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The Award of the First Rector of the University of Lodz, Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński for an outstanding piece of work in the field of humanities is a nationwide distinction. The competition is about the promotion of research, humanities publications and the humanities itself. It is the only award of its kind in Poland. Its winner receives PLN 70,000 for further scientific development. The University of Lodz, where the idea of the award was born, has always consistently supported the humanities and recognised its importance in the modern world.

The award was established to provide regular proof of the existence of an extremely strong group of Polish scholars dealing with the humanities in all its varieties on a daily basis. Sometimes outstanding work in the humanities goes unnoticed, while its scientific potential is enormous.

The award was established in order to support and promote the work of Polish scientists but also to remind about the unabated nature of the tasks of the humanities. 

The competition makes it possible to show the value and diversity of humanistic works that are created in Poland to a wider audience. The official award ceremony is a rare occasion for the most talented authors to meet. It is a real celebration of the Polish humanities. 

The award was established in 2015 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the University of Lodz. One of the assumptions of the competition is to reward books, and not the entire of scientific work, thus, also the scientists of the younger generation are appreciated. 

Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński – Patron of the Award 

The significance of science lies not so much in satisfying curiosity and fine-tuning intellects; nor does it lie in its affinity with art in shaping refinement to the effect that both are frequently mentioned in the same breath, though not directly comparable in repute. The significance of science lies in being the essential and indispensable grooming of the resourceful household and the technology at its disposal, providing the protection against illness and premature demise, and the defense against social threats, in particular against the failure to lead an honourable existence.

The choice of patron for the competition was obvious. Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński, the First Rector of the University of Lodz has been chosen.

Tadeusz Kotarbiński was a philosopher, an alumnus of the University of Lviv and a pupil of the eminent scholar and teacher Kazimierz Twardowski. His career as an academic lecturer was associated with the University of Warsaw, where he was active before and during the war in secret university lectures.

After the Second World War, Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński (born in 1886) was appointed the First Rector of the University of Lodz. Thanks to his efforts the university achieved a significant position after the war.  The new university brought together a large number of important scholars and became a place of study for the multitude of young people who, after the years of occupation, got a chance to obtain higher education.   

Prof. Tadeusz Kotarbiński played a huge role not only in the early years of the University of Lodz. He gave direction to the development of the university, shaped a model of scientific work that has been a reference point for the entire academic community of the University of Lodz for decades to come.

The award was established in 2015 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the University of Lodz, thus, continuing Professor Kotarbiński's humanist reflection.  

Humanities is a life attitude

The competition, which was established in 2015 by the University of Lodz, received more than 540 entries from 145 Polish research centres during its ninth edition. There have already been 45 outstanding books in the finals of all the editions. The growing popularity of the award has helped all these works to be more effectively promoted and presented to a wider audience, resulting in more than 1,500 media mentions of the competition.  

Each of the editions to date has seen extremely turbulent and difficult deliberations by the Award Jury, which can qualify up to five works for the final stage. The best entries, as well as a large proportion of those that did not make it to the final round of the competition, are of the highest scientific standard.

The previous award winners, i.e. Prof. Jan Strelau, Dr hab. Ewa Kołodziejczyk, Dr hab. Dorota Sajewska, Prof. Andrzej Friszke, Prof. Grzegorz Ziółkowski,Prof. Jerzy Zajadło, Dr hab. Zbigniew Szmyt, Dr Maciej Świerkocki, Dr Jakub Gałęziowski represent not only scientific and workshop excellence. Each of them is also a humanist in understanding the attitudes and values presented on a daily basis. 

Two of the award winners donated their prizes to charity, including aid for Ukrainian refugees, thus proving that the humanities is not only a scientific sphere, but also an empathetic approach to others.



Over the course of the eight editions of the Award of the First Rector of the University of Lodz, Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński, it has also been possible to create another invaluable asset – the Prof. Tadeusz Kotarbiński Humanist Reflection Board, which is a nationwide community of eminent humanists who will set the directions for the development of this science in the future.  

The Prof. Tadeusz Kotarbiński Humanist Reflection Board was established as part of the integration of the community of the most eminent Polish scientists. The competition whose patron is also the First Rector of the University of Lodz was its starting pint. The previous editions of this event have made it possible to gather a group of people who want to discuss the condition of higher education and research, ask the most important questions to work together to improve the situation of Polish science.

The Board is made up of members of the Jury of the First Rector of the University of Lodz, Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński Award and people whose works have been nominated in all editions of the competition. These are cyclical meetings devoted to important issues in Polish humanities, academic and public life, centred on the thoughts of the Patron. The inaugural meeting was held on 13 April 2018. Members of the Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński's Humanistic Reflection Board meet twice a year.