The Centre for Foresight and Internationalisation (CFI) has been established at Łukasiewicz. Its aim is to connect and empower people in science, business and society to explore and exploit research and innovation opportunities and provide sustainable responses to grand challenges. In particular, CFI will support the creation of international partnerships and consortia. Łukasiewicz's activities, oriented towards the internationalisation of Polish science, correspond to the government's objective to increase Poland's participation in Horizon Europe.
The ultimate goal of setting up the CFI is to support all Łukasiewicz Research Network (Łukasiewicz) institutes in building partnerships, commercialising research results and accelerating the internationalisation of Polish science through involvement in European research grants. The combined brainpower of all Łukasiewicz institutes consist of over 4,500 scientists and engineers, thus making it the third largest research and technology organisation (RTO) in Europe, capable of responding to challenges and opportunities in practically all areas of science.
Both the present and the future of research and innovation require the combination of competences of scientists on an international scale. Large, complex R&D projects are very rarely conducted by a single entity. Instead, multinational consortia are formed, which are able to develop comprehensive solutions. Leaders of projects involving dozens of entities from different countries often apply for European grants. We want Polish scientists and Polish institutions to be more strongly represented in international consortia and to have a partner position in them, and ultimately to have a real impact on the agenda of European research works, says Piotr Dardziński, President of the Łukasiewicz Research Network. – We also want to support the trend of foreign scientists coming to Poland. There are already Łukasiewicz institutes where English is equal to Polish in the areas of project formulation and implementation.
During the inauguration of the CFI, the willingness to cooperate with Polish scientists from Łukasiewicz was expressed by 10 leading foreign and international institutions. These include the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI) in Germany, the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, Science Foundation Ireland, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the INESC Brussels HUB and INESC TEC in Portugal, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Knowledge4Innovation in Belgium and the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC), as well as representatives of the Secretary General's Office in the European Parliament and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).
In the previous financial perspective, Poland's share in the distribution of funds from the Horizon 2020 framework programme amounted to approximately EUR 820 million (data as of March 2021). This is EUR 380 million more than in the previous perspective - the 7th Framework Programme, implemented in the years 2007-2013. The percentage share of Poland in Horizon 2020 was 1.27 percent. Our contribution to the budget was 3.23 percent. According to the assumptions of the Ministry of Education and Science, at the end of Horizon Europe, Poland's share in projects financed under the programme is expected to amount to at least 3 percent of its budget.
Łukasiewicz's share in funds allocated to Polish institutions for R&D projects under Horizon 2020 is 3.1 percent (as of 19 July 2021), and 14 institutes have participated in European projects. The ambition of CFI’s originators is, among others, to increase this ratio to over 10% by 2025 and participation of 2/3 of Łukasiewicz institutes in Horizon Europe projects.
The work of the Centre, which is being established at Łukasiewicz – ORGMASZ, will be directed by Dr Rafael Popper, a recognised expert with more than 20 years of international experience in foresight and supporting innovation development.
When I talk to my colleagues from the world's largest research networks, I often see their surprise at how large the potential of Łukasiewicz is. This potential has been the reason why I have decided to move my whole life from Finland to Poland. Another important driver more related to work-life balance is that Polish people are warmer than Finnish saunas and their hospitality second to none. I am fully convinced that CFI will help Polish scientists to take their rightful place at the international stage. At Łukasiewicz, we have all the necessary competences to do so, says Rafael Popper, Director of CFI.
Dr Rafael Popper is Director of CFI (Łukasiewicz - Centre for Foresight and Internationalisation). He’s also Scientific and Foresight Advisor at the Łukasiewicz Research Network in Poland, Founder and Director of Futures Diamond Ltd in the United Kingdom, Director of Executive Education in Foresight at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) of the University of Manchester in the UK, and Adjunct Professor in Futures Studies, Foresight and Innovation Management at the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku in Finland. Dr Popper has 20+ years of experience working as foresight and innovation policy consultant for several international organizations including the European Commission, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, as well as for several government and business organisations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia.