It has been a challenging year. Summing up 2023 at Lukasiewicz Podsumowujemy 2023 w Łukasiewiczu

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2023 podsumowanie roku

Science realistically and effectively supports the development of the economy and is gradually changing our lives. This has been proven by the Lukasiewicz institutes. The past year has been for the institutes a time to fulfil commitments that have been made earlier, but also a time to respond to new challenges. Not for the first time, the institutes have responded appropriately to the problems of the modern world by proving that science is not detached from reality and that the scientist in the laboratory has a real impact on the shape of many areas of our lives.

Although hydrogen technology, green energy and the development of artificial intelligence have become number one in the public discourse, Lukasiewicz has also been active in other spheres. Awareness of successes mobilises and gives strength to daily work, so we have decided – thanks to the information sent in by the institutes – to present a selection of Łukasiewicz’s achievements over the past year. So what did happen at our institutes in 2023?

Science for business and beyond

All of the Łukasiewicz institutes prove that their daily scientific work can be put to good use in various areas of life, and that the institutes themselves can also bring tangible results, i.e.. money.

In 2023, Lukasiewicz – ITR (Tele and Radio Research Institute) launched the MG-8 controller, which has been the subject of intensive design work for three years. Its commercialisation, i.e. sale to the major switchgear companies (available on the Google Play app), represents a milestone in the institute’s activities.

A commercial success for Łukasiewicz – ITECH (Institute of Innovation and Technology) and researchers (last year it still operated under the name Łukasiewicz – Institute for Organisation and Management in Industry ‘Orgmasz’), was the development – commissioned by the Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (the Bank of Domestic Economy) and in cooperation with the Idea 3W team – of the expert report “World 3W. Reality and the future’. The documentary premiered at the end of November at the 3W Congress – an event bringing together the worlds of science and business in water, carbon and hydrogen ventures.

At Łukasiewicz – PORT (Polish Center for Technology Development), a start-up was created on the basis of the INDICATO project, which won one of the grand prizes at the 2023 Łukasiewicz Accelerator Demo Day. Its goal is to commercialise technology relating to storage and transport conditions for products that need to maintain a constant and defined temperature. The team is currently working on implementing this technology for applications in the food, catering and medical industries.

Łukasiewicz – EMAG (Institute of Innovative Technologies) addressed the commercialisation of low carbon composite fuel technology, taking into account not only innovation but also sustainability.

The protective clothing distributing machine turned out to be a great success. It was developed by Łukasiewicz – ITeE (Institute of Sustainable Technologies) engineers from Radom. The project is the result of the Lukasiewicz Challenge launched by Biovalley and proves that Lukasiewicz, with the strength of its scientists, can quickly and effectively achieve the goals set for us by entrepreneurs.

Cooperation with a new industrial partner specialising in fertilisers and crop protection products (Shandong Weifang Rainbow Chemical Co. Ltd.), has been commenced by the Łukasiewicz – ICSO “Blachownia” (Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis “Blachownia”). The Pszczyna branch of Łukasiewicz – IPO (Institute of Organic Industry), on the other hand, has expanded its offer by testing the ability of volatile honey bees to return to the hive after a single oral exposure to chemicals.

Its presence abroad has been strengthened by Łukasiewicz – PIAP (Industrial Institute of Automation and Measurements), which acquired two new markets (in France and Finland) for the sale of mobile robots, and in South Korea, where they have completed many contracts for the supply of equipment, their business partner opened a showroom with Łukasiewicz – PIAP robots.

It is not only the business that benefits from the scientific developments in the Lukasiewicz Research Network. The Polish defence industry has, for example, also gained in the past year. Łukasiewicz – IPO, which manufactures gas-generators for GROM and PIORUN anti-aircraft missiles, has signed a two-year contract with Mesko S.A. for the supply of gas-generators for Piorun in 2023.

