Partnership is the new Leadership

Partnership is the new Leadership

In the era of rapid technological progress and global networks of cooperation, the traditional concept of leadership is evolving. The motto “Partnership is the new Leadership” is the central theme of the matchmaking event Horizon4Poland (November 21-22, 2023 in Warsaw), organized by the lndustry Contact Points, operating within the Łukasiewicz Research Network. While conventional leadership often implies a top-down approach, partnership-based leadership emphasizes the importance of collaboration and provides the opportunity to build a competitive advantage based on innovation.

A business strategy based on partnership and participation in European partnerships within the Horizon Europe program allows for shaping the business environment and creating innovative solutions in response to current challenges. It is high time for Polish companies to join the ranks of innovation leaders in the EU.

Cooperation as an Innovation Catalyst

The partnership-based leadership model acknowledges that innovation arises from the confrontation of diverse ideas and perspectives. As Dominika Bagińska-Chyłek, Coordinator of the Industry Contact Points, emphasizes, in a world of turbulence, where disruptions are the norm, not the exception, partnerships offer greater resilience. Leadership based on cooperation enables organizations to quickly adapt, utilizing the collective intelligence of teams to deal with uncertainty and seize upcoming opportunities.

Partnerships in the Context of the EU Innovation Agenda

Partnership in the context of the new European Innovation Agenda refers to the joint and cooperative efforts of various stakeholders, including governments, companies, industries, research institutions, academic environments, and civil society, aimed at driving innovation and addressing current social and economic challenges.

Ecosystem of Cooperation and Shared Resources

Synergy Effect and Progress Acceleration

Joint Creation, Joint Innovation, and Impact Scaling

Sustainable Development

Why Join European Partnerships?

European partnerships are initiatives, in which the European Commission, together with private and/or public partners (companies, universities, research organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc.), collaborate to support the development and implementation of strategic research and innovation agendas.

They consist of particular groups of industry or horizontal issue leaders, closely cooperating with the European Commission. Furthermore, they define the main directions of industry development, based on innovation and the themes of competitions funded by the Horizon Europe Program.

Sample European partnerships, in which Industry Contact Points participate:

• Towards zero emission road transport, aimed at accelerating the transition to zero-emission road mobility throughout Europe,

• Batt4EU – where competitive, sustainable European battery value chains with a closed loop and the transformation towards a CO2-neutral society are fundamental principles,

• Made in Europe – where the main goal is to strengthen the competitiveness of European companies in the global market in the field of technology, green transformation, sustainable production, and circular economy.

Horizon Europe

This is the largest research and innovation program in the history of the European Union. Over 7 years (2021-2027), a total of 95.5 billion euros will be allocated to innovative research and solutions. Research institutes, universities, public entities, companies, start-ups, non-governmental and international organizations can apply for these funds. While preparing a R&D project in an international consortium with at least 3 entities can be challenging, the highest argument is the high level of funding – from 70% to 100%!

Industry Contact Points (ICP)

To facilitate access to Horizon Europe funds for entrepreneurs and researchers, the Ministry of Education and Science has established a network of Industry Contact Points (ICPs), operating within the structure of the Łukasiewicz Research Network. Industry Contact Points are specialized teams that offer FREE support in applying for EU funds under the Horizon Europe program.

Industry Contact Points:

• facilitate joining the community of European innovation leaders within European partnerships,

• assist in finding partners, building international consortia (often a requirement in the HE programs), and selecting suitable competitions,

• prepare for submitting applications and implementing projects under the Horizon Europe Program, providing comprehensive training and specialized consultations,

• create a space for sharing experiences and idea synergies.

ICP support is free of charge and available to all entities interested in participating in the Horizon Europe program. The ICP Coordinator notes that the strength of ICP lies in the “tailor-made” offer, based on the many years of experience of experts and researchers at Łukasiewicz.

In Poland, there are seven ICPs, responsible for various thematic areas:

ICP Low-Emission Technologies and Clean Energy

Support areas:

• passive and energy-efficient construction,

• renewable energy sources,

• energy management systems,

• batteries and energy storage,

• hydrogen technologies,

• low-emission transport.

It also actively operates in the Built4People partnership, which is a joint initiative of the European Commission, ECTP, and WorldGBC Europe, bringing together various stakeholders in the construction industry, involved in the sustainable transformation of European construction. Thanks to the activities of ICP TNCE, the Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture (a cooperating partner), will implement the international consortium project called Heri4Ages, financed from the Horizon Europe Program.

