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TOP 500 Young Polish Innovators program - short internships in USA


boletus 30 | 1,366
6 Jun 2011 #1
Five hundred young scientists will take two month internships at the best American universities, announced Barbara Kudrycka, Minister of Science and Higher Education, during the European Economic Congress in Katowice.

The new internship and training programme TOP 500 Innovators is open for Polish young scientists. The first 50 will be trained at two U.S. colleges - Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Participants in the two-month internship will learn how American scientists deal with the transfer of knowledge and research to the economy.

nauka.gov.pl/scientific-research/polish-science/science/science/a rtykul/minister-kudrycka-we-will-send-young-scientists-for-intern ships-in-the-us
WTAdrian
8 Jul 2011 #2
Hi,

I am applying for this program and I have been appointed an interview on 19.07.
Unfortunately, I have holiday plans and will be abroad then! :(

In the information e-mail they wrote: "It is impossible to have the interview on a different day.".

However, if I find a person who is appointed 11-15.07., maybe it will be possible to switch?

If you know/are such a person with whom I could exchange the interview dates, please answer here!

Thanks in advance!
Weronika
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
8 Jul 2011 #3
Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Weronika -> you're talking Stanford or MIT! Very well-known universities, the only way I wouldn't be able to attend the interview is if a close relative of mine had ended up in hospital and needed me to stick around. Those are prestigous institutions and even a brief internship will look great on your resume/CV. I say reschedule your holiday plans instead. Showing up for the interview despite your scheduling conflict will illustrate to them how serious you are about participating. Just my take on it. Good luck.
WTAdrian
5 Aug 2011 #4
hi & thank you for your response!

oh, c'mon, I know what MIT and Stanford are... that's why I applied.
but you know what? you shouldn't give up too eagerly, but fight for what is better for you whenever possible - just my take on it ;)

fortunately, I took the risk and it luckily appeared that it was possible to reschedule the interview! :) I attended it and succeeded :D - I'm going to MIT/Stanford in October - whoopee!!

thanks for the good luck wishes! have a nice day :)
W

...and to clarify: I didn't want to sound proud or haughty - i'm just really really happy :) and thankful for such a great project :)

all the best,
w
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
5 Aug 2011 #5
They better come back, we don't wont to see a brain drain-3 moths though seems like to short a time for them to learn anything worthwhile, a year would have been closer to the mark.

Correction it is 2 months! There is absolutely nothing that they will learn in that period of time. It is a good investment by the Americans though: "take a look out our shiny new technological instruments, and the huge amount of money we have" next thing you will see is the yanks poaching the brightest scientists.

This program is shooting Poland in the foot.
convex 20 | 3,978
5 Aug 2011 #6
CThere is absolutely nothing that they will learn in that period of time.

Tend to disagree. It's enough time to see how things are done in another environment, and take that knowledge back home. I'm guessing that's the whole point.

*cough* and maybe poach some of the best and brightest...
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
5 Aug 2011 #7
It's enough time

Enough time indeed! Enough time to see of the glitz and glamour and be seduced by American money-and fall into the favorite American process of developing intellectual capital i.e. by importing it from abroad.
OP boletus 30 | 1,366
5 Aug 2011 #8
The link provided in the opening post explains the purpose of the internship quite clearly. This program has nothing to do with acquiring extra professional knowledge or stealing bright Polish scientists by "sneaky Americans". This is all about learning how American scientists deal with the transfer of knowledge and research to the economy.

This phrase, highly touted in Poland for decades, remains just at it was at the very beginning - the empty meaningless phrase. It has never worked the way it supposed to work. It was quite often used as a cover up for using industry coffers to earn extra money - either by individual academics or by their academic institutions.

One pathetic university I used to work for a short period of time have been producing generations of pathetic "engineers" in exchange for generous donations from one rich state factory. All candidates were being drawn from workers of that factory - aging between 20 and 55.

