Research and development activities are performed in Poland by public and private sector institutions. However, most of such activities are carried out in the public sector. Key actors are universities, research institutes, as well as commercial and non-profit companies of different size. Funding for research comes mainly from the state budget in the form of statutory funding and grants. The former is mainly allocated to the institutions by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, depending on the results of the national evaluation carried out every 4 years. Grants are offered through open calls by agencies subordinate to the Minister of Science and by other non-governmental institutions and private sector. R&D units are also largely supported by the European Structural Funds and Framework Programmes for research and development – Horizon 2020.

The structure and basis of operation within the research system in Poland are defined in the Higher Education and Science Act, known as the Constitution for Science, in short Act 2.0 (introduced in October 2018). The Constitution enforces significant changes to the science system, among others it creates better conditions for scientific and didactic excellence, ensures sustainable development of academic centres across the country, introduces doctoral schools and gives universities appropriate tools necessary for effective management. Data on Polish science and higher education is collected by an integrated POL-on System created in 2011 with an objective to exert genuine influence on the effectiveness of public spending on science and education.

Polish scientific achievements

Polish Science Day is celebrated on February 19th (the birthday of Nicolas Copernicus) in recognition of the achievements of Polish scientists.

Read more at Science in Poland website.

Supporting bodies

​Several institutions located in Poland and abroad support research and development activities and help the government and its agencies to create a research and innovation strategy. Apart from the national bodies, there are organisations that represent interests of their members to the state and local government authorities and to the other organisations operating in research and development sector.

 

 

In Poland there are various public and private organisations performing research and development activities. The most active among them are universities, institutes of Polish Academy of Sciences, the Łukasiewicz Research Network and other research institutes.

85 of these research institutions have received the European HR Excellence in Research award from the European Commission. This “logo” is granted to European R&D and funding organisations which implement the European Human Resources Strategy for Researchers in order to create more attractive research conditions and open and transparent recruitment processes for their scientific employees.

The list of the awarded Polish institutions.

A complex evaluation of government-funded research organisations is performed by the Committee for the Research Organisations Evaluation (KEJN), an advisory body for the Minister of Science and Higher Education. The evaluation takes place every 4 years according to the following criteria:

  • scientific achievements,
  • research potential,
  • socio-economic impact of research and artistic activity,
  • other impact of research and artistic activity.

As a result of the evaluation, research organisations are classified into one of the categories:

  • A+ (leading)
  • A (very good)
  • B (satisfactory)
  • C (not satisfactory)

This classification has a direct impact on the level of funding granted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for further development of research potential, young research staff and education activities of the organisations.

 

UNIVERSITIES

There are ca. 400 higher education institutions: about 100 public (state-funded) and 300 private institutions. The majority of the universities are supervised by the Minister of Science and Higher Education but some of them are governed by other relevant ministries (i.e. the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of National Defence). Many universities establish special units called technology transfer centres whose mission is supporting research staff and students in exploitation of their research results and other entrepreneurial and innovation activities. Commercial activities and IPR issues are also supported as the centres act as a link between the university and external organisations.

See the list of institutions listed by categories

It is worth underlying that the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education nominated 10 universities most active in research – Research Universities evaluated by a panel of international experts:

University of Warsaw, Gdansk University of Technology, Adam Mickiewicz University, AGH University of Science and Technology, Jagiellonian University, Warsaw University of Technology, Medical University of Gdansk, Silesian University of Technology, Nicolaus Copernicus University and University of Wroclaw.

In the following years the 10 Research Universities will receive increased funding (by 10%) to further develop excellence of their research, education and strengthen their international competitiveness.

Another 10 universities were also awarded for their scientific achievements and will receive an increased budget - by 2%: Lodz University of Technology, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, University of Lodz, University of Gdansk, Medical University of Bialystok, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Medical University of Lodz, Pedagogical University of Krakow, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences and University of Silesia.

More information

University of Bialystok, Physics Department, author: A. Mnich
Warsaw University of Technology, Northern Campus, author: BirdEye

Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences

Main seat of the Institute of History PAS, Old Market Square, Warsaw

INSTITUTES OF THE POLISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (PAS)

There are 69 public research institutes forming the network of PAS together with supporting research establishments such as research stations, botanical gardens archives, libraries, museums, including foreign PAS stations in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, Moscow and Kiev. Most PAS institutes rank as leading institutions in their scientific or R&D activity with 14 of them granted the A+ category. Their mission is to pursue high quality research in key areas, dissemination and exploitation of scientific results, with the biggest share of the budget covering fundamental research. The institutes also run postgraduate programmes and doctoral schools.

