With this paper we try to contribute to the debate on the nature of research intensive universities and the chances to create this type of institution in Poland. Research universities are presented as elite, flagship institutions for educating students mostly at the doctoral level and to produce the bulk of the research output. Examples of world-class research intensive universities from various countries are presented. It is shown that intensified competition among universities exists to prove their performance through global university league tables or ranking exercises and it is discussed whether Poland is at the stage to create at least one such institution playing important role in that competition. We argue that the establishment of a University of the Polish Academy of Sciences could be a solution. This University stands to become a unique research institution in Poland and one of very few establishments of its type in Central and Eastern Europe. The University will conduct scientific research and provide programs of the highest standard, exploiting the research and teaching potential of the PAS institutes as well as the competence and experience of members of the Academy's corporation. It is intended as a higher education institution with a decentralized organizational structure, based on the PAS research institutes. The University of the Polish Academy of Sciences will have a quality-boosting impact on the PAS institutes as well as initiate their consolidation and reorganization in the field of teaching.
The article is an answer to questions concerning values, goals and functions of the University in the era of globalization changes that enforce changes in the area of higher education. The author emphasizes the need for balanced development of science, humanities and social sciences as a condition for preserving research independence, as well as the importance of cooperation, both in research and in the „shaping of autonomous institutionalism” of the University (Roggero). The article provides an analysis of the commercialization process of research results, based on data from Polish and foreign studies, and indicates its various forms and social costs. This is a study of the University's condition in the face of the growing importance of transnational corporations, regulating not only the flow of capital, but also the distribution of scientific prestige and appropriating in a different way the effects of academic work. The metaphor of the university as a enterprise/knowledge factory visualizes the errors in perceiving the role that it should play. It proves that research and teaching is not the production and transmission of knowledge, but the creation and sharing of knowledge. In this dialogical process, the idea of a university understood as a community of educators and taught in pursuit of truth is achieved most fully, not for glory, for making profit or for gaining a competitive advantage.