The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s nonprofit long-term lending institution, has announced it will lend almost €1bn to support strategic energy and science investment in energy and science in Poland.
The EIB will provide €250 million of financing to Polish energy giant Energa Group to upgrade and extend its electricity distribution network in northern and central Poland, improve the security of supply, invest in renewable energy sources and develop smart meters.
An additional two loans amounting to €730 million for research, development and innovation (RDI) activities in scientific research institutes and universities. These loans will be supported by InnovFin Science, which is backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
These RDI projects will concern either basic or applied research and will be implemented in public research institutes, universities and enterprises across Poland. The main objective of this EIB financing operation is to leverage applied R&D carried out by enterprises and the innovative activities of companies, as well as to foster better links between research and industry.
It is hoped this this will not only help to support the estimated existing 150,000 public sector research jobs in science in Poland, but also create new career opportunities, in particular for young researchers.
During the signing ceremony in the southern Polish town of Krynica Zdrój, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Mateusz Morawiecki, said the new loans will provide financing for RDI projects essential for Poland’s economic growth.
In particular, the investment is expected to contribute to the development of scientific disciplines from quantum optics technology to supramolecular chemistry to 3D holographic imaging, he said.
Mateusz Morawiecki – Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:
“Today’s agreement in Poland under the InnovFin Science programme is momentous. With a fresh injection of €730 million for research, development and innovation activities, research institutions in Poland will see huge benefits. I am also proud that the Juncker Plan [the EFSI] is helping to upgrade and improve the electricity networks in Poland.”
In total, the EIB has co-financed 16 previous loans to the Polish science sector since 2004. Last year, the EIB provided loans amounting to €4.4bn for Polish investment projects.