NCBR’s digital priorities
I am more and more often asked how the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) supports digital transformation in Poland. The simplest answer is: with all efforts possible. We see ourselves primarily as a catalyser of innovations, for instance in the field of artificial intelligence, and a bridge between science and industry.
Noticing the opportunities associated with artificial intelligence (A) in Polish innovations, we would like to help our businesspeople and scientists to use them efficiently, in this way building the competitiveness of the Polish economy as part of Industrial Revolution 4.0 in the difficult post-pandemic times. We are already implementing specific actions to fulfil the plan.
It is not a coincidence that the new NCBR strategy provides for increasing the Centre’s role in the development of modern technologies and solutions such as artificial intelligence and big data. In recent years we have observed a considerable increase in our applicants’ interest in these areas, and we expect it to rise further. Thus, we would like to become a catalyser of innovations and the missing link in cooperation between science and business.
We are directly and actively involved in building the Polish technological strength in terms of artificial intelligence and related issues. Launching the INFOSTRATEG programme and forming the IDEAS NCBR company are only two of many examples of our recent initiatives, which complement one another.
INFOSTRATEG: AI in practice
INFOSTRATEG, the strategic R&D programme, was created in order to stimulate the development of advanced information, telecommunications and mechatronics technologies. Its specific goals include developing our research potential in AI, a considerably increased market presence of Polish IT teams, and creating test data sets and developing on their basis standards for selecting the best solutions. Furthermore, the programme takes into consideration the need for neural networks applications in robotics and automation and to create tools based on the blockchain technology to accelerate the development of digital economy and solutions based on machine learning to improve the quality of products and services and the effectiveness of processes.
In the decade to follow we are planning to allocate as part of the programme a total of PLN 840 million to projects which will lead to the creation of domestic solutions responding to the above-mentioned needs. Let me emphasise that we are focussing on solutions with direct practical applications, thus the choice in the respective competitions of such subjects as medical image recognition, selective plant protection scenarios, verifying sources of information and detecting fake news, human behaviour recognition from video, smart correspondence manager, and efficient and scalable consortium blockchain for smart contracts.
Recently we have completed enrollment in the second competition announced in the program INFOSTRATEG, which is aimed at businesses, research establishments and consortia. The research subjects include a smart speech processing system for physicians and customer assistant for specified public institutions. Our budget for the projects is PLN 60 million, PLN 30 million for each subject. Everyone interested is invited to see the details and apply in next edition.
IDEAS NCBR: on the brink of a breakthrough
To emphasise the great importance of AI for NCBR, a new group was formed within the NCBR Group – IDEAS NCBR sp. z o.o. What is its main objective? To increase the R&D&I potential in the area of artificial intelligence and digital economy. Our undertaking is an opportunity to increase Poland’s contribution to innovation-based economic growth, and to actively participate in the civilisational breakthrough which is about to take place.
These activities are consistent with our vision of turning NCBR into an active participant in academic and research undertakings, a centre of competence for building research personnel able to effectively cooperate with business, as well as competence in terms of research implementation potential and commercialisation methods of research results.
We are planning to gather in one innovative company up to 200 researchers dealing with AI R&D to form, in the next few years, one of the largest AI centres not only in Poland, but possibly at the international scale, focussing its activities on digital economy. Our optimism is also based on the fact that the research agenda includes such crucial subjects as smart health, smart economic algorithms, digital currencies and smart contracts, machine learning in computer graphics, robotics and augmented reality. All this will increase Polish innovators’ chances for success in research, which will translate into economic and social successes.
Wojciech Kamieniecki, PhD Eng., Director of the National Centre for Research and Development
Last Updated on August 11, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska