Energy Research Knowledge Centre


Research themes and prioritisation


In its National Research Programme (KPB) announced in 2011[1] Poland adopted seven strategic interdisciplinary directions for science and R&D, including one named New Technologies in the Field of Energy. The main focus of this programme is energy efficiency, renewable energy and CO2 emissions reduction. It covers new energy sources (including shale gas and nuclear energy) as well as the traditional energy economy based on coal, gas and renewable sources. Also included are materials science, electricity distribution and the modernisation of the national electricity grid. Due to Poland’s important domestic resources of hard coal, low-emission coal technologies including gasification are strongly supported.

[1] Krajowy Program Badan 2011

Organisation of research


National energy research is generally the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNSW), together with its consultative and advisory body known as the Council for Science. The MNSW is responsible for the development, implementation and overall coordination of research policy, research funding and the promotion of international cooperation. Other ministries (the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Environment) are responsible for demonstration projects and the deployment of new technologies in their respective areas.

Higher education institutions play a major role in national research (about 20 Polish universities perform basic research and education in areas relevant to different sources of energy). Several research institutes supervised by the Ministry of Economy also carry out applied energy R&D. These state-run research institutions operate as separate entities in terms of their legal basis, organisation and budgets. Moreover several institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences that is supervised by prime minister also carry out research in the area of energy. The institutes receive basic financial support for their statutory activities, and top up their budgets by competing for project funding.

Research orientations and programmes (including those related to energy) are defined and steered by two national funding agencies acting on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNSW):

  • The National Centre for Science (NCN) formulates the priorities for national research in the form of the National Research Programme (KPB) and finances basic research by universities and research institutions in areas which include energy.
  • The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) formulates research programmes within the framework of the National Research Programme (KPB) and manages applied research programmes and projects and their finances.

Figure 1: Organisational structure of public funding for energy research in Poland.

PAN: Polish Academy of Science.
NCN: National Centre for Science.
NCBiR: National Centre for Research and Development.
MNSW: Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Programmes and budgets


Budget overview

Poland’s spending on R&D as a whole, including energy R&D, was 0.74 % of GDP in 2010 – well below the EU-27 average of 2 %. In 2011 total spending on R&D increased to €2 818 million, or 0.77 % of GDP.[2] The main funding sources for energy R&D and demonstration projects are the national budget, EU funds, and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOSiGW). From its various sources this funding is channelled through different programmes and institutions, especially important are two above mentioned national funding agencies: NCN and NCBiR. The dispersed funding structure makes it difficult to estimate the overall public spending on energy R&D, and there is no central monitoring of this data.[3] Table 1 gives a partial overview derived from the budgets of individual programmes and projects related to energy.

[2] GUS 2012: Science and technology in 2011.

[3] IEA 2011: Energy Policies of IEA countries; Poland Review 2012 ; p.150.

Table 1: Programmes relating to energy R&D in Poland.

*estimated by assuming a 12 % share for energy related research from total budget of €1 500 million (4 from 33 supported research institutes focus on energy research).
**total budget of €240 million, with 50 % industry co-funding.
*** estimated by assuming a 10 % share for energy-related research from total public funding of €1 200 million (additional industry co-funding is foreseen).
****the budget of €14 million from industry co-funding.

Programmes and initiatives

Polish National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures

Polska Mapa Drogowa Infrastruktury Badawczej (PMDIB)

In 2011 the Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced the Polish National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.  Projects included in the Roadmap are international initiatives from the ESFRI list and further proposals for national research facilities. The funding required for the construction of all the Research Infrastructures included in the Polish Roadmap is estimated at €1.5 billion. There are 33 projects included in the Roadmap, divided in 8 strategic areas. One of them is “Effective production, storage and transport of energy” including 4 energy projects: Clean Coal Technologies Centre, National Centre for Research and Application of New Materials and Technology for Electric Power, National Centre of Energy Technologies and National Laboratory for Nuclear Energy.

In January 2013 the Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced the updating of Polish National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures. It is envisaged that next important projects in strategic areas will be included.

Blue Gas – Support Programme for Shale Gas Technologies

Blue Gas – Polski Gaz Łupkowy. Wsparcie Rozwoju Technologii Związanych z Wydobyciem Gazu Łupkowego

This programme is managed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) for the term 2012–2022. Its total budget of €240 million is made up from 50 % national funding and 50 % industry co-funding. Its main objective is the development of shale gas technology and the establishment of shale gas in the Polish economy.

