Jarosław Gowin, the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, announced the official plans to open ten Centers of Excellence in Poland. The official statement during Hannover Messe 2017 was followed by signing an agreement on scientific cooperation between him and Johanna Wanka, the Federal Minister of Education and Research.

The agreement consists of two parts. The first establishes a cooperation between the German Max Planck Institute and the Polish National Center of Science within the framework of international science projects. The second part is a letter of intent regarding the Centers of Excellence. Both sides plan to sign a detailed agreement in June or July 2017.

“Poland will be the second country in the world after Israel to become a strategic partner of the Max Planck Institute,” stressed Gowin. A similar program has not only tightened the cooperation between Germany and Israel but also significantly increased the level of recognition of the Israeli science.

Max Planck Society, responsible for the Max Planck Institutes in Germany and abroad, is one of the most prestigious research and development facilities on the globe. The society totals 18 Nobel Prize winners since its founding in 1948.

The new Centers of Excellence in Poland will become a part of the existing scientific institutions, such as universities, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, or research institutes. Poland and Germany will co-finance the work of international research teams. Best scientists, chosen in open contests, will be awarded additional research grants.

First three Centers of Excellence will have opened by 2018. “We intend to create ten various centers, representing the diversity of science,” said Gowin. “We will start with science, engineering, and life sciences, but we also plan to create such Centers of Excellence for humanities and social sciences.”

One of the topics that the Polish and German ministers touched upon was a scientific cooperation in the field of mining, with a special emphasis of lignite. “Our expertise in this field is something Poland can be proud of,” said Gowin.