Historia Universitatis Iassiensis 7, 71–83

Ionuț NISTOR | Știința aplicată în universitate: Stațiunea de Cercetări „Stejarul” – Pângărați

Abstract. The analysis of how the Station of Pângărați has developed over the years, at the intersection of the history of science and the history of academia, could be more than a topic of local interest. Being established and functioning in a period when the political priority was to highlight research that was immediately applicable to economy and to stimulate technical academic specialisations, the “Stejarul” Station fitted an organisational pattern that the communist regime multiplied at the national scale. Considering some sequential approaches in the Romanian historiography and the complexity of the theme, we would rather aim at reconstructing an institutional biography, anchored in a national context and including aspects related to organization and functionality, to structure and composition of the personnel and to a brief assessment of some research initiatives, in relation to the national and the international knowledge in the field.
The 1948 “Reform of Education” had significant outcomes in the activity of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași as well. With the beginning of the 1950s, the heads of the institution drew “plans of scientific work”, whose fulfilment was carefully watched. The teaching staff had to direct their attention to issues “of interest for the development of the national economy” and to constructing a “new socialist culture”. The “relationship between theory and practice”, the approach of complex topics and of “large-scale issues” were indicated as strategic directions in the development of science. Starting from these lines, drawn by the central leadership of the party at the beginning of 1956, the University of Iași decided to create a station of biological research, meant to function within the framework of the institution of higher education. The station worked as part of the University until 1974, when it was transferred to the Centre of Biological Researches of Iași, which was affiliated to the Romanian Academy. In that period, the most important research project was to achieve the first underwater laboratory in Romania, aiming to investigate the aquatic life in the reservoirs on Bistrița Valley.
The institutional history of this department of the University in Iași was related to the political decision-making process. Its establishment occurred in a context when technical and applicative fields were highlighted by the communist regime, in the detriment of the humanities. It was the result of connecting science and economic production, of relating higher education institutions to the imposed plans of strategic development. Its abolishing resulted from the decision of the central leadership of the party to merge the research units and to take them out from the universities’ umbrella. On the other hand, the “Stejarul” station fulfilled multiple functions, guaranteed an area for experiences and practice for the university teaching staff and students, and played major roles in the develpment of science and of innovating researches at the national level.