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It can safely be said that Krakow has been the leading research and academic centre in Poland for 657 years (since the foundation of the Jagiellonian University in 1364). The city still attracts young people from all over the country and abroad, becoming for them not only a place of education but often the place where they spend their later professional life.

Ranking leader

No wonder – today’s Krakow has 23 universities, almost 130 thousand students and 12 thousand lecturers who share their knowledge with the students. However, it is not the numbers that are the most important here. Krakow’s flagship universities, the Jagiellonian University and the AGH University of Science and Technology, have been at the forefront of rankings of the best universities in the country for years, and the high quality of their education was confirmed by the title of the universities of research awarded two years ago under the „Excellence Initiative" program. Also, universities like the Cracow University of Technology, the University of Economics and the University of Agriculture successively educate high-class specialists in many fields and each year supplement their educational offer with new specialisations, often unique in Poland.

Kampus UJKampus UJ Fot. Materiały prasowe

What’s more, studying in Krakow simply... pays off. As indicated by various rankings, graduates of Krakow universities are simply doing well on the labour market – Krakow was on the podium of winners in the ranking of Pracownia Ekonomiczna 2033 in terms of the number of graduates with a fortune of over EUR 100 million (20 graduates of Krakow universities were listed). In total, there are as many as nine public universities in Krakow, including the best Polish university according to the Perspektywy Ranking, which is the Jagiellonian University. At the same time, in a different ranking – the „Best Cities to Study 2020" – the capital of Małopolska has outstripped other large national academic centres, such as Poznań, Wrocław and Gdańsk. Krakow was ranked in the second position, just one point behind the victorious Warsaw.

Modern facilities and cooperation with business giants

The opportunities and prestige of the universities are not only about positions in the rankings, but also an appropriate infrastructure. Krakow perfectly used its opportunity by expanding the research and teaching facilities and creating more state-of-the-art laboratories. It is in Krakow where, among others, Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian Center for Drug Development, Life Science Park, Poland’s first synchrotron SOLARIS, AGH Prometheus supercomputer, Małopolska Laboratory of Energy Saving Construction at the Cracow University of Technology, as well as numerous and regularly modernized dormitories, including private ones are located. There are also new projects being implemented, like the Center for Innovation and Research on Pro-health and Safe Food of the University of Agriculture and a modern building for medical sciences with laboratory facilities on the campus of the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow Academy.

All this attracts students and scientists not only from Poland, but also from many other countries, and opens up new opportunities for cooperation between science and business. The cooperation of universities with the best companies translates for students not only to the opportunity to undergo internships and gain the necessary experience, but also the opportunity to work on solutions used later all over the world. In addition, universities gain enormous support in education and access to the latest technological solutions. Krakow’s universities have collaborated with giants such as Samsung, Thales, Motorola, Nokia or GlobalLogic, which recently helped to open a new Internet of Things laboratory in Krakow University of Technology. And thanks to cooperation with companies, the University of Economics has created the first course in Poland preparing students for work in international corporations – Global Business Services UEK.

Nowe laboratorium Internetu Rzeczy na Politechnice KrakowskiejNowe laboratorium Internetu Rzeczy na Politechnice Krakowskiej PK

Innovative activities...

No wonder that in such an environment and with such facilities, new start-ups and innovative companies are blooming in the city. It was in Krakow where the following companies were established: Selvita developing new drugs, Bloober Team conquering the gaming market, Astor dealing with automation and robotisation and the famous Airly, the manufacturer of air quality sensors that have been installed in several hundred cities around the world and the creator of interactive pollution maps used by over 2 million people. And Brainly, currently the largest educational network in the world, has grown from a small start-up into a global player – also in Krakow.

There are many more examples. It is in Krakow where IS-Wireless creates the first 5G network in the country and it was based on Polish technology. It is here where the AILIS start-up created the technology of early detection of breast cancer based on artificial intelligence, it is also here where the SALESmanago company was established and developed, creating marketing processes automation systems used by such global giants as Starbucks, Burger King, BMW, Toyota, Harley Davidson, Victoria’s Secret and T-Mobile. The latter company has just been bought by two foreign funds spending a „nine-digit sum in Euro" and although SALESmanago is already at the forefront of companies of its sector in the world, its president revealed that he had the ambition to become a world leader.

... with the support of the city

But the city does not want to be left behind, and its mission set out in the Krakow 2030 Development Strategy is to create a smart metropolis that ensures a high quality of life and to build a creative, knowledge-based economy. Krakow is already implementing new innovative projects in the field of the circular economy: the first and so far the only Entrepreneur Service Point in Poland (we write about it in this issue elsewhere), together with the so-called Virtual Clerk has been created, an integrated road infrastructure supervision system and an intelligent water and sewage network management system have been implemented. The residents can also use the MSIP Obserwatorium portal (Municipal Spatial Information System). The plans for the coming years include the creation of an exhaust gases heat recovery system and the production of ecological hydrogen to power city buses.

The city also supports colleges, by supporting the Krakow Scientific Conferences project starter in 2011 (28 events took place last year in the framework of the project, attended by almost 6,000 people from Poland and the world), or by establishing the Krakow Consultative Council in 2008, which – as it can be read in the manifesto – advises the president on formulating the needs of the scientific community, initiating cooperation and issuing opinions on initiating activities shaping the city as a modern and competitive science and research centre.

The city also cooperates with the Technology Transfer Centers as well as numerous other foundations and institutions in Krakow, working to support entrepreneurship and ecosystem innovations. The institutions are, among others: Krakow as the City of Start-ups, #OMGKRK and Open Coffee KRK.

This year, as a result of conclusion of the agreement on common goal between the Krakow Science and Academic Hub and the Municipality of Krakow, a Partners’ Council was established. It’s main objective is to make Krakow the most recognizable research and academic centre in Central and Eastern Europe to attract the best students and scientists from around the world. The Partners’ Council agreement was signed by the Municipality of Krakow and 19 universities from Krakow and the region and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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