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The Warsaw Voice » Business » October 31, 2013
Business & Economy
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Time for Innovation
October 31, 2013   
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While the Polish economy continues to do better than most other economies in the European Union, it is no longer growing as fast as it used to.According to many economists at home and abroad, including international financial institutions, Poland will be unable to return to a path of rapid growth without finding a new stimulus for the economy. For example, the World Bank says Poland finds itself at a turning point because its economic growth has already reached its peak with the current structure of the economy. If rapid growth is to be sustained, the Polish economy must become more innovative, the World Bank says. And this requires a number of structural measures—not only a policy oriented at innovation, but also measures to ensure that the country’s business environment institutions, the labor market, and the research and development sector are functioning properly.

The problem is that innovation requires considerable sums of money. According to Prof. Witold Or³owski, chief economic adviser for international consulting firm PwC in Warsaw, public spending on research and development as a percentage of GDP in Poland has already reached a sufficient level; now it’s time for the private sector to cough up more funds. And the level of private sector financing leaves much to be desired in Poland. Therefore, according to Or³owski, research institutions need to open up to the market and researchers need to be provided with guarantees of ownership rights for their inventions. Today one of the main factors blocking the development of the research sector is the lack of clear rules governing collaboration between science and business. As a result, neither researchers nor businesses are eager to work together.

One of the sources of research funds is cash from the European Union. Under the bloc’s new 2014-20 budget, businesses will be able to get money for research and development conducted either independently or with a partner, for example, with another company or university. In the case of projects important for a specific sector as a whole, companies, through organizations such as technology platforms, will be able to apply for funds for such research. A new measure in the EU’s new budget is that funds will be available at all stages of product development—from the idea to the prototype to putting the new product on the market.
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