratniak" and Chemistry ‘B’ building were renovated, the attic rooms of the Main Building were finished. The building of the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics as well as the courtyards of the Main Building were constructed. The Knowledge and Entrepreneurship Center was created, and Siedlicka Street was added to the campus of the university. The ‘Forge’ was extended and the swimming pool was rebuilt. In the following years the clock tower was rebuilt on the Main Building. The Faculty of Architecture received a 3D laboratory, and the Chemical Faculty - Nanotechnology building A. The following buildings were constructed from the EU funds: the Nanotechnology Center of Gdańsk University of Technology, the Pomerania Center of Advanced Technologies, auditoriums, including the Immersed 3D Visualization Lab,  LINTE Lab and also Renewable Energy Sources Lab. Fac. The Mechanical Faculty obtained the Nanotechnology B building and the faculty building itself was expanded, and the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology received a model pool. Mathematics Teaching and Distance Learning Center has gained new rooms and studios. The square in front of the Main Building received a modern form.

Three-cycle studies were introduced (BSc, MSc, PhD), together with the European Credit Point System (ECTS) and the University System for the Assurance and Improvement of Education Quality. The university has obtained the "Quality Label" standard.

Otwarcie laboratorium

Cooperation Of Pomerania Universities

The joint celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Constitution of 3 May (1991) was a symbolic beginning of the close cooperation of the Universities of the Coast. It was supported by the council of rectors of Pomeranian universities (1991), whose work in 1991-2002 was coordinated by rectors of Gdańsk University of Technology.

The cooperation enabled a more efficient use of financial resources. It led among others to launching the Inter-university Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (1993), equipped with high-class apparatus, serving scientists of Gdańsk University of Technology, University

of Gdańsk and the Medical Academy. It also favored the integration of the academic community of the region with local authorities and business. The inaugurations of the academic years combined with a concert, organized since 1993, served this purpose.

Gdańsk University of Technology's goal is to influence the local community as part of the ‘Open University of Technology’ program - open conferences, lectures, exhibitions, meetings and music concerts. The university was awarded the title of Culture Patron of the City of Gdańsk for ‘the wide opening of its door to culture’ (2003).

As part of the university's regional cooperation, an agreement was signed (1993), which led to the launch of the TASK Tri-City Academic Computer Network (1995).

The library has become the leader of the Pomeranian Digital Library project, including the Kashubian Digital Library, implemented from EU funds (2009-2013) in cooperation with: the University of Gdańsk, the Gdańsk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Medical University of Gdańsk, the Academy of Music, the Maritime University of Gdynia, the Maritime University, Academy of Physical Education and Sport, Academy of Fine Arts, Pomeranian Voivodeship, county administrator’s office in Kartuzy and the Museum of Literature and Kashubian-Pomeranian Music in Wejherowo.

Biuletyn TASK

TASK computer network

In cooperation with Polska Telewizja Kablowa (Polish Cable TV) and Telekomunikacja Polska SA (Polish Telecommunications), the foundations of a university computer network connected to the national and international Internet network (1991) were created. Then, in agreement with universities and research units of the region, it was transformed into the Tri-City Academic Computer Network TASK (1993).

TASK was developing very dynamically. Initially, it was equipped with a Holk supercomputer with 4 GFLOPS (1994) computing power, then Galera 90 GFLOPS (2000), Holk 1.3 TFLOPS (2003), Galera 50 TFLOPS (2008), Galera Plus (2011) and Tryton 1.48 PFLOPS (2015). It consists of 3200 Intel Haswell processors (12 cores), 1607 compute nodes, 48 accelerator nodes (GPGPU or MIC) and an Infiniband 56 Gb / s network (2019). Its backbone is a broadband optical network with a total length of 245 km, working in 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology, connecting TASK with the national PIONIER and European GEANT networks.

