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By on February 20, 2020

University of Silesia in Katowice







Bankowa 11

0048 32 359 1816

Official Focal Point
Professor Robert Pyka

Alternate Focal Point
Natalia Galica

Authority approving the partnership
Professor Robert Pyka, Deputy Dean for Science and International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Silesia in Katowice



The University of Silesia in Katowice is one of the largest and most dynamically developing public universities in Poland. Founded in 1968, the University of Silesia quickly established a reputation as a vibrant academic institution and an important interdisciplinary research hub. With a tradition of launching new programmes to best meet the needs of rapidly changing labour markets, the University of Silesia offers students a variety of programs and specialised fields of study. With outstanding research teams and well-equipped laboratories, we are an important player in the global research arena.

The University of Silesia fosters and conducts research projects oriented towards current social issues. It takes part in 250 national and international projects with 1,400 research grants in all academic disciplines and 14 cluster initiatives. From local to regional, and from European to global, it represents modern scientific approach including observation, dialogue, evaluation, counselling and problem-solving. It supports social scientists in international collaboration aiming at achieving research excellence and global impact. As an outcome, in 2017, the University of Silesia in Katowice received the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission. The university has found itself among the elite group of institutions that provide researchers with the best working and development conditions: a transparent recruitment process, stable employment and opportunities for professional development at all stages of their careers.

The value of studies undertaken by the scientists of the University is reflected in the number of international projects that represent the principal direction of the activity of the institution — a regular contributor to the current academic and cultural dialogue and also a vibrant participant in the socioeconomic sphere, both domestically and internationally. The University of Silesia in Katowice supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, the University was honoured with the Global Leadership Award by the Climate Law and Governance Initiative in recognition of the excellent organisation of the global climate law conference Climate Law and Governance Day, which was a part of the COP24 climate summit in Katowice in 2018. Moreover, in January 2020, the Preliminary Declaration of Just Transition Research Group at the University of Silesia was adopted. Last but not least, the partnership with Katowice City Hall has been established to support organisation of the 11th World Urban Forum 2022 in Katowice. It will again give a unique opportunity for the dissemination of scientific results to the global audience.

Faculty of Social Sciences
As the 21st century is called ‘the age of the metropolises and cities’ and they are becoming the predominant living environments of human beings, the interdisciplinary research agenda of the faculty is focused on this research topic. We believe that urban areas are lenses focusing on the major challenges of the contemporary world but also laboratories for new models of innovation, from which the shape of the world in the 21st century emerges. Thus, the knowledge of processes occurring in cities and metropolises backed up with reliable data and research results, can contribute to the development and better management of cities and metropolitan areas and, in consequence, enhance the quality of life of their inhabitants. At the University of Silesia, such knowledge is generated by the researchers gathered in the Faculty, the Research Centre for Public Policy and Regulatory Governance (a university-wide, interdisciplinary unit) and the Observatory of Urban and Metropolitan Processes (the interdisciplinary consortium of seven largest regional universities and research institutes). These two research units focus on regional development, in particular on the analysis of urban systems, societal and industrial innovations as well as public policies and services. The recent research projects concentrate on urban social innovation as alternative way to promote civic participation and decision making processes at the local and regional level. The acquired scientific knowledge is disseminated to the decision-makers and further applied in designing regional, urban and metropolitan public policies. The researchers are directly involved in the process of regional transformation by participating in public bodies, such as the Social and Economic Council of the GZM Metropolis. They have also contributed to the emergence of the first metropolitan association in Poland, established on the grounds of the national legislation in 2017 under the name Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolis (GZM).

Research Centre for Public Policy and Regulatory Governance – a university-wide, interdisciplinary organisational unit

The Centre undertakes a scientific and research activity on the most significant regulatory problems and challenges within the sphere of public policies. Research projects which are initiated, coordinated and supported in the Centre aim to support the quality enhancement of solutions and decisions being a part of regulatory and legal aspects of public policies – especially within the scope of regional, urban and metropolitan policy.

Observatory of Urban and Metropolitan Processes
The Observatory is a consortium of seven regional universities and research institutes:
• University of Silesia in Katowice
• University of Economics in Katowice
• Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice
• University of Bielsko Biała
• Central Mining Institute
• Silesian University of Technology
• WSB University

There are 17 thematic urban research teams composed of 88 researchers:

In the field of urban and metropolitan processes:
• Team for analysis of metropolisation processes and metropolitan co-governance
• Team for economy, entrepreneurship and labor market
• Team for spatial management and functional areas
• Team for participation, civil society and social consultations
• Team for analysis and strategic documents
• Team for programming and monitoring of sustainable development of the region
• Team for researching cultural phenomena and processes
• Transport team
• Tourism team

In the field of revitalization:
• Revitalization team
• Team for the protection and shaping of the natural environment
• Urban landscapes team
• Social Innovation Research Center
• Team for demographic analysis and social problems

In the field of smart-City:
• Smart City team

In other research areas:
• Team for administration, ethics and rule of law
• Team for art, design and visual communication

Last but not least, the location of the University in Katowice, as the main city of the Silesian Voivodeship and Metropolis GZM as well as one of the most important economic, academic and cultural centers in southern Poland, has a major importance for its international development. The city is located relatively close to such European capital cities as Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Warsaw. As the UNESCO Creative City of Music, Katowice hosted the UNESCO Creative Cities Network Annual Meeting in 2018. The COP 24 Climate Summit was held here in 2018 and it will be a venue for World Urban Forum in 2022.

With its eye on the future, Katowice is in the process of transformation into a major metropolitan center and the University of Silesia supports this process through its high profile research and scientific impact which enable just transition of the region. It creates a unique living lab scenario for researchers interested in urban and metropolitan processes. It is a reason why the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Silesia is already involved in preparations for the 11th World Urban Forum in Katowice 2022 and, that is also why we would like to become an active partner of the UN-Habitat UNI.

Suggested Collaboration Opportunities
1. Collaboration in organising the 11th World Urban Forum in Katowice in 2022, e.g.: organisation of the summit of the UN-Habitat UNI in Katowice in 2022 and/or pre-events in 2020 and 2021.
2. Organisation of annual meetings of the UN-Habitat UNI in Katowice.
3. Organisation of conferences/seminars for the UN-Habitat UNI.
4. Coordination of a new hub – Urban Innovation Places.
5. Sharing of data, research results and methodological aspects with the UN-Habitat UNI community.
6. Initiating comparative research projects under the UN-Habitat UNI.
7. Preparation of joint applications for research funds.
8. Dissemination of knowledge in the field of urban and metropolitan processes in the scientific environment as well as among urban, regional and state stakeholders.
9. Enhancing public debate on the challenges, opportunities and threats posed to urban environments in the context of implementation of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, New Urban Agenda, and beyond.
Areas of Expertise related to UN-Habitat
  • Youth
  • Social Inclusion
  • Governance
  • Environment
  • Climate Change
  • Capacity Development