From the Publisher
June 4, 2014
The knowledge-based economy, innovation, collaboration between business and science—these buzzwords drive science and hold out a promise for economies and societies these days.
Evidence that this is the case can be found not only in laboratories and companies, but also in conference rooms that bring together people searching for new solutions and knowledge as well as new contacts. There is no lack of initiatives that make that possible. One of these is the European Technology Congress to be held in the southwestern Polish city of Wrocław in June. The event is being jointly organized by Poland’s National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR), the Polish Chamber of Commerce for High Technology, and the Wrocław University of Technology, in close collaboration with the European Commission and the Polish Ministry of the Economy. The Congress is expected to attract more than 500 science and business leaders, politicians, academics and decision makers from across Europe and aims to foster collaboration between the research community and industry. It will provide opportunities to establish and strengthen international contacts and find partners for joint projects. The organizers hope that this year’s event will open a series of annual meetings showcasing Wrocław as a hotbed of innovation.
As to innovation, the overall picture of Poland’s achievements in this area—as well as plans for the future—emerges from an interview in this issue of The Polish Science Voice with Prof. Krzysztof Kurzydłowski, director of the National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR), a Warsaw-based government agency tasked with subsidizing scientific research in Poland. Endowed with a substantial amount of funds from both the Polish budget and European Union coffers —about zl.4 billion annually—the NCBiR has moved from the stage of investing in science, particularly research infrastructure, to actively encouraging businesses to carry out innovative and strongly market-oriented projects. And the NCBiR has chalked up some notable successes.
One of these is in large part due to Jadwiga Sójka-Ledakowicz, director of the Textile Research Institute in the central city of Łódź, who manages a zl.15.4 million project that is developing new-generation textiles offering protection against physical, chemical and biological hazards. Interviewed by The Polish Science Voice, she offers fascinating details about hi-tech textiles. The project Sójka-Ledakowicz manages, called Envirotex, aims to develop a range of textiles designed to protect people from electromagnetic fields, static electricity as well as ultraviolet, visible, infrared and microwave radiation. Clothing made from these textiles has an extraordinary practical value and has attracted the attention of judges evaluating innovations at exhibitions in Brussels, Geneva and Paris as well as an international innovation show in Warsaw, says Sójka-Ledakowicz.
Another innovative project that promises to end in resounding success is the National Center for Hadron Radiotherapy, a zl.250 million facility that will coordinate research related to radiation therapy, medical physics and radiobiology, in addition to developing clinical and scientific infrastructure for cutting-edge proton beam cancer therapy for patients including small children. The center in Cracow’s Bronowice district is due to open its doors in September next year.