Another year of education and research, climate change and sustainable development actions, positioning in rankings, as well as achievements of our scientists and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below there are selected most meaningful events that the UW community faced in the passing year.

UW during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the beginning of May, 2021, in the UW Library building, the University of Warsaw opened the Vaccination Point for its students and employees. Additionally, the “Arm in Arm” campaign was launched to promote vaccination against coronavirus among academic community. The UW employees and doctoral candidates were also offered no-cost tests for SARS-CoV-2.

In December, UW Rector’s ordinance allowed for an additional remuneration for special working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This corona bonus is a one-time premium.

UW for climate and environment

As the first among other Polish universities, UW joined the global Race To Zero campaign. The project aims at rallying leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

The UW Rector’s Team for Ecology and Climate Crisis issued a document that describes strategic ”milestones” to be achieved by the University of Warsaw in the forthcoming years. The Agenda refers to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

”Green University of Warsaw” is a competition for interdisciplinary projects that relate to modern research in the field of pro-environmental issues, related to activities for the protection of biodiversity, conserving natural resources, and shaping pro-ecological attitudes. Closing date for the call is 13th January, 2022.

The investments of the multi-annual development plan

The implementation of the program has been extended from 2025 to 2027. In March, the competition to design the building at Furmańska street was won by the “Piotr Bujnowski – Architekt” architecture studio. The construction of the building of the UW Faculty of Psychology started in May. In December, the authorities of the University of Warsaw signed a contract with Mota-Engil Central Europe for construction and assembly works of the students residence hall at the Slużewiec Campus.

UW in rankings

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 include more than 1,500 universities across 93 countries and regions. In January, the University of Warsaw hit the 123rd position among 172 other universities which were assessed for their performance in four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The ranking included only two Central European universities: University of Warsaw (123 rank position) and Charles University in Prague (79 rank position).

In March, QS Quacquarelli Symonds, global higher education analysts, released the new edition of the QS World University Rankings – the world’s most-consulted source of comparative information about university performance. The assessment covered 19 study programmes at the University of Warsaw, with Archaeology, Modern Languages and Philosophy programmes on top positions of the ranking.

According to QS University Rankings, the University of Warsaw ranked first among the best Polish universities. UW was classified on 308 rank position worldwide, 130 rank position in Europe and the first place in the ranking in Poland. Academic reputation and employer reputation were features found as the most remarkable ones in the UW performance.

In the Perspektywy Ranking, the University of Warsaw was found a leader in terms of the largest number of the best fields of study – there are 23 of them. Ahead of the Warsaw University of Technology, which has 17.

In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2021 (ARWU), the University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University were ranked in 401-500 among over 1,800 universities from all over the world. ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate Analytics, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance of a university.

Scientific achievements of UW researchers

Prof. Jacek Jemielity from the Centre of New Technologies and Prof. Cezary Cieśliński from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw received the 2021 Foundation for Polish Science Prize in chemistry and materials sciences for developing chemical modifications of mRNA as tools for therapeutic applications and studies on cellular processes.

Dr Paweł Polkowski from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw won the 2021 National Science Centre Award (NCN Award) for his work in arts, humanities and social sciences. Dr Polkowski studies the rock art of Egypt and Sudan.

Dr Maria Górna, from the Faculty of Chemistry and the Biological and Chemical Research Centre at the University of Warsaw, appeared on the list of 100 Women of 2021 by Forbes Women Polska among many celebrities and activists in business, politics, culture and media.

Prof. Patrycja Grzebyk, Prof. Andrzej Wysmołek, Dr Wojciech Figiel and Dr Takao Ishikawa received the UW Rector’s Didactic Award. The award criteria recognise and distinguish academics who have remarkable achievements in teaching and introducing innovative methods.

The Copernicus Medal 2021 was awarded to the interdisciplinary advisory team for COVID-19 at the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Dr Aneta Afelt from the UW Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling is a member of the honoured team.

In December, Prof. Jacek Klinowski, an outstanding Polish chemist from the University of Cambridge, received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Warsaw.

On 15th December in the Senate Hall of Kazimierzowski Palace, a ceremonial renewal of a doctorate was held for Prof. Ewa Wipszycka-Bravo.

Scientists from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw led by dr hab. Michał Tomza, together with the experimental group of prof. Tobias Schaetz from the University of Freiburg, were the first to observe Feshbach resonances between single ion and ultracold atoms. The results of their work were published in “Nature”. The article was also highlighted on the journal’s cover.

UW students’ achievements

In ASC Student Supercomputer Challenge 20-21, the world’s largest supercomputing hackathon, UW students won gold in Machine Learning “Language Exam (LE) Challenge” and bronze in PRESTO application.

Students of the UW Faculty of Economic Sciences are silver medallists in the European finals of the Rotman European Trading Competition.

UW Management students promote entrepreneurship in older age. Their project ”Seniors in Business”  was distinguished in the TV programme ”Zwolnieni z teorii” for its social impact via media.

The UW chess team of students and doctoral candidates participated in the Collegiate Chess League for the first time. Twice a year, collegiate chess teams from all over the world and any skill level compete in a one-of-a-kind competition to fight for the CEA Collegiate Chess Champion title. The UW team was undefeated, yet lost the first place to the University of Chicago in the final match.

Other interesting events of 2021

On 10th June, for almost two hours, the effects of a partial solar eclipse could be seen from all over Poland. Such a phenomenon was observed in 2015. Now, anyone interested could observe the effects of the solar eclipse under the watchful eye of astronomers from the University of Warsaw.

On 13th June, the Amorphophallus titanum – a tropical plant whose magnificent inflorescence can be admired every few years – bloomed in the UW Botanical Garden.