Projects, programmes, implementations, collaborations – we are everywhere

The diverse research and development activities undertaken by all 22 Lukasiewicz institutes are also part of its strength. Through all this, we are reaching out and making a real difference in many spheres of life, from health and the green economy to digital transformation. New technologies are shaping our world so powerfully that you have to be able to use them well and control them. Thus, Łukasiewicz – ITECH organised an international scientific conference on the ethical aspect of technological development, entitled “Ethics by Design: Responsible Development in the ESG ecosystem”.

On the other hand, Łukasiewicz – EMAG (Institute of Innovative Technologies) does not stop working on the use of artificial intelligence. It has, among other things, undertaken further work as part of a clinical research project that will ultimately include all children in Poland with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It has also introduced AI to applications in industry (by developing a digital twin of a power boiler) or within accessibility by developing a solution to translate speech in Polish into sign language using a virtual human figure.

Some activities involve a lot of money and a lot of cooperation: Łukasiewicz – PIT (Poznań Institute of Technology) carried out more than sixty projects in 2023, with a total value of PLN 140 million. The SAFARI Project has, for example, been ranked second in terms of single funding and is worth EUR 3.7 million (implemented with 11 consortia).

Hydrogen has been and continues to be one of the important subjects at several of our institutes. Łukasiewicz – ICiMB (Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials) is, for example, researching the use of hydrogen as a fuel in energy-intensive industries. It is also building Europe’s first hydrogen research laboratory equipped with a high-temperature furnace to test the effects of hydrogen as a fuel on various materials.

Łukasiewicz – INS (Institute of New Chemical Syntheses) has been involved in accelerating the decarbonisation of industry and the development of so-called green energy. To this end, it has acquired a project involving the construction and commissioning of a research installation for the separation of hydrogen from coke oven gas at the Przyjaźń Coking Plant of the Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa in Dąbrowa Górnicza.

And so we move smoothly on to Łukasiewicz – WIT (Warsaw Institute of Technology) and its Enterprise Europe Network Centre, which has trained dozens of companies in the implementation of sustainability and green transformation strategies using ESG indicator analysis. As a result, it now has an expert role in this area.

Let’s go (drive and fly) on! Łukasiewicz – PIMOT (Automotive Industry Institute) carried out Poland’s first tests of an autonomous car in traffic conditions on a public road, and Łukasiewicz – ILOT (Institute of Aviation) began engineering cooperation with Boeing (the partnership will develop cutting-edge technologies for commercial aviation). Łukasiewicz – ILOT has also developed, among other things, an innovative hypergolic propellant (space sector).

An interesting fact: Łukasiewicz – ŁIT (Łódź Institute of Technology) has signed a partnership agreement with the football club Widzew Łódź. However, it is not directly about football, but about educational and training cooperation in, among other things, shoe selection.

We focus on international projects and collaborations

Łukasiewicz has appeared at international conferences and fairs, and our scientists have been active in foreign bodies, have participated in internships, obtained sources of funding for their projects and published in foreign-language journals and collaborated with foreign institutions and companies.

For example, Łukasiewicz – IChP (Institute of Industrial Chemistry) became a participant in the international LIFE-FitForREACH-2 project, aimed at supporting SMEs in chemical risk management and promoting sustainable manufacturing practices, and a beneficiary of the international research project MicroSafeCoatings (under the CORNET initiative), focused on the development of an antimicrobial powder coating for composite materials.

Of the 30 R&D projects carried out by Łukasiewicz – KIT (Cracow Institute of Technology) last year, the institute is most proud of the Horizon 2020 project titled “topAM – Tailoring ODS materials processing routes for additive manufacturing of high temperature devices for aggressive environments” (SPIRE Consortium) and the Horizon Europe project titled “M-TES: Metallic phase change material-composites for Thermal Energy management”.