More information

 

RESEARCH INSTITUTES

There are 102 research institutes and laboratories which focus their activities on conducting applied research and development activities in 4 main areas: technical (1), medical (2), environmental and agricultural (3) as well as economics and humanities (4). They are state-funded institutions operating as separate entities in terms of their legal basis, organisational arrangements and funding mechanisms. They are supervised by various sector ministries and conduct R&D activity in line with the national economy and social needs.
Research institutes listed by category

 

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, author: Peter Grešner

In 2019, 35 research institutes were transformed into the Łukasiewicz Research Network to strengthen the Polish commercial potential. The network has become Europe's 3rd largest research network which aims at promoting business and supporting the development of Polish companies. With 8,000 staff and 35 research institutes located in 11 cities across Poland the Network is an integrated market player providing attractive, comprehensive and competitive business solutions in the fields of automation, chemicals, biomedicine, ICT, materials, and advanced manufacturing. The Network collaborates with such business partners as: IKEA, Airbus, Boeing, Siemens, ABB.

 

OTHER INSTITUTIONS

In Poland, the number of institutions active in research and development is still growing. Among them you may find not only big companies, but also small and medium enterprises (SME), which are more and more competitive within Europe and worldwide, as well as an increasing number of start-ups. Moreover, there are almost 100 technology parks and 30 technology platforms located across the country.

Start-ups are young innovative companies looking for a business model that would ensure profitable growth. The Polish startup ecosystem is developing very dynamically and is increasingly more visible at the international arena. Most Polish startups deal with analytics, the Internet of Things and big data analysis. Every second Polish start-up decides to sell services or products abroad.

Wykres2

 

 

Almost half of Polish start-ups hire researchers or cooperate with R&D sector. That’s why start-ups are often present in technology parks.

Wykres

 

Another research and innovation supporting organisation is a hub. Hubs help enterprises, especially start-ups, to increase their market competitiveness through the use of innovative solutions. Hubs usually offer companies in their region comprehensive access to the latest data, knowledge and technology, enabling testing and implementation of innovative solutions relevant to their products, processes and business model. The Startup Hub Poland – a non-profit foundation runs a hub where international and Polish startups can meet together in order to become world class players on the R+D+I market.

 

 

 

 

According to the Polish Central Statistical Office, in 2017 there were nearly 188 000 researchers, including 35% women and 1.5% foreigners.

In the academic year 2018/19 there were 39 269 doctoral students, of whom 54.8% were females. Vast majority (94%) were enrolled at public institutions and 88.4% at full-time PhD programmes. The number of foreign doctoral students amounted to 1 837 (114 more than in the previous year).

Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW

CAREER PATH IN POLAND

Career Path in Poland

The title of professor (prof.) is awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland to a person who holds the habilitated doctor degree (in specific cases a PhD), according to the assessment by a Commission appointed by the Council of the Scientific Excellence. The application should be submitted to the Council, according to the rules set by the Act on Science and Higher Education, including the description of:

  • exceptional scientific achievements,
  • participation in scientific projects granted under open calls (national or international),
  • participation in international fellowships or research conducted in higher education institutions or research centres in Poland or abroad.
 

 

Scientific positions at Polish research institutions:

  • Assistant, minimum requirements: Master’s or engineer degree;
  • Adjunct, minimum requirement: PhD,
  • Associate professor, minimum requirements: PhD and exceptional scientific, professional or didactic achievements;
  • Professor, minimum requirements: professorship. A person holding the title of professor has to be employed at this position.

At universities persons employed at the abovementioned positions belong to one of the following groups of employees:

  • Didactic positions – only with teaching duties.
  • Research & didactic positions – with research obligations and teaching duties. The detailed division between research and didactic obligations is decided by the university.
  • Research positions with an obligation to perform research and involvement in education of doctoral candidates.

