Poland - emerging leader in innovation

02.12.2014

According to a report prepared by the CEED Institute on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ,Poland has the potential to become a leader of innovation in the region. Leszek Grabarczyk, Deputy Director of the National Centre for Research and Development, took part in the discussion that accompanied the launch of the report.

The “Poland: Emerging Innovation Leader of the Visegrad Group” report was presented on 27 November during a conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CEED Institute The report illustrates the way the Visegrad (V4) countries have been through during the period of economic transition in terms of the development of innovation.

In 2000, the European Union has set itself the goal to spend 3% of GDP on investment in R&D. However, in 2012 the average level of R&D expenditure in EU-28 amounted to only 2.07%. In the case of the V4 it was even lower - 1.23%. The V4 leader is the Czech Republic (1.88%). In Hungary, the level of R&D expenditure is 1.3%, 0.9% in Poland and 0.82% in Slovakia. In contrast to the EU-28, R& D in the V4 countries is mainly financed from the public funds. In 2012, the R&D expenditure of the private sector amounted to 47% in Hungary, 36% in the Czech Republic, 38% in Slovakia and 32% in Poland. However, according to the report, the situation in Poland has been steadily improving. Furthermore, while the Czech Republic and Hungary spend the most on R&D in relation to their GDPs, it is Warsaw and Cracow that are the most innovative regional centres, employing many scientists and engineers.

Daria Gołębiowska-Tataj PhD, an Expert of the CEED Institute and the author of the report, indicated that the next steps in the development of innovation in the region will be: a further increase in R&D investment, construction of a new type of business-academia collaboration and the development of the venture capital industry. Another key factor will be to integrate innovation ecosystems both within respective V4 countries as well as globally, by creating ties with the world’s most innovative economies.

Poland still has a lot of catching up to do, but the data on the dynamics of growth of public and private expenditure on R&D allows us to be optimistic about the future. For Poland to become a leader in innovation, it is however not enough to just increase its R&D expenditure. You still need to educate and partly import into the country the competences and global relationships that will facilitate a more efficient use of growing R&D resources – comments Leszek Grabarczyk, Deputy Director of the National Centre for Research and Development (NCRD).

That is why the NCRD has teamed up with partners who have the necessary know-how. As a result, we have taken the risk and invest in the most groundbreaking, and thus most risky, projects. But the risk we have taken is necessary for the development of innovation in Poland – Grabarczyk emphasises.

Asked by the authors of the report for a comment, Professor Jerzy Buzek, Poland’s former Prime Minister and former President of the European Parliament pointed out, inter alia, at the differences in the paths of development of the R&D sector in the V4 countries. – Over the last decade, the Visegrad Group countries have chosen different paths of the development of the research and innovation sector in knowledge-based economies. The quickest one, measured by the level of R&D expenditure, was followed by Hungary and the Czech Republic. At the same time, Poland has seen a transformation of a network of institutions engaged in R&D. Also created were the legal basis to regulate the functioning of this sector and new institutions, including the National Centre for Research and Development, whose mission is to provide financial support for innovative projects – Prof. Buzek wrote.

The full report can be read on the webpage of the CEED Institute

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