The Polish Academy of Sciences is a state scientific institution founded in 1952. From the very beginning, it has functioned as a learned society acting through an elected body (corporation) of top scholars and research organizations, via its numerous scientific establishments. It has also become a major scientific advisory body through its scientific committees.
The activities of the Academy in its present form are regulated by the Parliamentary Act of April 30, 2010. The supreme governing body of the Academy is its General Assembly, consisting of all national members. Between sessions of the Assembly (which occur twice a year) the Presidium of the Academy takes responsibility for all strategic issues.
The Presidium is composed of the president, 5 vice-presidents, five representatives of the divisions of the Academy (one for each division, elected by the General Assembly), the presidents of the territorial branches, a representative of the directors of the Academy research establishments, the chair of the council of provosts, and the chancellor of the Academy (Articles 13-17).
The Academy is composed of national members (including both ordinary and corresponding members) and foreign members. All members (national and foreign) are elected by the General Assembly from among candidates with the highest scientific achievements and of recognized authority (Articles 7-12).
The Academy's structure includes divisions, territorial branches, scientific and task-force committees, a young academy, a commission on research integrity, and an audit committee. There are five divisions of the Academy – Division I: Humanities and Social Sciences, Division II: Biological and Agricultural Sciences, Division III: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Division IV: Engineering Sciences and Division V: Medical Sciences.
There are eight territorial branches of the Academy: Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Olsztyn and Białystok, Poznań, Wrocław. Their role is to integrate the local scientific communities and act as representatives of the Academy to the local authorities and organizations (Article 31).
The committees are a very special part of the Academy. They fall into two groups: scientific committees affiliated with the Divisions, and task force committees (also called problem committees) affiliated with the Presidium. The tasks of the scientific committees are: to deal with the problems of a particular discipline, to contribute to the dissemination of the research results, and to initiate cooperation with foreign scientific centers. (Articles 33-37).
The young academy promotes research and development work by outstanding younger representatives of Polish scholarship. The commission on research integrity expresses opinions on issues involving the violation of ethical principles in science. The audit committee monitors the financial and economic activity of the Academy (Article 38-41).
(Based upon the Parliamentary Act of April 30, 2010 on the Polish Academy of Sciences)