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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 16, 2009
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From the Publisher
September 16, 2009   
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A few years ago, I asked the Polish prime minister at the time if his tight schedule allowed him to take his eyes off his day-to-day business and look into the future on occasion. The politician said no.

Michał Boni, head of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's team of strategic advisers, does more than just keep his mind on the government's immediate concerns. He looks further than that. Boni, who used to work as a sociologist at the University of Warsaw and was a prominent member of the democratic opposition under communism, is a talented negotiator familiar with all manner of social problems. His job is to handle negotiations with labor unions and diffuse tension whenever there is a standoff between the government and a social or professional group demanding privileges. His responsibilities include preparing long-term strategies and emergency action plans for the government.

The Poland 2030: Development Challenges report compiled by Boni and his team is an action plan that aims to prevent the country from succumbing to "developmental drift." The report identifies the 10 greatest challenges that Poland is expected to face in the next two decades. These challenges are associated with issues such as competitiveness, demographic developments, economic activity rates, infrastructure, energy and climate security, the development of a knowledge-based economy, development of intellectual capital, solidarity and regional cohesion, public administration and social capital.

Not surprisingly, science is seen as the most important tool that should be used to make sure the country avoids "drifting," according to Boni and his people.

The report says that one of the top priorities is to increase spending on research and development and encourage the private sector to finance science in the same way as in developed economies.

The Polish Science Voice regularly documents the steps that Polish scientists and technology experts, institutions and companies take on the road to a better quality of life. The marriage of science and business and a knowledge-based economy-these are not just slogans but concrete facts. In this issue of The Polish Science Voice, we take our readers on a tour of the Innovations-Technologies-Machines Poland 2009 trade fair that was held in the western city of Poznań in June. The exhibition featured innovative products such as flying robots controlled by head movements, infrared terminals that identify people from the pattern of their veins, intelligent pens designed to combat dyslexia, systems for controlling computers with one's eyes and lips, and ultra-sensitive cameras for astronomers.

This annual exhibition, which regularly draws crowds of scientists, technology experts and business people, marks a milestone-and a bold step-on the road to the ambitious targets of 2030 and beyond.

One of the most prominent figures at this year's exhibition was Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, a researcher from the Electrical Engineering Department of the Control Engineering Institute at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in the northwestern city of Szczecin. He won a gold medal for his "open modular control system for numerically controlled machine tools." Pietrusewicz is a special guest of this issue of The Polish Science Voice.

We also report on a range of other innovative devices designed in Poland. These include a hi-tech camera intended for use in astronomy-for surveying large sections of the sky. The camera was developed and manufactured in Poland and has turned out to be the most sensitive camera of its kind in the world. We also focus on researchers' efforts to help children with heart disorders.

In another regular report on Polish universities, we describe the state-run University of Science and Technology (AGH) in Cracow, one of Poland's best technical schools of higher education, with 33,000 students in 15 departments and more than 2,000 teachers. The university is marking its 90 years this fall.
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