Łukasiewicz – PORT (Polish Center for Technology Development) fights with disinformation in Europe. How? As the leader of an international consortium, the institute received a Horizon Europe grant in 2023 to develop new methods to counteract foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI). The project is scheduled to run until 2026 and will be carried out in collaboration with academic, technology and analytical organisations from Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland.

While we are on the subject of Horizon Europe, let us emphasise that Łukasiewicz – PIT was among the top ten scientific entities that won the most funding under Horizon Europe in Poland. The institute has been awarded €6.7 million to carry out 10 projects. Łukasiewicz – INS from Puławy can also be proud, as it last year acquired the historic first two projects financed specifically from Horizon Europe and implemented in project consortia with partners from all over Europe (over 25 partners in two projects). Both relate to the bioeconomy field.

An unquestionable success of the Sectoral Contact Point ‘Low Carbon Technologies and Clean Energy’, operating at Łukasiewicz – WIT, is the launch of the international Herit4Ages project by its partner, which also received funding from Horizon Europe and which the institute also became a beneficiary of. The beneficiary of Horizon Europe is also Łukasiewicz – ILOT, which implements and coordinates the Areana project, and Łukasiewicz – PIAP. The latter is also the first Polish coordinator of an EDF (European Defence Fund) project.

This is not the end of international operations. Łukasiewicz – EMAG has become a full member of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a platform providing access to innovative tools, services and research data for science and innovation. Łukasiewicz – IMiF in turn became a partner in the European PIONEAR project. It is also taking part in the HybridMOF project, which is carried out in collaboration with MIT. Łukasiewicz – IEL (Institute of Electrical Engineering), on the other hand, is the content coordinator for one of the areas of ‘Europe’s Rail JU’, in which, among other things, a new model railway station will be built and a standard for refuelling hydrogen locomotives in Europe will be developed. The latter institute has also partnered with Ørsted, a world leader in offshore wind energy.

22 Łukasiewicz institutes and changes

Łukasiewicz is developing. New laboratories or working groups are being set up. From 1 January 2023, the Centre for Biomedical Engineering will operate within the structure of Łukasiewicz – KIT. A new Hydrogen Metallurgy Laboratory has been launched at Łukasiewicz – GIT (Upper Silesian Institute of Technology), which will support the Raw Material Processes Research Group in research and new projects, a Rocket and Satellite Propulsion Laboratory Centre has been opened at Łukasiewicz – ILOT, and a Fire Safety and Acoustics Centre has been established at Łukasiewicz – ICiMB. The institute is also building Europe’s first hydrogen research laboratory equipped with a high-temperature furnace to test the effects of hydrogen as a fuel on various materials. In 2023, four new research groups started at the Centre for Life Sciences and Biotechnology in Łukasiewicz – PORT.

Social Responsibility of Science, i.e. reaching out to ‘ordinary’ people

Łukasiewicz’s timetable in 2023 gradually began to include the Social Responsibility of Science, which in 2024 is already an definite part of the strategy and action plans of all institutes. We are pleased that some of the ideas of the SON have been implemented before, including as regularly and on a grand scale as was done by Łukasiewicz – PORT,running the Gardens of Experiences (that is, as many as 901 educational workshops for children and young people, in which 8,400 participants took part in 2023) or Łukasiewicz – ICSO “Blachownia”,which has twice in a row won funding from the MEiN for workshops called “Łukasiewicz’s Magic of Light”.

In November, 350 children have participated in a day-long event titled “Class at the Łukasiewicz labs” at the Łukasiewicz – GIT. This science picnic combined with workshops and lectures was co-created by a total of seven Łukasiewicz institutes, providing important experience before future projects of this kind. Łukasiewicz – ICiMB, in turn, invited the youngest visitors to its Krakow Glassworks as part of the ‘Glass under Łukasiewicz’s magnifying glass’ project.

Łukasiewicz – ITECH implemented two projects, involving society and business in transformation processes with a sustainable future in mind: “Popularising Hydrogen in Society” and “Sustainability Science for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises”.

