Nearly 400 additional business opportunities for research, products and services, new customers, higher profit and commercialization revenues, and strategy-oriented work of 4,500 scientists and engineers. This is how the Łukasiewicz Research Network summarizes 2 years of its activities in support of the innovative economy.
The establishment of Łukasiewicz has changed the innovation landscape in Poland. The Łukasiewicz Institutes operate in a planned and coordinated manner, in research groups. They follow the research directions pointed by the Council of the Łukasiewicz Center, identified as key to achieving the objectives of the Strategy for Responsible Development. These include: smart and clean mobility, digital transformation, health, sustainable economy and energy. Łukasiewicz develops research programs that channel the work of scientists into areas strategic to the development of the economy and society.
Łukasiewicz is part of the government’s innovation support system. It truly contributes to the growth of interest among Polish enterprises in investments in research and development.
“Among other key areas, the government's strategy for responsible development points to the sustainable economic growth based on knowledge, data and organizational excellence. This is to be achieved by promoting innovation and rolling out the results of new initiatives into the economy. This is why a growing number of tools is offered to entrepreneurs interested in innovation, such as R&D tax credit, IP box or simple joint stock company. The support system also includes programs for innovative companies, such as Start in Poland or Future Industry Platform and, last but not least, reorientation of scientific institutions towards business,” says Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development, Labor and Technology.
Prior to the establishment of the Łukasiewicz Research Network, entrepreneurs looking for scientific and technological support for their ideas had to deal with a very complex system of various institutes. This created a barrier to understanding what researchers had to offer and made it difficult to connect with experts who were able to help solve a technological problem.
The founding of Łukasiewicz has clearly increased the market reach of the Łukasiewicz Institutes’ offering. This has enabled the creation of a business offering that encompasses the entire technology pipeline. The participation of the network-based organization in competitions has increased its ability to raise funds to finance its activities. It has opened up opportunities for Łukasiewicz scientists and engineers to advance in new scientific and commercialization areas.
“The insufficient links between businesses and research organizations and higher and vocational education are still a barrier to the deployment of innovation. Boosting the number of pilot projects that facilitate the rollout of advanced technologies into the economy also remains a challenge. And that is our most important goal, as explicitly stated in the National Recovery Plan,” says Wojciech Murdzek, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Science.
Quick and easy solutions for businesses
Łukasiewicz provides businesses with complete and highly competitive technological solutions. The system of Łukasiewicz Challenges is an excellent example of a systemic generation of mechanisms of cooperation between science and business. Under this innovative formula, any company, irrespective of its scale or ownership structure, may, by filling out a form at www.lukasiewicz.gov.pl, report a technological problem that may be solved in a research and development project.
Łukasiewicz provides, gratuitously within 15 business days, several project ideas that address the challenge and recommends expert teams and research facilities to carry out R&D endeavors. Additionally, if the solution to the challenge is a ready-made, existing product or service offered by Łukasiewicz (such as a certification request or standard-based test), it will be offered to the entrepreneur in 7 business days via Łukasiewicz Challenges. Łukasiewicz Challenges also provide an opportunity to identify a potential source of research funding from domestic and international sources. Łukasiewicz’s experts also provide support in the preparation of applications in competitions.
“The interest in Łukasiewicz’s offering has exceeded our boldest expectations. Suffice it to say that in Q1 of this year the number of challenges submitted to Łukasiewicz by businesses was comparable to the number of challenges received in the whole 2020. Also, as part of Łukasiewicz Challenges, since the beginning of the program, we have already placed nearly 400 offers for research, products and services. For us, however, this is still not enough. We want to develop Łukasiewicz and build research potential, which will translate into an increasing number of applications of innovative solutions into the Polish economy,” says Piotr Dardziński, President of the Łukasiewicz Research Network.
In the challenging 2020 marked by the pandemic, the Łukasiewicz Institutes reported in a net profit of PLN 67.6 million, a nearly 20-fold increase compared to 2019. With a slight 0.4% decrease in revenue, which reached PLN 1.375 billion, this good result was achieved owing to a 3.7% reduction in costs. In 2020, the Łukasiewicz Institutes received grants in the total amount of PLN 274.75 million and special grants of PLN 15 million.
Łukasiewicz team and innovative business
During a special meeting on the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of the establishment of Łukasiewicz, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin and Minister Wojciech Murdzek, Łukasiewicz recognized its most committed employees, awarded a special prize for a COVID-related project, and honored its most active business partners.
The awards were given to: Anna Szerling of Łukasiewicz – Institute of Microelectronics and Photonics and Andrzej Noskowiak of Łukasiewicz – Institute of Wood Technology, hosts of the largest number of challenges, involved in the process of creating a mature, comprehensive offering for businesses, and the design and research team of Łukasiewicz – Institute of Tele- and Radio Technology, Łukasiewicz – Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibers and Łukasiewicz – Institute of Polymers and Dyes for designing from scratch and launching a line for manufacturing fact masks exclusively from Polish raw materials. The awardees will be offered an opportunity to attend a conference or training course of their choice to enhance their academic and professional competence.
Dawtona was awarded for its courage in taking up challenges and for the ability to skillfully use the potential of Polish science to build a modern Polish brand, and Steico was recognized for its consistent trend-setting and openness to innovation.