Research-driven success

Today it's hard to imagine life without products such as plastics, scanners, dermocosmetics or vaccines, all of which came to market as a result of earlier research work. What is being researched by scientists today could be a product making crores of profit tomorrow.

The importance of scientific research for the development of companies and entire economies is growing. Recent decades have shown that the fastest growing industries are those that are fueled by knowledge derived from research and development. These include medicine, information and communication technologies, chemistry, defense or energy, among others.

What's more - research is followed by innovation, both in the form of new products and services, as well as manufacturing or utilization technologies.

Therefore, for more than two decades now, the European Union has been shaping its policy to be a knowledge-based economy. An innovation system has been identified as one of the four pillars of such an economy, with research centers, universities, national research centers, public-private partnerships and expert teams working to acquire and use new knowledge.

The Science and Technology Park Świerk fits this definition in two ways. On the one hand, being part of the National Centre for Nuclear Research, it participates in research and development projects aimed at scientific discoveries and their application in practice. On the other - as a park, it cooperates with innovative companies by creating a friendly environment for them to grow and commercialize innovations.

Why should you collaborate with science?

Cooperation with R&D units brings a number of benefits to companies. We have listed below the most obvious ones.

First, specific problems that plague a given company can be solved in this way. These often concern the quality of the materials used in production or the final products themselves. Research on the composition of the compounds or alloys used, or on the production process itself, makes it possible to diagnose the source of the trouble and find better solutions.

The second important direction is to cooperate with scientists in the development of a new product. Whether a company is working on an eye cream or a wood varnish, scientific research will allow to select and test possible product variants and then refine the most optimal one.

Another reason may be the need to change the components of a product due to the introduction of new regulations, or a reduction in the availability of one of the components or an increase in its price. We can expect that the European Green Deal policy will force such changes on companies in the coming years by punishing them to use less environmentally damaging production factors.

Cooperation with science is also often top-down gratification. Access to many entrepreneurial support projects is only possible when forming a cooperative relationship with the scientific community. Companies can also then benefit from special tax breaks.

Where to look for a research partner?

There are many types of units in each province that can come to the aid of a company looking for a research partner. One can turn to the university itself and the technology transfer center or innovation center operating there. It is also worth turning to business environment institutions (BIs), such as technology parks or technology and science parks. These are entities that have extensive databases of people, laboratories and research centers in many fields of science.

Science is an integral component of the products of the future. It is worth taking up cooperation with it today. We will be happy to accompany you on this journey. We warmly invite you to contact us.

Does innovation have to be a breakthrough?

Today, the role of innovation in the development of companies and entire economies is being strongly emphasized. Many support programs, including those offered by science and technology parks, are aimed at commercializing innovations. However, it is not at all about world-breaking technologies or products. So what is innovation and can anyone be an innovator?

Developed more than a century ago by J. A. Schumpeter, the definition of innovation largely focused on production. He considered new products, the use of new raw materials or production methods, or the reorganization of an industry as innovation. Since then, there has been much discussion around the concept of innovation. Today one can find dozens if not hundreds of various definitions, and although they differ, one trend can be discerned - the concept of innovation is expanding its meaning.

Types of innovation

Product innovations are the ones that first come to mind when we think of innovation. They can be new products but they can also be old products improved in some way, for example as to their functionality or convenience of use. Reportedly, only one in ten contemporary market launches is an actual novelty, and the other nine are just improved, changed products already known.

Marketing innovations mean such changes that concern the marketing model, for example, improvements in the way an offer is distributed, its pricing policy or fresh, unusual promotional ideas. They can also be new target groups to which a company's current products are addressed. A great example is the idea of addressing some Lego sets to adults.

Process innovations are new ways of doing things in the area of production methods, supply chain organization or sales. At the heart of these changes is the need to increase quality, seek cost savings or adapt to new regulations. An example is the robotization of production.   Increasing energy or labor costs can be expected to motivate many companies to seek such process innovations.

Organizational innovation is primarily concerned with how an enterprise is organized and its daily operating principles. In this area, recent years have seen many new models in project management, human resources, quality, etc. One example is the Agile philosophy that is so popular today.

Breakthrough or incremental innovation?

We talk about radical or breakthrough innovation when something completely new appears on the market. Something that overturns the previous functioning of an industry, introduces a new entity to the market - be it a completely new product or a model of business operation. Such a breakthrough was e-books or cell phones. Their appearance on the market caused both customers and competitors to change their previous functioning. The implementation of innovations brought enormous opportunities but also the risk of failure. Such innovations are not at all the most popular.

Far more often than radical ones, incremental innovations appear on the market. These are such changes that are the result of evolution, and involve improvements in production or the product itself, the use of new technologies or raw materials. Many such innovations are not visible from the customer side. They are not written about in the media and there is no social debate around them. Yet they make up the bulk of the innovation world and entail tangible benefits for companies with far less risk than disruptive innovations.

Can anyone be an innovator?

Definitely yes! Any entrepreneur looking for ideas to improve the organization of his company or the offer itself has the characteristics of an innovator. Likewise, a person who plans to open his business and launch a new type of product or products already known but delivered in a different way from competitors.

Both meet the criteria for innovation. And this means that they can also benefit from various forms of support dedicated to innovative enterprises. It is worth disenchanting the notion of innovation. You don't have to be Steve Jobs to deserve to be called an innovator!

Support for innovative companies

The European Union, wanting to build a knowledge-based economy, specifically strengthens innovative enterprises. Where can one look for information about such support?

Companies that develop their potential based on research and development and implement innovations, whether breakthrough or incremental, can benefit from a variety of support, provided both at the central and regional levels.

National support system

You should start your search by visiting the website of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. It is the main operator of national funds aimed at developing the economy, supporting innovation and research activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In its programs and projects, among other things, the Agency strengthens the entrepreneurial and innovative competencies of business people and their employees, promotes export growth and the use of new technologies, and strengthens the digitization of businesses.

Another helpful institution is the National Research and Development Center. It is Poland's key center for supporting R&D cooperation between business and science and creating innovations of a technological and social nature. Through various competitions, NCRD subsidizes research in many fields of science and economic sectors, including medicine, ICT, energy, etc.

On the Industrial Development Agency's website, meanwhile, one can find information on grants, loans and other forms of support for innovative companies. The Agency's goal is the ongoing financial and substantive strengthening of industry in the context of current needs and the market situation.

It is also necessary to have a look at the European Funds Portal and find information on what funds are currently allocated for the development of specific industries or territorial areas. In addition to information about current and already implemented initiatives, the pages of the PFE also indicate contacts to the operators of individual measures.

Regional support

Businesses that want to build their success on the basis of innovation and research can also count on many forms of assistance in their provinces.

Under the auspices of the Marshal's Offices, many workshops and conferences are organized to strengthen the innovative and entrepreneurial competencies of local businesses. There, too, in the form of working groups on smart specializations or innovation strategies, entrepreneurs from particular sectors have a chance to realistically shape the policy of spending funds on innovation projects.

Business environment institutions, including business incubators, technology parks and science and technology parks provide support in the form of access to laboratories, knowledge and research services, as well as rental of office space. Various events are also organized there to strengthen innovative enterprises, such as thematic training, expert advice, trade missions, etc. In addition, each of these places supports specific sectors of the local economy through funding from targeted projects.

The Science and Technology Park has a wide range of business support. As an entity operating within the framework of the National Centre for Nuclear Research, it has especially much to offer to companies in the electronics, materials, telecommunications, security and medical industries.

You are welcome to contact us! We will select the best form of support for your enterprise.