The National Centre for Research and Development is an implementing agency of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Established in 2007, it is a leading centre in national science, technology and innovation policies. Aleksander Nawrat, Deputy Director of the Centre, is proud of the pioneering work of his organisation, as a platform for active dialogue between business and science communities.
European Times: What are the main programmes of your agency? How are you establishing and maintaining the bridge between science and business?
Aleksander Nawrat: Our agency supports research and development by helping different projects, including high-risk ones, to develop into a business. Acting also as an intermediate body of the Ministry of Economic Development, we are working on the national plan for responsible development. We aim to connect academic and scientific excellence in research and development with efficient usage of public funds to develop businesses. We have strategic programmes, established by our council, structural programmes where we support the industry sector, and joint undertakings, attracting big partners who need solutions to the challenges they face. Our operational programmes are focused on building human capital, investing in an innovative economy, development of infrastructure and environment protection.
While some of the ideas in which we invest are not practical today, we cannot yet imagine the positive impact they will have in the future, which is why we need to support them. This year we plan to operate with 17 programmes with a budget totalling 5.5 billion Zloty.
European Times: What are the main challenges that you face?
Aleksander Nawrat: When a group of scientists and business people come to us with an exciting project, we have a transparent way to select the projects which will be supported. The greatest challenge is the unpredictability of the markets. We are also creating an initial market for research and development projects that does not exist at the moment.
European Times: What are your sources of funding? Do you have international programmes?
Aleksander Nawrat: We have two sources of funding. One is governmental, strengthened with European Union funds. The other comes from our partners in the business sector since we operate programmes with co-funding from private funds. The support we provide companies with is either a grant or a loan where we get refunded by the recipient company. We have a lot of international partners, and we support programmes in China, Singapore, the Baltic countries, USA, Germany and Norway. We are open for talented and innovative entrepreneurs, and we invite them to come to Poland, get in touch with us and work together on building the businesses of the future.