The TASK IT Center provides its external users (scientists, graduate students, PhD students) with tools in the form of high-computing computers, specialized software and professional help. From the beginning, it has been taking care of a high level of internet services, computer equipment and facilities at its disposal. The Tryton supercomputer is intensively used by Tri-City, domestic and foreign scientists for research work. The Center participates in many Polish and European projects (including PLATON, PL-Grid, KMD). An example is the Tri-City Academic Computing Grid (TAGO) with servers located in five Tri-City universities, or the Mayday Euro 2012 project.

The expansion of TASK was accompanied by computerization of the Main Library. It was equipped with computer equipment, catalogs and collections were digitized with online access to collections, and book borrowing was automated.

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At the beginning of the 90s, 2400 people were employed, including 1200 academic teachers, including 113 professors and 156 habilitated doctors. In subsequent years, the staff remained at a comparable level. At present the university employs 2800 people, including 1315 academic teachers, including 126 professors and 159 habilitated doctors (2018).

The university staff made a huge contribution to the development of science and the economy. The merits of prof. Edward Borowski in drug chemistry, prof. Jerzy Konopa - in chemistry of cancer drugs, and professor Boleslaw Mazurkiewicz in maritime engineering, bulkhead stability, foundations, construction of ramps and docks are especially important. Professor Piotr Kowalik received the SETAC world award for ecological education (Lisbon 1993) and the Bertebos prize of the Swedish Royal Academy of Agricultural and Forest Sciences (2005). Professor Jan Hupka received the Grand Prix of the Industrial Technology, Science and Innovation Fair Technocon-Innovations 2008, and professor Andrzej Czyżewski - Gold Medal of the 36th International Salon of Invention for hearing and speech screening systems (Geneva 2008), Gold Medal of the International Inventions Fair Concours Lepine in France for the computer interface Lipmouse and Intelligent pen, as well as for computer multimedia interfaces implemented in education, medicine, defense and industry. Professor Hanna Obarska-Pempowska was honored for new methods of reducing pollutant emissions and using by-products of sewage treatment plants. Professor Zdzisław Kowalczuk is the laureate of the Foundation for Polish Science award, and professor Andrzej Czyżewski – of the main prize of the Minister of Science and Information Technology ‘Oscar of Science’ in the INFO category.

Winners of the Jan Heweliusz Scientific Award of the City of Gdańsk were professors: Edward Borowski (1988), Edmund Wittbrodt (1997), Jacek Namieśnik (2001), Michał Mrozowski (2002), Andrzej Czyżewski (2006), Janusz Rachoń (2010) and Kazimierz Darowicki (2016).

The ‘Primum Cooperatio’ employers’ awards for outstanding research activity implemented in the economy went to professors: Bolesław Mazurkiewicz, Janusz Rachoń, Andrzej Czyżewski and Kazimierz Darowicki

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Since 190, the number of university students has been growing systematically, by 20% on average annually. In 1990 it amounted to 6,000. and in 2000 - 18 thousand. It reached its maximum (24000) in 2010-2014.

The interest in technical studies resulted from the needs of the market and the offered fields of study. New forms of studies were introduced (e.g. engineering studies) and fields of study (e.g. environmental protection, biotechnology, management, materials engineering, robotics, mechanical and medical engineering, space and satellite technologies).

From the total number of students 19 thousand are full-time students, 3.8 thousand part time students, 1.9 thousand postgraduate and MBA students, and 429 doctoral students (2018). Students study at 33 fields of study (faculty, inter-faculty and inter-university) and 109 specialties, as well as at 6 doctoral studies (including Environmental Doctoral Studies). The university also offers 50 different types of postgraduate studies.

Students of Gdańsk University of Technology in the years 1945 – 2017

The number of students dropped significantly after 2015. This is primarily the result of a change in the method of financing education by the ministry (financing has been made dependent on the adopted optimal indicator of the number of students per one academic teacher equal to 11) and the demographic situation. This happened despite the growing demand for engineers.

At the end of 2019, the number of students dropped to below 13,800.


International cooperation

From the very beginning Gdańsk University of Technology enjoyed recognition in the country and abroad. This is evidenced by cooperation with many foreign universities, jointly implemented didactic and research projects as well as scientific publications, honorary doctorates from other universities granted to professors of our university, membership in international organizations and scientific associations.

