Polish businesses may finally have gotten it through their heads that investment in research and development is necessary if they want to continue to compete in a 21st-century economy.
Business spending on R&D has risen over 800 percent this year, to zł.2.19 billion, from zł.258 million last year, according to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The ministry says the leap in R&D spending comes as a result of recently implemented programs that encourage cooperation between business and scientific circles. Within the framework of these programs, companies and scientists cooperate to perform research on possible technologies that could be brought to market.
But the state is spending more on innovation as well. In 2010, the ministry’s expenditures on R&D, along with spending by the National Science Center (which offers grants for basic research) and the National Center for Research and Development (the government agency that helps transfer the results of research to industry) came to a total of zł.1.28 billion.
This year, those agencies together plan to spend some zł.5.48 billion. Next year’s budget plans zł.6 billion.
Moreover, the ministry plans to implement legislative changes that would encourage businesses to finance research – and scientists to perform research – that will benefit industry. The proposals include allowing businesses to designate one percent of their corporate income tax payment to a scientific research entity of their choice.
The Ministry of Science is also holding discussions with the Finance Ministry on freezing taxes for inventors. According to the proposals, a scientist who comes up with a new technology and wants to commercialize it would only have to pay taxes on the invention once it gains its first profit. The new law would come into effect from 2014.
Science Minister Barbara Kudrycka has also announced plans to establish a state-run venture capital fund called Polish Innovations (Innowacje Polskie). The fund would help businesses bring Polish innovations to market.
“What we want is for investment in the commercialization process to grow at a faster rate,” Minister Kudrycka was quoted by the Wyborcza.biz website as saying. “Thanks to this, businesses won’t be so averse to risk involved with innovating. I am convinced that we will bring more technology developed with public money to market.”
From Warsaw Business Journal by Andrew Kureth
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