The Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) - the most significant scientific institution in Poland - was founded in 1952. Its roots date back to 1800, when the Warsaw Learned Society was established on the initiative of Stanislaw Staszic – an outstanding personage in Polish scientific life.
Its mission is to work comprehensively to further the advancement of science, in the service of society and for the enrichment of Poland’s national culture, while adhering to the highest standards of research quality and ethical norms. The Academy is an elected body of scholars, including national members (ordinary and corresponding members) and also foreign members. The number of national members is limited to a maximum of 350. New members of the Academy are chosen by the General Assembly from among candidate scholars who have made outstanding contributions to their fields and command respect among the scientific community.
As a community of scientists, the Academy is structured into a set of Divisions, Territorial Branches, scientific and task-force committees, a Polish Young Academy that promotes the research and development work of outstanding young scientists, a Committee for Ethics in Science, and an Audit Committee that oversees the financial and economic activity of the Academy. The affairs of these various Academy-level institutions are the responsibility of the Deans of the Divisions, whereas the research units themselves are overseen by the chair and deputy chair of the Council of Provosts of each Division.