ICP Smart and Clean Mobility

Support areas:

• intermodal transport systems (including regional transport),

• urban mobility systems,

• transport logistics,

• innovative low-emission drive technologies,

• onboard energy management systems,

• vehicle traffic management systems,

• pro-ecological design solutions in transportation means,

• autonomy systems,

• vehicle safety systems.

ICP Medical Technologies and Health

Support areas:

• new preventive and therapeutic goals,

• translational medicine, targeted/personalized,

• coordinated healthcare,

• modern, personalized diagnostic and therapeutic tools, supporting treatment and rehabilitation,

• bioinformatics, medical IT tools,

• telemedicine, modern medical technologies,

• new materials for medical applications.

ICP TMiZ conducts extensive informational activities about partnerships launched in the medical field, such as ERA4Health (, THCS (, IHI JU (, EDCTP3 (, as well as about competitions announced by them.

Since its inception, ICP has been cooperating with EIT Health Innostars – a network of top innovators in the field of health, developing joint innovative, acceleration, and educational projects to create new solutions in the field of health.

ICP Industry 4.0

Support areas:

• production technologies – automation and robotics,

• artificial intelligence,

• cloud computing,

• photonics,

• intelligent networks and services.

The Industry Contact Point Industry 4.0 conducts informational activities about partnerships The AI, Data and Robotics Association (ADRA), EIT Manufacturing and Photonics21, as well as about the actions undertaken by these partnerships. They actively support Polish manufacturing companies and technological organizations in industrializing breakthrough solutions with high growth potential.

ICP Digital Transformation

Support areas:

• digital technologies, IoT, AI, and automation,

• assistance in submitting applications and implementing projects under the Horizon Europe Program,

• building strong project consortia and selecting suitable competition proposals,

• individual support and mentoring,

• current information about available competitions and R&D funding opportunities.

ICP Sustainable Economy

Support areas:

• material recovery,

• new materials,

• circular economy,

• development of resource acquisition technologies,

• waste and wastewater treatment,

• green chemistry,

• bioeconomy,

• sustainable agriculture,

• energy security,

• electric energy storage.

A particularly important form of activity of Łukasiewicz – IMN is participation in upscaling projects, the aim of which is to verify developed technologies on an enlarged scale through direct cooperation with industry. Positive project results have led to the development of a range of technologies for the recovery of critical and strategic metals.

ICP Coordinator

The ICP Coordinator is responsible for supporting all Industry Contact Points in their activities, particularly in the areas of:

• organizing nationwide matchmaking, networking, and brokerage events,

 • assisting in identifying and acquiring partners for projects in the Horizon Europe Program by ICPs,

• organizing and participating in specialized workshops and training sessions,

 • informational and promotional activities regarding European partnerships,

• coordinating ICP cooperation with international organizations and representing them at the national level.

Horizon4Poland 2023:

Horizon4PL’23 is an event dedicated to the latest technological solutions, directions of R&D development, and European partnerships.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, November 21-22, 2023, Warsaw will become the place where innovation, partnerships, and development will come together in one place – at the Horizon4Poland event.

Why should you attend?

• The networking formula is an opportunity for direct contact with representatives of European partnerships, developing business contacts with partners in the country and abroad, and exchanging experiences.

• Matchmaking sessions will help find ideal partners during individual meetings, arranged through the B2Match platform.

• Expert panels and speeches will provide inspiration and new perspectives in 7 thematic technological areas.

• The Pitching Competition is a space for presenting R&D+I project ideas, allowing for finding a partner, support, and a source of funding.

Among the speakers there will be true stars of the Polish innovation scene, such as Daria Gołębiowska-Tataj PhD (Chair of Supervisory Board EIT Culture & Creativity) and Maciej Kawecki PhD (Digital EU Ambassador).

It’s worth registering now! This is a great opportunity for development, inspiration, and valuable networking.

The leading idea of Horizon4Poland – “Partnership is the new Leadership” reflects a profound shift in the approach to success, emphasizing collaboration, inclusivity, and innovation. As hierarchies give way to flat organizational structures, the benefits of partnership-based leadership become evident – from supporting creativity to agility in adapting to change.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Anastazja Lach