The Ministry of Regional Development wants to set aside €10 billion for companies that cooperate with universities on high-tech innovative products.
“We have quite a lot of innovative companies,” Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Poland’s minister of regional development, told Reuters. “We have to really push them and give them a chance to develop, by giving them a lot of money,” she said.
Regional Development Minister Elżbieta Bieńskowska
Courtesy of The Ministry of Regional Development
The Ministry of Regional Development is in charge of allocating the €73 billion Poland will receive from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget for the purpose of closing the gap between Poland and more developed EU members.
Ms Bieńkowska said she thinks Poland has a lot of potential in developing highly innovative technologies, but companies frequently overlook that potential and are more interested in purchasing technologies from multinational corporations rather than investing them in Polish R&D firms and university institutes.
“Our companies do not spend money on their own innovations. They prefer to buy ideas from abroad. We will try to change this way of thinking,” Ms Bieńkowska said. The minister also added that Polish companies could follow the model of Nokia in its growth years.
In the latest Innovation Union Scoreboard, compiled by the European Commission, Poland placed 24th out of 27 EU member states surveyed. Poland’s Supreme Audit Office (NIK), a body responsible for supervising all government activity, said that despite the cash from state coffers funneled to R&D projects, their results have little effect on the innovativeness of the Polish economy.
Based on the audit conducted by NIK in 2010-2012, universities completed nearly 5,000 research projects, altogether worth some zł.730 million, and obtained 906 patents and other forms of intellectual property rights.
Moreover, only 6 percent of all research projects (283) were designated for practical use or ordered by businesses, out of which only 95 eventually found some real-life application. Interestingly, 66 percent of the projects which were implemented come from two out of the 16 universities surveyed, both technical universities.
The reason behind Poland’s poor technology transfer between science and business and thus low innovativeness is the fact that the criteria for awarding government science grants promote universities with more patents granted and patent applications rather than those involved with practical research, NIK wrote in its report.
Not enough tech in tech parks
NIK also audited eight technology parks, whose creation and operations have to date required zł.975 million in outlays. The survey revealed that only a third of all the firms operating in tech parks are in fact technology-related.
Only 20 percent of all the companies located in tech parks implemented a practical technological solution between 2010 and 2012. As many as 85 percent of these implementations were conducted by companies from one tech park, the Wrocław Technology Park, the report stated.
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