The UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy was opened by the Rector of the University of Poznan, Professor Bronislaw Marciniak, through an agreement with UNESCO’s Director-General of July 16, 2012.

The UNESCO Chair is an innovative, interdisciplinary and policy-focused project. It is innovative in consistently developing university-policymakers links and using policy-evidence research as its principal methodology. It is thoroughly interdisciplinary and its themes cut across political sciences, educational sciences, development economics and institutional studies. It is highly internationalized as it capitalizes on the past 10 years of experiences, partnerships and cooperation between the Chairholder, Professor (Full) Marek Kwiek, and its collaborators and international partners from leading European and international research centers in higher education research.

The UNESCO Chair combines two dimensions which are often isolated in social sciences: research and policy (international, comparative higher education research is combined with higher education policy). Both the Chairholder and his partners have been involved in policy advisory work linking universities directly with development agencies, international non-governmental organizations and national governments in many countries. The UNESCO Chair capitalizes on contacts and networks with the global community of researchers, practitioners and policymakers, active in the area of educational research and educational reform. The UNESCO Chair is intended as a capacity-building mechanism for junior academics in the early stages of their careers from partner countries involved in research and policy projects. It goes far beyond traditional academic walls and involves partners and collaborators from the academic and policymakers communities.

The UNESCO Chair involves aspiring young academics and PhD students from both Poland and international partner institutions and offers them opportunities of networking, joint research, seminars, workshops and conferences, as well as unified methodologies of producing international, comparative, policy-relevant research in the areas prioritized by UNESCO. It has full institutional support of the executing university and guarantees long-term financial stability and its research and policy themes are very relevant to ongoing international discussions in development organizations about the role of education in fighting poverty and to global discussions about future trends in reforming educational institutions.

It is currently funded through several large-scale international and Polish research projects in higher education, including 7th Framework Programme of the European Union (EDUWEL and WORKABLE projects), European Science Foundation (EUROAC project), and the National Research Council (MAESTRO project, 2012-2017).