The so-called "commissioned works" (prace zlecone) come to mind as extra source of income for scientists of all levels - with almost zero transfer of knowledge to the industry. Most of such projects were routine works - having nothing to do with innovations. The original solutions, benefitting the industry on the long run, were indeed rare.

I took part in many such projects - some, no doubt, interesting and challenging - but only two such projects would qualify as innovative projects ending up in technology transfer to industries - one regarding mechanical design of power hammers used in construction industry and one regarding a controlled aluminum oxidation process of parts produced for aviation industry. But, with few exceptions, none of us was really interested in pursuing further any of those fields, because they lied outside our "real" professional interests.

In terms of the number of obtained patents, Poland is in the second fifty of the world.

... work on new technologies and cooperation with the business would not be possible without the access of young scientists to modern laboratories.

Summarizing: I think, this program is a very good idea. I do not expect that every single internship will be beneficial for both the internee and the Polish industry, but even with the failure rate of 50% this could be considered a success.

hague1cmaeron:Enough time to see of the glitz and glamour and be seduced by American money-and fall into the favorite American process of developing intellectual capital i.e. by importing it from abroad.

This is one of the trumped up charges that have nothing to do with reality. Let us see how it works in practice by examining the list of EECS faculty members at MIT, eecs.mit.edu/faculty/index.html.

If you know anything about modern computer science you will find on this list the familiar names of the CS giants, such as Gerald J. Susman and Hal Abelson (See for example their famous classical textbook "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs". The real eye opener, which should be a required reading for any young programmer.) Sure, any young Polish scientist would give anything for a chance of working in any project lead by any of the two. But do you think they would even give a second glance to some little unknown intern from Poland? Why, they have thousands of Americans to choose from - all bright and eager to join.

No doubt, the list contains many foreign-sounding names, but how many of those have been born outside USA? Many of such names sound Jewish to me, so they are probably Americans. There are also some Chinese sounding names (Lang, Lu, Li, Lim, Kong, Hu, Han) - actually very few on the list. And how do you know whether they were born outside USA and when they immigrated to USA? But carry on, check each one of them (each is linked to faculty page or personal web page) and I guarantee that you would be disappointed after learning the truth. Same goes with Hindu, Russian or Greek sounding names.

Hey, there is even one that sounds Polish, Leslie A. Kolodziejski. But for what we know she was probably born in USA. Her bio here says (rle.mit.edu/rleatmit/2003february_article02.htm) that she received her PhD from Purdue University in 1986. Nationality aside - her lab is very impressive and it seems exactly to fit the bill for "Top 500 Polish Innovators program".

The Kolodziejski group's new state-of-the-art dual-reactor molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system, developed collaboratively with Veeco Instruments and currently being assembled at Veeco/Applied Epi in Minnesota, and founded by the generous sponsorship of the Walsin Lihva Corporation

Do you see the pattern in this one sentence? Two industrial companies involved in scientific project!

Oh, wait - there is another Polish name: Wojciech Matusik. Stolen from Poland? But no - he was educated in Berkeley and MIT and works for CSAIL, which cooperates with Disney Research, Z├╝rich. He also used to work for Adobe and Mitsubishi. Do you see another pattern? That's the industrial experience he has.

As someone else said in this forum - if Poland offered decent conditions at its scientific institutions, the foreign scientists would come to Poland in groves. So no need to worry about brains' drain. All scientists follow their own interest in personal development, first of all.

Take for example Scott Aaronson - at the top of the mentioned faculty list. He has moved from Clarkson Uni (G.E.D), to Cornell Uni (B.Sc), to Berkeley (PhD), to Princeton (Fellowship, School of Mathematics), to Waterloo Canada (fellowship, quantum Computing), to MIT. He currently takes care of three PhD students. Do you think he would attempt to steal a Polish internee? I had read enough of his blogs in the past to guarantee you that the answer would be "definitely no". The man thinks so highly of himself that he would not stand any competition. (I am only half joking.)
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
6 Aug 2011 #9
This is all about learning how American scientists deal with the transfer of knowledge and research to the economy.

