Małopolska ranks third in Poland in terms of both submitted inventions and granted patents, and it is the second Polish region in terms of granted patents per million inhabitants (2017). There are several hundred research and development units operating in the region. In addition, there are about 20 cluster initiatives, including the LifeScience Cluster and the Sustainable Infrastructure Cluster, with the status of Key National Clusters. Companies such as ABB, Aptiv (formerly Delphi) Motorola, CH2MHill, and Ericpol have chosen Krakow as their R&D investment destination. There are technological and industrial parks in Małopolska, such as the Kraków Technology Park, which also manages the Kraków Special Economic Zone with an area of 1,000 ha. In the Małopolska business services sector, there is a dynamic increase in the number of new companies and employment rates. Cracow, being the headquarters for 195 companies in the industry, ranks second, after Warsaw, in which most of these centers are concentrated. The region also leads in terms of employment — over 64,000 people work in the local BPO (business process outsourcing centers), SSC (shared service centers), IT (information technology), and R&D centers (research and development). Additionally, the region has a high share of R&D centers.
The results of scientific and research work carried out in scientific institutions and R&D units are commercialized thanks to the dynamically operating university and non-university Technology Transfer Centers and a number of other innovation centers. The Małopolska voivodeship is also implementing the SPIN (Małopolskie Centers of Knowledge Transfer) project that implies cooperation between business and universities taking place in Knowledge Transfer Centers, which constitute a sort of model of regional intersectoral cooperation that have been established over the years and have proved effective.
There are 103 accredited research laboratories in Małopolska, which puts the region in the fourth place in Poland. There are also 3,100 regular laboratories in the region, with 807 of them being located in Małopolska research units (universities, institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and research institutes). In Małopolska, there are also 20% of all projects included in the Polish Road Map for Research Infrastructure. These projects represent the following branches of science: astronomy and physics, interdisciplinary issues, energy, materials sciences and technologies, intelligent systems, and infrastructure.
There are 29 universities in Małopolska, educating nearly 170 thousand students, and about 68% of Małopolska residents aged 19-24 study, which is the second result in the country. In addition, around 7 thousand Ph.D. students study in the region. There are 19 thousand R&D employees, including over 10 thousand employees with a doctorate or higher.
According to the most recent data as of mid-2018, in addition to the above-mentioned indicators of innovation, the following figures are worth mentioning in this context:
- the highest values of GERD (Gross domestic expenditure on R&D) and BERD (Business enterprise expenditure on R&D) in Poland: 2.16 and 1.166 respectively
- the highest share of enterprises’ expenditure on R&D among Polish voivodships: 69.8%;
- second place among provinces in terms of internal expenditures for R&D activities: PLN 3.2 billion;
- second place in terms of R&D expenditure per capita: PLN 947 (2016)
- the highest ratio of R&D expenditure in comparison to R&D personnel among Polish voivodeships: 175.7 thousand PLN for the position
- second place in terms of people employed in R&D per 1000 economically active people: 10.6;
- third place in terms of entities with research and development equipment included in fixed assets: 198;
- fourth place in terms of functioning research units in total: 397 and in the enterprise sector: 329;
- fourth place among Polish voivodships in terms of the share of revenues from sales of innovative products in total sales revenues: 9.9%;
- third place in terms of the share of revenues from the sale of products of entities (over 9 employees) classified as high and medium-high technology: 45%.
The innovative nature of the region is supported by a number of events initiated by the regional government on regular basis, such as the “Małopolska Innovation Festival”, “Małopolska Innovation Fair”, the “Patent for a Good Start” seminar, or a public tender competition for the implementation of public tasks in the area of innovation as well as disseminating and implementing new technical solutions in business.
Internal expenditure on R&D in 2016 in total (GERD / GDP – the left part) and in the enterprise sector (BERD / GDP – the right part),%