Reader’s guide

This reader’s guide provides information on the HEInnovate conceptual framework and online tool. It also provides methodological information on the Polish HEInnovate country review underpinning this report, including information on the study visits, surveys and other key activities. It concludes with a roadmap for the report.


The HEInnovate framework

Conceptual framework

This review is based on the conceptual framework that underlies the HEInnovate online self-assessment and guidance tool. The framework was developed collaboratively by the Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Local Development and Tourism of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Also contributing to the development of this framework was a network of innovation and entrepreneurship professors and experts from across European Union countries.

HEInnovate is based around the following seven pillars of good practice (please refer to the Annex for the full HEInnovate framework and good practice statements):

  1. Leadership and Governance

  2. Organisational Capacity: Funding, People and Incentives

  3. Entrepreneurial Teaching and Learning

  4. Preparing and Supporting Entrepreneurs

  5. Knowledge Exchange and Collaboration

  6. The Internationalised Institution

  7. Measuring Impact.

HEInnovate online tool

HEInnovate includes an online self-assessment tool that HEIs can use to reflect on their current practices and look for inspiration for change. The HEInnovate online tool aims to promote peer learning and organisational development in HEIs and can be applied to all types of higher education institutions (general universities, university colleges, applied sciences universities, etc.).

One of the main elements of the online tool is a self-assessment tool, which guides users through the set of good practice statements in each of the seven pillars. Users assign a score for their institution (or faculty) for each good practice statement according to the scoring criteria. Then users are directed to guidance notes, case studies and other reference material based on their scoring.

In addition, the tool contains guidance material and case study examples that demonstrate actions that HEIs can take to advance their entrepreneurial agenda.

The OECD-European Union internet tool is available at

HEInnovate country reviews

The HEInnovate framework is also applied in policy reviews at the regional and country levels. The objective of these reviews is to provide independent assessment of each of the pillars in the framework, identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement. Recommendations are made for policy actions that can be implemented by national and sub-national governments, as well as for actions that HEIs can take to advance towards becoming more entrepreneurial and innovative universities.

To date, OECD-European Union HEInnovate country reviews have been undertaken in Bulgaria, Ireland, Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands.

HEInnovate review method

The HEInnovate country reviews follow a common methodology. This section explains the steps taken in the case of Poland. The review in Poland was undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Polish Accreditation Committee (PKA).

1. Selection of case study HEIs

The selection of HEIs to be covered in the study visits was undertaken by the OECD, the European Commission, the Polish Accreditation Committee (PKA) and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Several factors were considered during the selection of HEIs, including type of institution (i.e. public or non-public); academic focus (e.g. general university, applied sciences university, etc.), size (e.g. number of students), location (e.g. rural, urban) and region (i.e. voivodshop). Considering these factors, the following HEIs were invited to participate in the study visits, and each institution agreed to participate:

  1. GUT Gdansk University of Technology

  2. KU Kozminski University

  3. UMCS Maria Curie–Sklodowska University

  4. PWSZ State University of Applied Science in Elblag

  5. UG University of Gdansk

  6. SGH Warsaw School of Economics

  7. WUT Warsaw University of Technology

Following the agreement of participation by these HEIs, the OECD made a presentation on the HEInnovate tool and the Polish HEInnovate country review at the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP) on 16 October 2015 in Wroclaw. The purpose of this presentation was to increase awareness about HEInnovate and to inform the Rectors about the review.

2. Background report

A report was prepared to assist in project planning. This report contains information on the Polish higher education system, as well as discussion on current trends in Polish higher education. It also contains profiles of the HEIs and regions that were included in the study visit. Material from the background report has been integrated into this report.

3. Kick-off workshop

A kick-off workshop for the project was held in Warsaw on 16 November 2015. It was organised by the OECD and European Commission, and hosted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Representatives of each of the seven HEIs selected for the study visits attended, as well as representatives from PKA.

The purpose of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the HEInnovate tool and framework, and to provide information on the country-level review. The OECD presented the HEInnovate review methodology and outlined the expectations for participating HEIs. The European Commission made a presentation of the HEInnovate tool and explained how the HEIs could use and benefit from it. There was also some discussion on the Polish context and the background report.

4. HEI Leader Survey

An online survey of HEI leaders was used to complement the information obtained in the background report and study visits. The survey was sent to all 434 public and non-public HEIs. The survey was conducted in English and was open for completion between 20 November 2015 and 11 March 2016.

