Podlasie Region, located in north-eastern Poland, is characterised by one of the lowest budgets for RTD (Research and Technological Development) in the whole EU. In the EU-25, the RTD budget averages 1.84% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), in Poland – 0.6%, whereas in the Podlasie region – RTD sector receives only 0.2% of the regional GDP (source: Regional Operational Programme for Podlasie Region, 2007-2013). The gross value of RTD infrastructure in Podlasie amounts to 0.1% of the total RTD infrastructure in Poland.
Poland (with its innovation index = 0.21) was ranked 21st among the 25 EU member states (EU-25 mean = 0.42, data for 2005). Among 16 regions in Poland, Podlasie was ranked 16th in respect of its innovation (source: Innovation Diagnosis of Podlasie Region, 2005). Underdevelopment of RTD capacities is the main reason for low index of innovations in Podlasie.
The very small research budget notwithstanding, the other serious obstacles to RTD development in Podlasie, as pointed out by Development Strategy of Podlasie Region until 2020, are:
• very few research centres and researchers in the region,
• concentration of the great majority of sources and infrastructure in Białystok - the region’s capital, and
• poor knowledge about the existing RTD capabilities in society.
Interestingly, as many as 39% of the SME, stakeholders and other prospective recipients of new knowledge, interviewed in Podlasie, highlighted the “shortage of information on RTD capabilities” as the most common reason for their lack of cooperation with RTD entities.
Having recognised the crucial role of science in economic and cultural development, the Regional Innovation Strategy of Podlasie (Białystok, 2005) has set the following strategic goals for increasing the research potential of the Podlasie region:
• To promote the scientific research targeted at the economic development of the region, especially in its most competitive fields; and
• To create mechanisms of cooperation between RTD institutions and enterprises and stakeholders