The European Investment Bank has loaned nearly €1 billion (£860 million) for research and development in Polish universities, business enterprises and research institutes.
A total of €970 million will be loaned in two parts, with the first tranche, €490 million, earmarked for the National Science Centre and the National Centre for Research and Development to fund basic and applied research by doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and senior scientists.
A further €480 million will fund research at Polish state universities, colleges and research institutes across most scientific disciplines. This stream will also be used to boost capital investment from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in R&D infrastructure, as well as specialist scientific equipment.
The loans will be awarded this year and next, and it is hoped that they will not only maintain current employment levels in research, but also create more jobs – particularly for young people.
The Eastern European nation will also benefit from lower financing costs owing to the long-term nature of the loans and the low interest rates charged by the non-profit bank, which already lends to a number of UK universities.
At the signing ceremony for the projects, Anton Rop, the bank’s vice-president, said: “The EIB strongly promotes the European knowledge economy, especially increased R&D investment, downstream applied research and innovation, and the improvement of human capital.
“We therefore particularly welcome this agreement with Poland, as these projects will support the country’s strategic science and innovation policy. They will strengthen basic research, promote efficiency and competition for grants, and leverage more private investment for applied development and innovation activities.”
Poland has only two institutions in the top 400 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings: Jagiellonian University in Cracow and the University of Warsaw. But the EIB cash may help it to improve this record.