Trust me you can't learn anything serious in 2 months! Its just not possible-when was the last time you learned something in 2 months? As for the transfer on knowledge, guess what there is no secret and there is nothing to learn. All you need is a **** loads of money and time to do you work properly, ingredients which America has in abundance. The only way Poland will catch up is by becoming a richer country whose companies are capable, and feel confident in investing in R&D-it is a simple as that.

The amount of bright young scientists who will want to come back to the US will be huge-Its like presenting a platter of the best and the brightest, it saves the US from having to do the legwork.
f stop 25 | 2,513
6 Aug 2011 #10
In terms of the number of obtained patents, Poland is in the second fifty of the world.

I got to pipe in here: number of patents has nothing to do with innovation, it became a symbol of greed.
OP boletus 30 | 1,366
6 Aug 2011 #11
As for the transfer on knowledge, guess what there is no secret and there is nothing to learn.

Then why should I even bother to talk to illogical adolescents - who ignore any logical arguments presented to them. It seems that you just know everything by your own definitions - based on your own declaration of "trust me". This strange logic is not what is ever to convince me as an argument in any civilized discussion. It seems I am wasting my time posting here. Good luck with your childish arguments.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
6 Aug 2011 #12
Your sudden outburst masks you insecurity, your so called "arguments" are made up of incoherent observations which at times as self defeating, like when you came up with foreign sounding names and then you proceeded to guess their place of origin. I told you what is needed for successful innovation, perhaps would care to tell us whether you agree or not, and if not perhaps you could tell us what is that those Poles will learn in just 2 months in the states?

Apart from the great opportunities one encounters in the US, the fantastic technology and the money. Do tell me, perhaps they will workout a financial blueprint for the future funding of Poland's R&D research, yes is that your view? Somehow I doubt that can be accomplished in 2 months.
WTAdrian
6 Aug 2011 #13
It seems I am wasting my time posting here.

Hey, I dare to disagree! ;) Thank you for your interesting post and you two for the mini-discussion.

If you are interested, I can share my experience once I'm back from the internship - one can barely say anything about this project at this stage... btw. this year, it is a pilot edition with a 2-months internship, while in the next 3 years the internships are planned to last 3 months.

What I think is possible during this time, is to expand horizons and see some working solutions. Of course, USA and PL are so different worlds and some requirements will be impossible to met here, but what we learn can be a beginning, an inspiration for our brains - hey, leave us something to do! ;) Will we be seduced by America? ;) Oh well, time alone will tell, I don't want to speculate on it now. My Professor, who remembers past old times, has the same concern, but I wouldn't be so sure...

As for the remedia for lack of innovation and problems with knowledge transfer - IMHO money alone doesn't do the trick.
I think and hope that this project will help to change the attitude of some scientists and technology transfer centres workers (yeah, I know it sounds a bit naive and idealistic, but anyway I believe we can make a change).

The ubiquitous "It won't work", "No one has done it before" and "Why should we do that" approach seems to be also a significant obstacle.

I've been working for 2 years in a dynamic young research group and countless times we heard these pesimistic statements while undertaking another and another project. (Of course, it didn't stop us from achieving really nice and valuable things and we're developing.. :) )

Research is not that application-oriented in Poland (it's enough to analyze the criteria for granting money for research projects) and a lot of people in academia are used to it.

The changes that take place right now in polish law regarding the higher education are challenging for a number of scientists well adapted to the old system, which didn't demand activity of researchers in the field of knowledge commercialization, cooperation with business etc. It is now changing and we can wait a few more months (or maybe a bit longer) to see the results...

Best regards,
WTA
skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
7 Aug 2011 #14
I didn't want to sound proud or haughty - i'm just really really happy :) and thankful for such a great project :)

You didn't sound proud or haughty and congrats to you! I'm not as frequent here anymore but hope to read about your experiences, hopefully they'll be mostly positive. Good luck to you!


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