Industry and science looking to forge closer ties

Industry and science looking to forge closer ties

A conference entitled ‘Cooperation between industry and science – a key to success’ was held at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin on January 16th.

The conference was organised by the Polish Economic Security Consortium, with PKN ORLEN as one of its members. It was held under the joint auspices of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Energy. The event was attended by representatives of the Polish Senate’s Committee on National Economy and Innovativeness, Lublin Province Governor, Ministry of Energy, National Centre for Research and Development, Catholic University of Lublin, Warsaw University of Technology and members of the Consortium.

One of the panellists in the discussion on ‘The best model for cooperation between industry and science in Poland’ was Piotr Chełmiński, Member of the PKN ORLEN Management Board, Development and Power Generation, who emphasised that PKN ORLEN was among the founding entities of the Polish Economic Security Consortium. One of the Consortium’s key goals is to build a platform networking science with business, as well as business support institutions and public administration. PKN ORLEN’s representative pointed out that, as a public company, we must effectively allocate our R&D expenditure, optimising it with respect to operational excellence and productivity maintenance. PKN ORLEN has partnered with numerous universities and R&D centres. "People are at the centre of our business, as attested to by our core values – Responsibility, Development, People, Energy and Reliability,” said Piotr Chełmiński. The remaining panel participants, representatives of the Management Boards of ENEA Operator and PGE Dystrybucja and Rector of the Warsaw University of Technology, concurred that working out and implementing our original Polish model for cooperation between science and business would be a long-term process, which must be grounded in mutual trust and understanding of the respective priorities of both science and business.

The conference also included presentation of the Polish government’s current plan for connecting industry with science. The Lublin Province Governor, Przemysław Czarnek, PhD, emphasised that the government’s efforts designed to promote cooperation between business and science consist of parallel measures. Apart from various mechanisms and programmes to support business innovation, a focus is placed on reducing administrative barriers, which only hamper business activity. On the other hand, it is equally important to support Polish science and reform its financing to make it more efficient. To drive innovation, strong business and top-level science must work in tandem.

Representatives of Grupa Azoty, PGE Dystrybucja, KGHM Polska Miedź, PGNIG and PKN ORLEN also gave an overview of models adopted by their respective organisations for partnering with science to give innovative solutions a chance to be successfully commercialised. Presenting their own innovative projects, representatives of business agreed that the main goal behind their R&D efforts was to build competitive advantages, enhancing the innovativeness of their products, services and technologies. Good practices in relations between industry and science, on the example of partnership between the ORLEN Group and the Warsaw University of Technology, were discussed by Maciej Kropidłowski, Director of the PKN ORLEN Development and Technology Office. The Warsaw University of Technology is a natural partner for PKN ORLEN, if only for its location. Beginnings of the partnership between the company’s predecessor Mazowieckie Zakłady Rafineryjne i Petrochemiczne of Płock and the Warsaw University of Technology date back to the 1970s. In recent years, two agreements have been signed between PKN ORLEN, the Warsaw University of Technology and the university’s branch in Płock. They attest to the importance of mutual cooperation and provide a systematic framework for good practices in promoting innovation between the signatories. Their cooperation covers four major areas reflecting opportunities where the company’s business can be supported by the university’s resources, namely internships for students and graduates, concepts and analyses, research work and R&D projects. Annually, over 100 students and graduates complete internships at PKN ORLEN, with the partnership facilitating upwards of 60 various projects and concepts and over 10 student theses. It also generates synergies allowing both PKN ORLEN and the university to consolidate their respective positions.

Also presented at the conference was the Consortium’s publication entitled ‘Cooperation between industry and science. Good practices’,  co-authored by PKN ORLEN, which juxtaposes the viewpoints of practitioners and scientists.
"(...)One of the main pillars of the strategy for Polish science I have announced is a partnership with business and commercialisation of science. These two aspects of human endeavours must permeate and add value to each other, whilst benefiting from each other’s unique experience. To me, such partnership is the best response to doubts over financing of innovation that may be voiced by some. It is true that risk is an inherent part of every new idea, but without it there would be no progress in either science or business. However, fear of risk is only natural and this is where partnership between these two sectors comes into play. Science provides the necessary theoretical base, which may be evaluated from a practical point of view and translated into more concrete forms by business experts. It is a win-win situation.(...),” wrote Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, in his congratulatory letter, which is a preface to the publication.

The Polish Economic Security Consortium was founded in 2014 on the initiative of the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration of the Catholic University of Lublin. Its members include Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A., the ADR Law and Economy Research Centre Foundation (Fundacja Instytut Badań ADR "Prawo i Gospodarka”), Grupa Azoty S.A., the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration of the Catholic University of Lublin, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A., Kredyt Inkaso S.A., PGE Dystrybucja S.A., Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN S.A., Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo S.A., Port Lotniczy Lublin S.A., Union Investment TFI S.A., the Office of Technical Inspection and the law firm Wolf Theiss of Warsaw. The Consortium’s mission is to enhance the Polish economy’s competitive power by building an efficient economic system and social relations based on Christian values and ethics, creating a platform for networking science with business, as well as business support institutions and public administration, conducting expert analyses as part of the ‘Polish Economic Security. Legal and Economic Dialogue and Analysis Institute’ think-tank and providing education to support the economy.