Poland does not make full use of EU funds for research - Dep PM Gowin

Deputy PM and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin taking part in a conference organised in Warsaw Jacek Turczyk/PAP

Poland is in last place in the European Union in terms of research funding obtained from EU programmes, Deputy PM and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin said on Thursday.

Gowin was taking part in a conference organised in Warsaw to sum up 20 years of Poland's participation in EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation. The minister noted that in the last 20 years, over 6,800 research teams have had the opportunity to develop their scientific excellence by working with countries from the European Union and outside the bloc.

These teams received over EUR 1 billion as part of co-financing as well as support from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the National Contact Point of EU Research Programmes.

However, according to Gowin, "statistics are merciless." "We do not make good use of Poland's potential, both the potential measured by the researchers' competences, but also by the capacities of modern laboratories set up in previous years," he added.

"In terms of the level of funding per researcher, we are in last place in Europe," Jarosław Gowin pointed out.

"The low level of participation of Polish researchers in framework programmes, who do not make use of Poland's entire contribution, means we are a net contributor," the deputy PM argued. "Simply put, Polish taxpayers contribute to research in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany," he emphasised, adding that this situation "must be changed."

Gowin noted that the next, 9th EU Framework Programme - Horizon Europe - will have at its disposal about EUR 20 billion more than its predecessor Horizon 2020, adding that the increase in spending on research is an indication of the direction Poland should aim for, "so that the money we put into the EU budget for research would at least return to Polish researchers and help the development of the whole country."

Director of the European Commission Representation in Poland Marek Prawda announced at the conference that the funds are to increase from EUR 78 billion to EUR 100 billion, expressing his hope that Polish researchers will obtain from the 9th Framework Programme at least three times more money than from the current programme.

Speaking about the Horizon Europe programme, Prawda said that its aim is "to more intensively support countries that in the previous framework programmes have benefited to too small a degree." In his opinion, Polish scientists are able to acquire these funds.