According to the Transition Report 2014. Innovation in Transition – drawn up by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – Poland belongs to the group of countries where company strategies are based mainly on the acquisition of innovative technologies from external sources. The report presents an assessment of the economic situation of 35 countries in the region, whose economy is in transition – with an emphasis on innovation as a factor productivity growth.
As is clear from the study, Polish companies implementing innovation in product or process more often choose the know-how coming from external sources (through the purchase of patents, technology, inventions and implementation services) than that derived from their own research and development activities. Poland was in this classification in the group of countries such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Serbia, Moldova. Only less than 9 percent of Polish companies run their own R&D, while in the Czech Republic 23 percent and in Slovakia 17 percent of companies do so.
This situation is reflected in the low rate of employment in R&D, which in Poland is 4 persons per 1,000 employees. In Israel the rate reaches 17 people, in Germany 7 people per 1,000 employees. Negative consequences of this state of affairs, inter alia, one of the lowest number of obtained patents for 1,000 company employees. At the same time – as the authors of the report note – more than a third of patents in Poland is developed by universities and research institutes, which indicates a centralized system of science and education with a dominant role of the state. On the other hand, in the US only 6 percent of patents are created at universities and institutes, and in Germany – only 3 percent. In EU countries, on average up to 63 percent of expenditure on research and development comes from business, while in Poland it is a little over 30 percent. The authors of the report indicate a weak relationships between academia and business, and this leads to a situation in which patents’ contribution to productivity growth in the economy is low.
One of the conclusions of the report is the effect of low level of innovation in the economy on poor competitiveness in industries with a high position in the global value-added chain.
Jacek Brzozowski, advisor to the President of Employers of Poland