Applied Research Programme

Program Badan Stosowanych (PBS)

The Applied Research Programme is a horizontal programme which supports the science sector and industry through applied research in various fields, including energy. Running from 2012 to 2017, it is administered by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBIR) and financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (€1 200 million) and industry.

Advanced Technologies for Energy Generation

Zaawansowane Technologie Pozyskiwania Energii

This programme refers to the European Union 3x20 % targets and consists of 4 main blocks: improving energy efficiency of power generation, coal gasification, oxycombustion of coal, renewable energy generation in distributed systems. The programme supports the development of highly efficient technologies for coal combustion and gasification, as well as the creation of fuel, heat and electricity from biomass and waste products, within the framework of four research objectives. The government-funded programme runs from 2010 to 2015 and is managed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR). It has a budget of approximately €72 million.

Integrated System for Reducing Energy Consumption in the Maintenance of Buildings

Zintegrowany System Zmniejszenia Eksploatacyjnej Energochłonności Budynków

This programme runs for the period 2010–2013 and supports technical and organisational solutions to improve energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable sources in the energy balance of buildings. The programme is government-funded, is managed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) and has a budget of €6.3 million.

Technologies Supporting the Development of Safety for the Nuclear Energy Sector

Technologie Wspomagające Rozwój Bezpiecznej Energetyki Jądrowej

This programme runs for the period 2011–2014. It targets the development of safety in the nuclear energy sector, which is new in Poland. Within the framework of 10 research priorities it focuses on detailed technological solutions. The programme is government-funded, is managed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) and has a budget of €1.5 million.

National govermment departments


Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNSW)

Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNSW) is the main channel for all government support for separately budgeted research in Poland. In the Financial Perspective 2007–2013 the MNSW is also an intermediate body for three EU co-funded operational programmes: Innovative Economy, Human Capital and Infrastructure, and Environment[4] (the last of these has €9 100 million in Polish public funding, and includes the energy sector). The Ministry is in charge of the national budget dedicated to the support of research infrastructure and R&D projects.

Ministry of Economy

Ministerstwo Gospodarki

The European Funds Department of the Ministry of Economy is committed to the implementation of the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment (OPIE) and the Innovative Economy Operational Programme (OP) financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Ministry with its Department of Energy and Department of Nuclear Energy are involved in applied energy R&D and demonstration support.

[4] Infrastructure and Environment

National research programme management agencies


National Centre for Science (NCN)

Narodowe Centrum Nauki

The National Science Centre (NCN), founded in 2010, is a government executive agency set up to fund basic research. Its duties include funding and supervising research projects, doctoral fellowships and post-doctoral internships, as well as research projects outside the scope of funds provided by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR). Other tasks of the NCN are to foster and monitor basic research funding from outside the state budget, including funding obtained through international cooperation. The NCN allocates more than 20 % of its budget to grants for young (pre-doctoral and doctoral) researchers.

National Centre for Research and Development

Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju (NCBiR)

The National Centre for Research and Development, established in 2007, is the executive agency of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNSW). It was set up to supervise the performance of tasks which fall within national policies on science, technology and innovation. The NCBiR administers national programmes relating to applied R&D, European funds (via Operational Programmes), international and bilateral programmes and projects in different research areas, including energy R&D.

Funding organisations at national level


National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOSiGW)

Narodowy Fundusz Ochrony Środowiska i Gospodarki Wodnej

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, established in 1989, is one pillar of the Polish system of financing environmental protection. (The other pillar is the system of regional (voivodeship) funds for environmental protection and water management.) The NFOSiGW is in charge of energy technology demonstration projects (partly with EU funding), especially in the fields of highly effective generation, efficient distribution of energy and thermal insulation of public buildings.

Fund for Restructuring of Proprietors

Fundusz Restrukturyzacji Przedsiębiorców

The Fund for Restructuring of Proprietors belongs to the Agency for Conversion of Proprietors, Poland, which made a profit of €36 million in 2011. Its main task is to support the privatisation of Polish companies and their restructuring in ways which promote innovation. It provides co-funding for applied research projects, including in the energy sector. For instance, the fund is providing €60 million for the Blue Gas programme for 2012–2022.