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The Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze evolved from the Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences forthe Upper Silesian Industrial Region Affairs, active since 1954. It was established in January 1961 as the Department of the Polish Academy of Sciences for Scientific Investigations of Upper Silesian Industrial Region. Its founder and first director was Professor Eugeniusz Zaczyński. In June 1970, the Department underwent its first significant reorganization and received the name adequate to its intended social role: "Department of the Polish Academy of Sciences for Environmental Protection of Industrial Regions". The Department had six units:

- Physicochemistry of Processes of Flue Gas Cleaning

- Basic Problems of Dust Technology

- Scientific Bases of Protection and Management of Water Resources

- Reclamation of Post-Industrial Lands

- Effects of Industrialization on the Environment

- Scientific and Technical Documentation and Library

In May 1975, the Department achieved a status of an institute and the a new name: "Institute of Environmental Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences". Although the organization and structure of the Institute has changed several times since 1975 several times, its name has remained unchanged. It expresses the role the Institute has been playing in Upper Silesia for the last 50 years.

Now, the Institute is the oldest Polish scientific institution that approaches the environmental problems integrally, treating the natural environment as one, very complex, system -- the human habitat.

For many years, since the 1770s, Upper Silesia has developed its industry at the cost of the natural environment. With time, the region became the most industrialized and polluted part of Poland. Therefore, present-day Silesia should be deeply indebted to the people who woke up, and have supported the social awareness of limits of the environmental endurance for 50 years. These people were Professor Eugeniusz Zaczyński and the subsequent directors of the Institute: Professor Jan Paluch (November1964--November 1974), Professor Stefan Jarzębski (December 1974--December 1983), and Dr. Jan Kapała (January 1984--October 2001). Since November 2001, the executive director of the Institute has been Professor Czesława Rosik-Dulewska.

The Department laid bases for environmental engineering in Poland. Since the early 1960s until today, the Department, and then the Institute, has participated many environmental projects. In the 1970s, it coordinated the realisation of programs for protection and management of the human environment in Upper Silesia and other industrial regions. At the II Congress of Polish Science in 1973, the Department greatly contributed to defining environmental engineering as a new discipline of science. Between 1986 and 1990, the Institute coordinated the Basic Research Central Program: "Biochemical and Physical Transformations of Industrial Pollutants and Wastes and their Interaction with the Environment."

Since 1998 the Institute has participated in the scientific EU Framework Projects held by the European Committee to support scientific research and demonstration of results over Europe. Two projects:

- Screening and Monitoring of anthropogenic pollution over Central Europe by using magnetic proxies (MAGPROX, 2000--2003), and

- Integrated Soil and Water Protection: Risk from Diffuse Pollution (SOWA, 2002--2004)

were realized within the EU 5th Framework Program of Research and Development,

and one project:

- Safe Management of Mining Waste and Waste Facilities (2007--2008)

within the EU 6th Framework Program.

The Institute took also part in the UE E-Ten Environmental Enterprise Service Provider project (2005--2006).

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