Additional requirements can be defined by individual employers. Each university may also determine its own positions, in addition to the ones listed above. Recruitment to each position should be carried out under an open competition. All job offers for a period longer than 3 months have to be published on the website of the employer, website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, ministry in charge of the institution and the EURAXESS portal of the European Commission. Each employee should undergo a periodic assessment, at least every 4 years, or more frequently, depending on internal rules of the university or institute.

 

 

 

Research financing in Poland comes in major part from the state budget (statutory funding, grants etc.) as well as from the European programmes (such as Horizon 2020 and EU structural funds) and private sector. The expenditure for R&D is still growing and according to the latest data it amounted to 1.21% of GDP.

The statutory funding is provided by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education based on the evaluation of Polish research institutions performance during a 4-year period. The level of funding depends on the category awarded to the institution, i.e. from A+ (highest funds) to C category, which results from the assessment of four evaluation criteria by an independent body.

The research units and individual scientists can apply for additional funding through open calls. The calls have different objectives and rules and are announced by funding organisations, including three national agencies supervised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, non-government Foundation for Polish Science as well as by different local authorities, private organisations and companies and international programmes.

Information on the latest grants and fellowships are collected by the Polish EURAXESS network and published at the beginning of every month at the JOBS & FUNDING.

The budget for the above calls consists of national, regional and European Union funding. Poland is the largest beneficiary of the EU’s financial support provided within the cohesion policy in the period 2014-2020. Research, development and innovation activities are funded within different operational programmes. However, the largest amount was allocated to the Smart Growth programme. Another one, Knowledge Education Development programme, aims at supporting higher education, international mobility and cross-border cooperation, among many others. Poland also uses the Union funds to ensure the development of the so-called smart specialisations by individual regions focused on selected priorities of the innovation policy.

Lodz University of Technology, Solar Team, author: Jacek Szabela

Poznan Science and Technology Park, Biotechnology Centre

 

The following bodies provide funds based on regular programmes and calls:

Polpharma Scientific Foundation was established in 2001 by a private company Polpharma SA which is currently the largest Polish manufacturer of generic drugs and pharmaceutical substances. In accordance with the founders’ intention, the Foundation supports pharmaceutical and medical science development by financing and initiating scientific research and practical solutions, providing scholarships and awards and promoting knowledge among representatives of scientific, social and business environments. From the beginning, NFP has been organising an annual competition for the Polish research society with an aim of financing original ideas which contribute to the development of medicine and pharmacy.

Polpharma_eng

 

 

See also:

JOBS & FUNDING for latest grant and fellowship offers

 

 

International cooperation is an essential part of research activity in Poland. It plays an important role in the evaluation process of scientific institutions – participation in international projects as well as international recognition of scientific publications is highly rated in this evaluation. According to the Minister of Science and Higher Education internationalisation of Polish science is a key challenge to be faced in the following years. Many universities and research institutes consider international collaboration as a priority in their internal strategies.

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education supports Polish participation in international and bilateral programmes by signing special agreements. Up to date 96 agreements are in force.

International collaboration can be financed from the national budget, international programmes or within international cooperation schemes with national funding. Horizon 2020, the European research and development programme run by the European Commission is the biggest source of research and innovation funding in Europe. However, several other programmes are open to scientists conducting their research in Poland.

​Poland officially joined the European Framework Programmes (FP) for Research and Technological Development in 1999. Under FP5 (1998-2002) 1,323 Polish teams received funding amounting to 152 million euro, in FP6 (2002-2006) 1,876 around 217,000 million euro, and in FP7 (2007-2013) 427,9 million euro. In the on-going Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020) so far Polish institutions have received ca. 575,5 million euro (until 1 March 2020).

In Poland, implementation of the EU Framework Programmes (including Horizon 2020) is supported by the National Contact Point for Research Programmes of the EU and the Regional Contact Points located at Polish universities, institutes and technology transfer centres. Polish research institutions, companies and individual researchers that are most active in the European framework programmes are awarded with the "Crystal Brussels" award.

Horizon 2020 offers support to individual researchers, research teams as well as organisations, companies and institutions from both academic and non-academic sectors.

The "Crystal Brussels" award 2018

The "Crystal Brussels" award 2018

 

 

See also:

  • more information on research funding in Poland can be found in the RESEARCH FUNDING tab
  • latest grant and fellowship offers for early-stage and experienced scientists