In the 1990s, 60 agreements were carried out with foreign universities and major research and development centers around the world, including Germany, Finland, France, the USA. This allowed the staff to conduct original research, as well as raise their qualifications and obtain academic degrees.

European programs contributed to a significant revival of international cooperation: Tempus, Joint European Projects (JEP), Socrates-Erasmus, European Union Research Framework Programs. We organize many scientific conferences of major importance, with the participation of eminent scientific authorities, such as prof. George Hitchings, Nobel Prize winner. A Computer Modeling Center was established at the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology by Det Norske Veritas (2003).

In 2018, international cooperation includes 385 universities from 50 countries, under 119 agreements, including 50 with universities of the European Union. 548 Erasmus agreements are also implemented, including 462 with EU countries.



Graduates perform important public, local government, parliamentary, governmental, and business functions. The following graduates held ministerial functions: prof. Tomasz Biernacki, prof. Edmund Wittbrodt, Jan Kozłowski, PhD Henryk Majewski, prof. Ryszard Krystek and Krzysztof Kilian. Some of the graduates were presidents of cities: PhD Jerzy Pasiński, Jan Kozłowski and Jacek Karnowski, or marshals of the voivodship: Jan Zarębski and Jan Kozłowski. The following held national and European parliamentary functions: prof. Edmund Wittbrodt, Jan Kozłowski and Janusz Rachoń.

Ryszard Hetnarski was a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), prof. Włodzimierz Gawroński worked at the NASA Jet Laboratory in Los Angeles (USA), Janusz Liberkowski became the winner of the American Inventor competition of the American television station ABC. Our graduates were also rectors of other universities: prof. Bohdan Kowalczyk, prof. Józef Lisowski and prof. Romuald Cwilewicz, prof. Władysław Nowak, prof. Zbigniew Grzonka, prof. Bernard Lammek (University of Gdańsk) and prof. Józef Szala. The following have achieved significant business success: Ryszard Krauze, Piotr Soyka, Zbigniew Canowiecki, Edward Lipski, Piotr Śliwicki, Marek Kamiński, Jan Mioduski, Waldemar Kucharski, Andrzej Adler, Marek Piechocki, and Ryszard Trykosko.

Several Faculties have recognized the following people as their outstanding alumni: (2010) Stanisław Fiszer - architect, prof. Janusz Pawliszyn - chemist, Adrian Kosowski - the youngest graduate in history (19 years old) from the Faculty of Electronics Telecommunications and Informatics, Piotr Stolz - electrical engineer, Andrzej Synowiecki - physicist, prof. Wacław Zalewski - building constructor, prof. Jarosław Mikielewicz - mechanic, Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz - sailor, Roksana Ciurysek - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


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University ranking

The university's achievements can be measured by the results of university rankings. In 1993, the university took the fifth place in the ranking of the weekly ‘Wprost’ among all national universities, and the second among technical universities. In the ranking of the weekly ‘Newsweek’, prepared on the basis of opinions of employers, Gdańsk University of Technology took the first place in 2000 among technical universities in the country, and fourth in the general classification among all state-owned universities. In the ‘Kuźnia Menegerów’ (Forge of managers) ranking, Gdańsk University of Technology took a high twelfth position. In 2005-2008, in the "Wprost" ranking, Gdańsk University of Technology took the fifth or sixth position among 23 technical universities. In the ranking of the weekly ‘Perspektywy’ Gdańsk University of Technology in 2009 took the twenty-fifth place, and in 2010 - the twenty-seventh among all universities in Poland. According to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in 2009, Gdańsk University of Technology took the second place in the number of candidates to study per one place offered.

According to the ministerial commission (2017), the university is among the best ones in Poland. Of the nine faculties of Gdańsk University of Technology, two have the highest category A + (Faculty of Chemistry, Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics), five have a very high category A (Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Electrical and Control Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Management and Economics), while the other two are good category B (Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology, Faculty of Applied Physics and Mathematics).

Current information on the Gdańsk University of Technology rankings can be found on the Facts and Figures page, linked below.