Poland Poland: Research and Innovation Market

Author / Editor: Andrzej Ostrowski / Lisa Saller, Lisa Saller

A more than twenty years' period of economic growth seems to indicate that Polish entrepreneurs are competitive enough on the domestic market and well acquainted with the realities of global markets.

Laser Sensing Laboratory in Wroclaw Research Centre EIT+
Laser Sensing Laboratory in Wroclaw Research Centre EIT+
(Photo: EIT+)

The fact is that it was possible to date mostly owing to using the so-called simple resources - in particular low labour costs, the influence of which is markedly diminishing at the current stage of Poland's development. Therefore, opportunities of further GDP growth should be sought mostly in popularising knowledge and information based economy as the most reliable source of competitiveness.

The Polish Science

There are around 960 entities in Poland with various formal and legal statuses that engage in research and development. The vast majority of these entities are classified in the inferior categories B and C by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, which means that their creative powers - also concerning solutions that can be profitable - are seriously limited. There are only 45 highest value entities in Poland that are ranked in the category A+, which means they can boast achievements on the European or even global scale.

Therefore, a rather large group of entrepreneurs decided to build their own R+D departments. The number of modern service centres is steadily increasing and most often they are related to foreign companies, many of which also engage in innovation and R&D activities. Experts of the the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) estimate that there is more than 500 such centres active in Poland, at least 180 of which implement R+D+I projects, mostly for the information and telecommunications, automotive, chemical, aviation and food sectors.

The Polish Innovation

The Polish economy has entered the path of knowledge and innovation based development to a limited extent only so far, which is confirmed by Poland's rather distant places in world innovation rankings. Of course, there are some explicit positive changes, including, primarily, the increasing expenditure on research and development that amounted to 16.2 billion PLN (around 4 billion EUR) in 2014 which is 11% more compared to the level of 2012 and 2013 and as much as 44% more than in 2009. This resulted in increasing the proportion of such costs in GDP from 0.67 in 2009 to 0.94 in 2014 (while the EU average is 2.01%). Moreover, the greatest proportion of the research and development outlay is the enterprises sector - at the level of 46.5%, whereas the government sector is 24.0% and the higher education sector is 29.2%. According to the latest data of the Central Statistics Office (GUS), only 18.6% of Polish industrial entrepreneurs and 12.3% of the companies operating within the service sector were actively innovative in the years 2012-2014 (while the EU average was more than twice as high).