The online survey was based on the HEInnovate framework and contained seven sections. The questionnaire asked about i) the strategic directions of the HEI, ii) management of human and financial resources, iii) teaching and learning environment, iv) current practices in knowledge exchange, v) current practices in internationalisation, vi) current practices in entrepreneurship education, and vii) current practices in business start-up support.

A total of 39 HEIs completed the survey, including all seven of the case study HEIs. Of the 39 completed surveys, 28 were from public HEIs and 11 were from non-public HEIs. Results of this survey are reported throughout this report.

5. Study visits

An international review team, led by the OECD Secretariat, completed two 4-day study visits to Poland. The first study visit was to Warsaw, Gdansk and Elblag and occurred on 12‐15 January 2016, while the second visit to Warsaw and Lublin was from 29 February to 3 March 2016.

During the two visits, the international review team visited the seven case study HEIs to meet with Rectors and/or Vice-Rectors, Deans, Professors, career offices, technology transfer offices, business incubators, student associations, student and staff start-up companies, students taking entrepreneurship courses and university alumni. Information on challenges in the current approach to graduate entrepreneurship support and opportunities for improvement was systematically gathered through a series of individual interviews, focus groups and roundtable meetings. In addition, meetings were also held with the following HEI stakeholders:

  • Ministry of Science and Higher Education

  • Polish Accreditation Committee

  • National Centre for Research and Development in Poland

  • Polish Agency for Enterprise Development

  • Academic Entrepreneurship Incubators (AIP) at GUT Gdansk University of Technology, UG University of Gdansk, PWSZ The State University of Applied Sciences in Elblag, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, UMCS Maria Curie-Sklodowska University and KU Kozminski University

  • Chambers of Commerce: Pracodawcy Pomorza and Regionalna Izba Gospodarcza Pomorza

  • Marshal Offices of Pomorskie Voivodship, Lublin Voivodship and Warsaw

  • Vice Mayor, Municipal Council in Elblag

  • Elblag Technology Park

  • OPEGIEKA (a private company in Elblag and university partner)

  • Elblag Europa (non-government organisation in Elblag and university partner)

  • Lublin Science and Technology Park

  • Ecotech-Complex

  • Economic Development Office of the City of Warsaw

  • GrowPoint Business Accelerator at KU Kozminski University

6. Online student survey

An online survey was also administered to students at the case study HEIs in English and Polish. The questionnaire collected information on the levels of participation in entrepreneurship training programmes, levels of satisfaction and impacts on their entrepreneurial intentions.

The survey was open from 15 April 2016 to 25 May 2016. Overall, 2 298 students participated in the survey from the WUT Warsaw University of Technology (166 responses); KU Kozminski University (157); SGH Warsaw School of Economics (298); UMCS Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (177); PWSZ The State University of Applied Sciences in Elblag (102); GUT Gdansk University of Technology (143); and UG University of Gdansk (1 196). There were 59 responses from students who did not identify their university.

7. Report and workshop

The OECD Secretariat prepared this report with inputs from the international review team and the local project co-ordinator. The analysis draws on information gathered during the study visits and from the two online surveys. A draft of this report was circulated for comment to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, PKA, the European Commission and representatives of the case study universities.

Further, the OECD Secretariat and the international expert team presented the draft report at an interactive workshop in Warsaw on 12 July 2016. The workshop was attended by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, PKA, the European Commission and representatives of the case study HEIs. The workshop was used to discuss and refine the draft report’s findings and recommendations.

Following the workshop, the OECD Secretariat finalised the report, taking into account written feedback and contributions made in the workshop.

A roadmap for this report

This report begins with an introductory chapter that provides key contextual information for this national review. Chapter 1 provides a brief discussion on the importance of supporting entrepreneurship in higher education, as well as a description of the higher education system in Poland, including its governance structure. It also describes and presents trends related the key actors involved, including HEIs, students and academic staff, and relevant national Ministries and agencies. The first chapter concludes with a brief profile of the case study HEIs.

Chapter 2 presents an assessment of the national higher education system in Poland based on the HEInnovate framework. This assessment covers all seven dimensions of the framework and includes results from the HEI Leader Survey and Student Survey as well as the case study visits.

Chapters 3,  4and 5 provide a more in-depth analysis on three pillars of the HEInnovate framework: Leadership and Governance (Chapter 3); Entrepreneurial Teaching and Learning (Chapter 4); and Preparing and Supporting Entrepreneurs (Chapter 5). These chapters present an overview of the current state of play in Poland, highlighting good practices and identifying areas for improvement. Recommendations are made in each chapter and international learning models are presented to illustrate concrete actions that can be taken to address gaps and areas for improvement.