The anniversary of the Polish Studies initiative has been marked with a 'fruitful exchange' of ideas.

The strength, and the considerable untapped potential, of academic links between the University of Cambridge and Poland were in evidence during the recent visit of a group of senior Polish scientists and university leaders.

The Polish delegation, including Professor Marcin Palys, Rector of Warsaw University, and Professor Maciej Żylicz, President of the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP), were in Cambridge last month for a round table on UK-Poland scientific collaboration. They were welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and by Dr Stanley Bill, Director of the University’s pilot initiative for Polish Studies.

Marking the first anniversary of the launch of the Polish Studies initiative, Dr Bill said: “The high level meeting of leaders from British and Polish institutions generated a very fruitful exchange of ideas for future cooperation in science and innovation. It was especially encouraging to see consensus on the importance of the humanities in this process. Research collaboration in any area is a form of cultural exchange, and requires mutual respect and understanding.”

He added: “The new initiative in Polish Studies in the Department of Slavonic Studies at Cambridge precisely aims to provide British students with knowledge of Poland's culture and language, while also educating the broader public through a series of special events. We believe that this work will form an important part of the process of building bridges between the UK and Poland across a range of areas.”

Commenting on the discussions about student mobility and researcher exchange, Professor Palys said: “The interest for collaboration in scientific projects is clearly rising.” He expressed his support for the work of the Polish Studies programme, which, he said, “will trigger more research in humanities and beyond”.

At the end of the visit, which was supported by the British Embassy in Warsaw, Professor Żylicz remarked: “Poland has huge potential, and already quite significant scientific achievements in many fields of science. The United Kingdom brings to the table a culture of excellence in scientific work. As we gradually get to know each other and start to work together our scientific efforts may bring outstanding results.”

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