More money on the way for innovation

In the innovativeness of its economy, Poland ranks 4th from last in the European Union, but greater support is planned for highly innovative projects that show promise for implementation and commercialisation in Poland.

At a session of the Polish Parliament’s Innovation and New Technology Committee on 19 June 2013, the Ministry of Regional Development presented the guidelines for operational programmes Smart Growth 2014–2020 and IT & Telecommunications 2014–2020. The programmes will be part of implementation of the Lisbon Strategy as well as the Europa 2020 programme.

A major qualitative change was announced from the previous rules governing Operational Programme Innovative Poland. The main emphasis will shift from creating jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure to increasing the innovativeness of Polish enterprises.

The change in direction was dictated by Poland’s low ranking in the innovativeness of its economy, 4th from the bottom in the EU, based on the public and private expenditures on innovation as a percentage of each country’s GDP.

Other problems identified included:

  • An imbalance in research, with basic research predominating over implementation research
  • A lack of cooperation between the academic and business communities, with little interest on the part of enterprises in implementing innovative solutions.

Measures that are planned to address these problems include:

  • Support for highly innovative projects which are risky but have the best prospects for implementation and commercialisation in Poland
  • Requiring applicants for funding to form consortia between research units and businesses, in order to create a framework for future commercialisation of inventions
  • Creating incentives, particularly tax incentives, for joint financing of innovative projects from public and private sources
  • Selection of “key clusters” which would receive additional points when seeking funding.

The specific shape of future operational programmes in Poland will depend on the results of negotiations with the European Commission. The proposals for operational programmes being drawn up within the Ministry of Regional Development are to be released for public comment in the autumn of 2013. Voting on the programmes in Parliament should be held before the end of the year so that implementation of the programmes can be launched at the beginning of 2014.

Joanna Krakowiak, Life Science Practice, Wardyński & Partners

The author participated in the session of the parliamentary committee as an authorised member of the Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (the AIPPI National Group in Poland).