Here, let us mention the different ways – and purposes – of reaching out to young people. A round of applause for Łukasiewicz – ŁIT for joining the largest scholarship programme in Poland (‘Youth in Łódź’) and funding ten scholarships. And let us recall that several of our institutes are involved in the ‘Olympians at Łukasiewicz’ programme, which has a real impact on supporting young, budding scientists and building the Łukasiewicz brand.

Awards and certificates

Awards and certificates for employees and institutes of the Łukasiewicz Research Network obtained in 2023 only confirmed the high level of commitment to research and the quality of innovative solutions, which was also reflected in numerous publications or patents. Examples? Łukasiewicz – ITR has won prestigious certifications in the military area, including the AQAP 2110:2016 certificate, which confirms compliance with the highest quality and safety standards in electronics manufacturing, particularly in the defence sector. ŁukasiewiczIChP (Institute of Industrial Chemistry) was the first producer worldwide of the active substance Tacalcitol to receive a Certificate of Suitability (CEP), confirming the superior quality of the product. The institute was actively involved in the process of creating innovative solutions, filing 15 patent solutions and was granted five new patents.

Accreditation at the Łukasiewicz – EMAG ICT Product Security Assessment Laboratory has been successfully completed, confirming that the laboratory meets the highest standards of security assessment in the field of ICT products. The ITSEF laboratory has, in turn, increased its technical capabilities in the field of safety in industrial control and automation systems and is today the first laboratory in Poland with PCA AB1781 accreditation. Łukasiewicz – IPO (Institute of Organic Industry), meanwhile, has been awarded quality certificates from the Polish Centre for Research and Certification or the Chemical Substances Bureau, among others.

Let’s move on to a selection of prizes, awarded and presented in 2023. Łukasiewicz – ŁIT was awarded the title of Symbol of the Synergy of Science and Business for the project entitled ‘The impact of footwear design, materials and proper fit on the health of children and young people’, carried out as part of the Science for Society programme. It was also awarded the title of Energy Transformation Leader at the Polish Climate Congress. The “EKOMUSH BIO ISOLATION” project has been appreciated. A lightweight mycelium-based construction material with multifunctional applications. Łukasiewicz – ITeE was the winner of the prestigious ‘European Funds Change Leader 2023’ awards, in the Modern European Funds category. Łukasiewicz – IMN (Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals) was awarded the Grand Prix for the invention ‘New certified reference materials (CRM) for control and calibration of analytical methods used in the testing of materials covered by the RoHS Directive’ and the Silver Laurel of Innovation for the project ‘Reference materials necessary for the analysis of electronic and electrical equipment entering the EU market regulated by the RoHS Directive’. Łukasiewicz – INS, having fulfilled all the requirements for the conformity assessment of EU fertiliser products according to Module B, has been placed by the European Commission on the list of notified bodies (and joined only ten bodies with such authorisations in Europe).

Last but not least: people are most important

Without great employees, there would have been no success for Łukasiewicz. We recognise those who achieve good results in their work and even go beyond the existing limits and can be a role model for us. Congratulations to all those who have obtained doctoral, post-doctoral or professorial titles and degrees in the past year. Congratulations on all promotions, new roles and awards. Finally, congratulations on successful projects, scholarships and collaborations. Thanks to your development, the whole of Łukasiewicz is developing.

And while we can give selected examples of institutes in the above issues (bravo to the person who counts how many times the names of Łukasiewicz’s institutes appear in this article), we dare not give examples of the names of our worthy employees and their achievements. Why? There are a lot of them. A lot! And all should be properly appreciated – no one should be left out. In order to avoid any mistake or error of omission, as well as lengthening the article by another tens of lines, at this point we would like to once again thank and congratulate all the employees of Łukasiewicz, who every day rise to the challenge and care for the development of Polish science and thus responsibly build our world a better, more efficient, more modern one.


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