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From the Publisher
October 26, 2012   
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In this issue of The Polish Science Voice, readers will find out more about Polish science and its ties with business. We also have answers to some key questions about innovation and report on how Polish researchers are improving their ability to respond to both national and global challenges.

In one such challenge, researchers and academics in the western city of Poznań have teamed up to build and equip a cutting-edge center for advanced technology. This multidisciplinary research facility will bring together a host of scientists to work on new materials and biomaterials with a wide range of applications.

The project costs zl.250 million, with 85 percent coming from the European Regional Development Fund and 15 percent from government grants. The Adam Mickiewicz University is the coordinator of the project, which brings together five universities and a number of research centers including four institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Poznań is a Polish city that is often cited as a symbol of hard work, order and efficiency. Due to a combination of factors including its history, Poznań is often seen as a role model for the rest of the country.

Meanwhile in Warsaw, researchers at the Military University of Technology (WAT) are carrying out a major project that focuses on new photonic materials and advanced applications of these. The project involves work to develop new-generation liquid crystal cells and new fiber optic and oxide single crystal technology. The researchers are also focusing on a new breed of infrared detectors.

In all, more than 30 researchers, academics, and students are involved in the project—a total of 60-odd professionals headed by Prof. Leszek Jaroszewicz, director of the Institute of Technical Physics. The project has been running since 2008 and is scheduled for completion in mid-June 2013. It will cost around zl.25 million, of which zl.21 million will come from the European Union’s Innovative Economy Operational Program.

The researchers have developed liquid crystal cells that can be used in outer space, according to Jaroszewicz. “We have sent these to St. Petersburg, where they have been used in a system for positioning a Russian Mars rover,” Jaroszewicz says. He adds that the project “will provide innovative solutions that the economy needs. We will thus increase its international competitiveness. The results of the research will not be shelved but used to produce new, highly advanced materials and technology.”

Without a doubt, these two projects are a major challenge for Polish science. To meet this challenge, the researchers will have to cross a certain threshold—like those that Poles have already crossed in politics, the economy, business, as well as in terms of their mind-set. Not everything needs to be built from scratch. The critical mass for a “big bang” in innovation is already available, but the giant leap has yet to be taken.

Andrzej Jonas
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