The Action Plan for Podlaskie Voivodship elaborated by Podlaska Regional Development Foundation contains two actions. Both of them are related to the Regional Operational Program of Podlaskie Voivodship, Priority Axis I Strengthening potential and competitiveness of the region’s economy, Measure 1.2 Supporting transfer of knowledge, innovation, technology and commercialization of R&D results, and developing R&D activities in enterprises. Podlaska Regional Development Foundation is the institution responsible for the implementation of both actions.

The first recommendation obliges the Foundation to apply for being an operator of a grant project to distribute funds among SMEs. The Foundation submitted an application form to the Marshal’s Office, and was selected to be a grant operator.

The grant can be spent on development projects implemented by enterprises active in the sectors of economy classified as smart specializations of Podlaskie region, i.a. eco-innovations. To promote the project, PRDF organized a seminar for future grantees in Bialystok, explaining what can be financed and what should be done to receive a grant. The call for grants was opened on June 3, 2019 and closed on September 30, 2019. In this period, 164 applications were received, including 50 related to eco-innovations. As of October 14, 2019, 159 applications have been assessed, while 5 applications are still being analyzed. Out of 159 applications, 68 were rejected, whereas 91 were assessed positively and were recommended to receive grants. Out of 91 positively assessed projects, 26 concerned eco-innovations. Hitherto, 59 grant contracts have been concluded, including 13 connected with eco-innovations.

The second recommendation obliges the grant operator to develop an application form for grants that is very simple for entrepreneurs to fill in. The form should contain only elements essential to obtain support, without the complexity of structure. The recommendation stems from the fact that SMEs are often discouraged by the necessity to hand in a lot of complicated documentation to apply for financing.

The application form elaborated by PRDF consists of the following sections: Applicant’s particulars, information about project location, classification of business activity, project connection with smart specializations, project aims, description of planned activities, information about additional criteria, type of activities, period of implementation, expenditures, information about granted de minimis.

The next steps towards the implementation of the project “Grants for research and development” will be further monitored.