Was the title of the conference co-organized by the Polish National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the EU and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities, which was held on the 27th of September in Warsaw. About 200, who participated in the event, discussed the creation of an ecosystem for the support of innovation, with the use of the available funding streams.

The participants in the event included Mateusz Gaczyński – Deputy Director of the Department of Innovation and Development of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Konstancja Piątkowska, Deputy Director of the Department of Development Strategy of the Ministry of Development. Mateusz Gaczyński, assured the audience that the Ministry of Science and Higher Education was ready to support synergy mechanisms that support innovation and creation of new Knowledge and Innovation Communities in Poland. Konstancja Piątkowska explained the model of funding developmental investments in the area of innovation in the context of Strategy for Responsible Development. She introduced the main elements of the strategy, whose main objective is to establish conditions for growth of income of inhabitants of Poland, while maintaining the social, economic and territorial cohesion.

During the conference, Zygmunt Krasiński, Director of the Polish NCP, underlined the significance of the Horizon 2020 Programme for innovativeness and benefits that can be drawn from the synergy of funds and participation in the programme itself. Horizon 2020 is an excellent platform for international cooperation. It is an important source of funding for research projects, which otherwise would not get funding at the national and regional level. Mr Krasiński also explained that Horizon 2020 is an opportunity for cooperation with the top international stakeholders and for improvement of scientific and technological excellence. It is also a means for reinforcing the development of industrial actors. The programme provides access not only to knowledge, research data and top research teams, but also to world class research infrastructures and can be used for promoting various institutions and research teams at the international level.

Prof. Aleksander Nawrat, the Deputy Director of the National Centre for Research and Development explained the role of his institution in providing support for innovation through national and regional programmes, which are addressed to start-ups, SMEs and large companies.

The need of cooperation between higher education institutions, industrial partners and research centres, as well as the creation of the triangle of knowledge, was explained by Michał Górzyński, Head of Monitoring Section/Innovation Officer EIT – European Institute of Innovation and Technology. He explained that innovation begins with education in the field of entrepreneurship.

Support for innovation

Poland has several streams for funding innovation at its disposal. Innovation is supported for example with the national funding, structural funding and Horizon 2020. All of the above are parts of the national ecosystem for support of innovation, which can still be developed and improved with various synergic mechanisms.

– By creating synergy between European and structural funding – the Polish higher education institutions, companies and cities can benefit even more. It is a means for reinforcing our struggle towards securing these fund and will help our scientific community as well as business to flourish, not only at the European level, but at the global level – said Katarzyna Walczyk-Matuszyk, Deputy Director of the NCP. She added that such activities are in line with the Strategy for Responsible Development, announced by the Ministry of Development.

Horizon 2020, with  its budget is of about 80 bn euros, is currently the biggest framework programme of the European Union, which supports research and innovation in Europe. This funding can be obtained by scientists, start-ups, SMEs, large companies, municipal authorities and other types of entities.

Idea to market funding

Horizon 2020 is a means for funding projects at every stage of development – from the concept to the introduction to the market. It supports fundamental research, development, demonstration and commercialisation.

The programme offers very attractive financial conditions and allows funding rates of 70% (in case of innovation projects) and 100% (in case of R&D projects) for eligible costs. These funds do not constitute de minimis support.

Horizon 2020 is a programme that allows projects in various fields – including nanomaterials, energy, medical care and space technologies and Polish specialty – ICTs.

Polish organisations, who apply for funding from Horizon 2020, can make use of the support provided by the Polish National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the EU. The NCP experts provide free of charge consultations and information on the upcoming calls, they host workshops and training sessions in proposal writing.

An example of concept to market funding model i also the European Institute of Technology and Innovation (EIT). EIT was founded by the European Commission and operates with the EU funding by means of Knowledge Innovation Communities. Four of them  KIC InnoEnergy, Climate-KIC, EIT Raw Materials and EIT Health operate in Poland and support the development of the knowledge-based economy. KIC are funded with Horizon 2020 money, but also with contributions from innovative international enterprises.