1. S&T POLICY IN POLAND
The Act of 12 January 1991 on establishment of the
State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN) laid down the legal
basis for introduction of an in-depth reform of the Polish science
policy, particularly of the science budgetary financing system
in Poland. The reform itself reflected the changes in political
and economic system (transition to the democracy and market economy)
and used the experience and examples of highly developed countries.
The KBN exercises two broad responsibilities: that
of a typical Ministry of Science and Technology and that of R&D
funding agencies. KBN defines and implements S&T policy in
co-operation with scientific community, governmental bodies and
a number of non-governmental institutions.
Innovation-oriented science policy in Poland is defined
in two important documents worked out by KBN and accepted by the
Government: "The basis for a national S&T policy"
and "The guidelines for innovation policy in Poland".
The basic goals and expectations of the S&T and innovation policy in Poland could be formulated as follows:
1. Increase of educative
role of research - to develop human resources (human capital)
for economy, social services, science and education itself.
2. Development of innovation-based economy (industry included) accelerated by:
3. Increase of quality of life - through better health and environment protection, better social services, etc.
4. Increase of participation
of Polish scientists and scientific institutions in European and
world R&D activity, status improvement of Polish R&D achievements
on world ranking lists.
2. STATE COMMITTEE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH (KBN)
KBN has a hierarchical structure. At the top level there is a Committee making basic decisions on science policy and financing. It consists of 19 members:
The lower structure of KBN are Basic Research Commission and Applied Research Commission. Traditional names of the Commissions do not reflect nor formal, nor meritoric separation of basic and applied research.
The Basic Research Commission consists of 33 members including 28 persons elected by scientific community. The Commission works in 6 groups:
The Applied Research Commission consists of 42 members including 30 persons elected by scientific community. The Commission works in 6 groups:
Nearly 70 specialized sections, consisting in average
of 7 or 8 persons, co-operate with groups evaluating research
projects in the peer-review system and preparing other opinions
and evaluations demanded by the groups, within areas of their
Executive body of the Committee is the KBN office
of about 240 employees.
3. R&D BUDGETARY AND NON-BUDGETARY FUNDING
Research budgetary funding is executed by KBN through
six allocation streams (in parenthesis is given allocated fund
as a part of total budget in the year 1995):
During the period 1992-1995 the Polish science budget
in US dollars was 600 - 700 millions, but in PPP (purchase power
parity) was 1000 - 1200 millions US dollars.
Since 1991 till 1995 the science budget in Poland
rised by 235% in current prices, but decreased by 28% in fixed
prices. The last two years the budget is nearly constant in fixed
prices; prospective data for 1996 inflation rate allow to anticipate
an increase by 7%.
In the period 1992 - 1995 non-budgetary R&D funding
was rising much faster (352% in current prices) then public funding
(194%). In 1992 total spendings for R&D (GERD) were covered
in 74.3% by budgetary sources and in 25.7% by non-budgetary sources.
In 1995 the relation was better balanced: 61.4% and 38.6%.
4. TECHNOLOGY-ORIENTED RESEARCH PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES
4.1. Goal-oriented projects co-funded by industrial
Goal-oriented projects are evaluated and possibly accepted upon proposals raised by economic entities, governemnt administration or local administration bodies. Executor of the project pays 35% up to 50% of the costs of the research involved in the project (the remaining 50% to 65% being paid by the KBN) and full cocts of implementation of the results. Projects serve mainly innovativeness and competitiveness of the market companies.
Since 1992 till the middle of the year 1996 more
then 3000 goal-oriented project proposals were presented, out
of which nearly 1600 (53%) KBN approved for budgetary co-financing.
A significant number of projects apply to the defence sector.
Rough estimation shows that 75% of goal-oriented projects prove
to bring profits to the interested entities.
4.2. Ordered projects - aimed to elaborate/improve
and implement new technologies of wider use.
Ordered research projects (ORP) serve implementation
of sectoral or regional policy of the state. They are organized
upon a proposal by a head of a central or supreme state administration
body (usually a minister) or by a voivode (head of provincial
administration). After the project is evaluated and accepted and
therms of reference are determined, the tender is publicly announced
inviting prospective realizators. Foreign competitors are also
In the years 1992-96 more then 200 ordered research
projects were qualified for financing out of 550 proposals.
Institutions proposing ORP bear responsability for
implementation of the results. Voivods propose for exemple projects
concerning regional management, environmental protection, tourism
development, locally specific form of entrepreneurship. Proposals
made by ministers depend on area of their competence.
4.3. Strategic governmental programmes - aimed
to achieve social or economic goals important for the country.
Strategic governmental programmes (SGP), established
by Council of Ministers, are aimed to support execution of important
tasks stemming out of governmental policy. The research part of
SGP (if exists) should eventually be financed on the same basis
as ordered research projects. The principles of SGP establishing,
elaborated by KBN were approved by the Government in March 1993.
So far only four SGPs has been established concerning defense
industry (new helicopter and antyaircraft mobile system), radioactive
substances safeguarding, human health protection in labour environment.
4.4. Accreditation of laboratories for testing
products, processes and services
During two years 1993-94 has been financed by KBN
investments enabling organization (within the structure of research
and development units) and accreditation of laboratories authorized
to issue certificates to those products, processes and services,
for which such certificates are required. Attestation of domestic
products is a prerequisite of their competitiveness on world markets,
especially during the period of Poland's entering the economic
structures of the European Union. From 15% to 20% of all investment
funds in the science budget was spent on organization of, and
equipment for, nearly 50 certified laboratories. They help to
create mechanisms improving the articulation of technological
needs, to develope the knowledge market and the network connecting
R&D units and market oriented industrial companies.
