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According to the diagnosis presented in the Regional Operational Programme for Podlaskie for 2014-2020, the Podlaskie region has one of the lowest values of R&D expenditure among all Polish regions, which is accompanied by low sales of innovative products/services and an insufficient number of patented solutions (21 in 2012). The objective of the new measure (implemented as the grant scheme 1.2.1 in the framework of the Regional Operational Programme for Podlaskie for 2014-2020) is to change the abovementioned negative trends observed in the region with regards to innovativeness by providing support for the development of R&D capacity of regional enterprises. According to the Regional Operational Programme for Podlaskie for 2014-2020, the eligible costs under this measure include:
Investments in the development of research infrastructure necessary for R&D activity set-up or development in companies;
Implementation of R&D activities by companies (including applied as well as experimental research) with the use of their own R&D infrastructure, or with the support of other (domestic or foreign) R&D units;
Implementation of R&D results, including experimental production stage.
The total budget of the measure amounts to €50m, and the eligible beneficiaries are SMEs, consortia consisted out of companies or companies and research units.
It is expected that not all funds available in sub-measure 1.2.1 will be absorbed. Against the background of data from the Central Statistical Office, the interest of Podlasie companies in applying for support from sub-measure 1.2.1 should be considered high. By 2018, 88 unique companies had submitted applications, i.e. 89% of research-active companies according to the Central Statistical Office. This is a high percentage, especially if one takes into account the fact that Sub-measure 1.2.1 competed with the support offered from the Smart Growth Operational Programme.
The experience gained during the implementation of similar support measures in the previous programming period, indicates that a measure which consists of two forms of support, notably research projects and investment in R&D projects, entrepreneur interest is most likely more attracted to the latter.As part of the midterm evaluation study, the following success factors were identified:
calls for proposals divided into stages / rounds (applies to calls from 2017 and 2018),
one of the highest support intensity in the country when it comes to investments in R&D infrastructure,
relatively high allocations for individual calls,
low (compared to SG OP) minimum value of eligible costs,
the possibility of applying for consortia of enterprises and scientific and industrial consortia,
the possibility of consulting and training support for SMEs necessary to develop R&D activity as part of the project,
the possibility of projects that do not fit into the core of emerging specializations or specializations (although the allocation for such projects was small).