5. LEGAL, FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC INTSTRUMENTS
The government will implement its innovation policy
through instruments of economic and financial policy and will
create the necessary legal and organizational framework. A particularly
important strategic goal is to implement standards necessary for
full participation in the European Union. These standards concern
technological levels, international quality standards (attests,
certificats), protection of intellectual property rights.
Examples of economic regulations that have been introduced
during the last few years:
6. GOVERNMENTAL AND NON-GOVERMENTAL TECHNOLOGY
COMMERCIALIZING (TRANSFERING) UNITS
6.1. R&D units, higher schools
In the Polish R&D sector there are about 250 units (institutes and centers in areas of technology, medicine, agriculture, etc.), 130 of them being industrial units supervised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. More then 160 higher schools and 80 institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (executing mainly basic research) employ nearly 90% of the Polish scientists.
KBN co-funds statutory activity of more then 100
industrial R&D units providing in average 25% of their total
income. The units specialize in disciplines related to different
technologies and offer their clients wide range of R&D based
services. Important source of their incomes is often small scale
production, expert services, data processing, publishing etc..
Among higher schools there are more then 20 of technological profile,
but only few of them are active in the field of technology commercialization.
6.2. Agency for Engineering and Technology
Recently was voted by the Parliament the bill on the establishment of the state Agency for Engineering and Technology. The Agency would complete the activities of the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN) which is responsible for budgetary funding of science, research and development, but is not allowed to support directly implementation of scientific results to the practice.
The tasks and functions of Agency would include, inter alia:
The functioning of the Agency would be supervised
by the Minister of Industry and Trade, but KBN will be represented
in the steering board of the Agency.
6.3. Innovation and technology centers, business
In 1995 was published by "Polish Business and Innovation Centres Association" and Foundation "Incubator" the first detailed report on Polish centres of business (entrepreneurship) and innovation. The authors collected data on 24 business incubators, 8 technology centres, 55 centres for business supporting. Their organization and functioning is based on examples and experience of developed countries.
The next report on innovation centers is expected
to be prepared this year.
7. SOME OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES
Only some topics were touched concerning innovation
oriented science policy in Poland. One can point out numerous
other issues, as for example:
7.1. Statistics and information.
International standards for statistical indicators
are implemented providing for international comparisons and managerial
or political decisions. A system of collection, utilisation and
dissemination of information is being created or developed, concerning
for example human resources (expertise) in R&D sector, strength
and weakness evaluation of research institutions and areas, material
base of science (research equipment). The Central Statistical
Office in Poland, co-operating with KBN, announces yearly about
100 indicators describing input and output of the Polish R&D
sector. Further development of statistical instruments is planned
to be supported by KBN.
7.2. Priority setting and monitoring of research
Even if significant progress has been made in this
direction, further work on defining research priorities should
The priorities should emerge as a result of broad consultation involving researchers, politicians (governmental bodies) and industrialists. The "Technology Foresight" procedures are planned to be used to that end.
Till now priorities were defined in governmental documents concerning R&D policy, innovation policy and prioritary research directions to rise the competitivity of Polish economy. Some balance is expected to be maintained between preserving the traditional values of academic autonomy and freedom of research on the one side and the steering role of policy makers on the other side.
Constant efforts are essential to improve and develop the effective system for monitoring and evaluating projects outputs.
The primary goal of the system is to inform the decision
makers about the effectiveness and impact of research. Well formulated
priorities and objectives, independent evaluators, mechanisms
for taking into account of evaluation results - are necessary
elements of such a system.
7.3. Collaboration between researchers from higher
education institutions, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences,
industrial R&D units.
Poland, like other post-communistic countries, inherited stronger basic then applied research. For the best use of existing intellectual potential to realize the innovation-oriented policy of the country, the significant improvement of cooperation between "academic" and "mission-oriented" science is to be achieved.
Important goal could be to introduce new funding
schemes facilitating and encouraging collaboration, mobility of
researchers, emergence of "research and technology networks".
Computer communication networks are essential infrastructure of
such an activity.
7.4. Development of the informatic infrastructure,
Wide, metropolitan and local area computer networks, supercomputer centers and data basis have being rapidly developed in the last few years. The NASK (Scientific and Academic Computer Network) serves actually more then 300 000 users, the rate of growth reaching even 300% yearly. Linked to the Internet, NASK
provides respective links for Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania as well.
The MANs operate today in eleven metropolitan areas;
in five of them (Warsaw, Cracovie, Poznan, Gdansk and Wroclaw)
super-computer centers are linked to the network.
7.5. Other topics
8. CLOSING REMARK
Innovation-oriented policy creates an important support for the Polish rapidly growing economy. Even if new, high technology implementation involves a great risk for investors, it is a must for any country and for the whole world. The risk should be shared by states playing limited intervention role.
Certainly, it is difficult task to perform successful S&T policy concerning sophisticated interactions between science, technology, implementation, industry and other market players.
The highly developed countries present many examples
of successes and some those of failures when following that difficult
way. The advantage and opportunity for catching up countries -
like Poland - is that they can learn not only by following the
best examples of powerful economies, but by avoiding their costly
mistakes as well. Sharing the knowledge and experience is a basic
precondition for the successful innovation-oriented policy, as
well in the local, as in the global scale.