Interview: Supporting Polish industry
CORNET spoke with Mr. Wasiak, director of PIO (Polish Chamber of Packaging) about their experience of CORNET, and the advantages and goals for international cooperation in pre-competitive Collective Research projects. PIO represents the economic interests of its members and aims to cooperate with similar organisations in other countries to develop an international packaging market. Over 60 percent of PIO’s members are SMEs, therefore with CORNET PIO will provide them with a platform to represent their needs.
How did you learn about the possibilities CORNET offers?
The initiative for PIO to participate in CORNET came from two of our well-known research facilities (COBRO – Instytut Badawczy Opakowań, ZUT – West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin). We had discussed topics and tasks we needed to push forward for the packaging industry and thanks to their international science contacts we learned about CORNET. Since 2007 we have already submitted three CORNET Projects. The latest project SelectPerm, which started in 2014 and will run till 2016, is developing a packaging concept for regional fruit, vegetable and cheese products based on packaging materials with selective gas permeability for oxygen and carbon dioxide.
How did your association apply for funding from CORNET?
We got in touch with the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), the Polish funding organisation in CORNET. They advised us how to establish the rules of participation in the project, funding sources as well as cofounding. During our collaboration with NCBR we experienced minimum bureaucracy and received lots of help while solving problems that occurred in the application but also at the realisation stage of the project.
What advantages has your association gained from CORNET?
All PIO members benefit from CORNET. Whether it´s an SME entrepreneur, research organisation or another company – they will all be able to use the collective research results to move the Polish packaging industry forward. Moreover, the association fulfils its own important function of supporting the members in modernising their production technology and products. That’s the only way to stay competitive in global markets. Thus building members trust in their association.
What benefits and experience could PIO gain from already realised CORNET Projects?
The most important factor in our global strategy is to gain knowledge and technological advantages for the whole sector that links science and industry together. We are pleased with the international collaboration we set up in our three CORNET projects. We were able to participate in fundamental research in major fields that are crucial for the future of the packaging industry. For example, the CORNET project SoLaPack works in an environmental and sustainable way to create a coating to prevent inks, varnish or adhesive that are used to label or manufacture the packaging from contaminating the food product inside. The exchange of know-how and resources across borders will enrich the Polish packaging industry.
Do you have any recommendations for clusters or SME associations interested in CORNET?
The first important step is to determine the problems which require support from the science side and should be addressed in a CORNET project. After that contact with the responsible funding agency it is mandatory to find international partners and research facilities.
How do you evaluate your general experience with CORNET?
The rules of co-operation are a bit different from other programmes. However, in CORNET the rules are more “friendly” for partners. The fact that costs are split between the participating countries and financed by national agencies makes the funding procedure and settlement much easier.
CORNET Projects with participation of PIO
2014 to 2016 – SelectPerm
Development of a packaging concept for freshly cut fruit, vegetables or cheese based on permselective packaging materials. Countries involved: Germany, Poland and Wallonia
2012 to 2014 – SoLaPack
Development of concepts to ensure that critical substances such as inks, varnishes or adhesive cannot migrate into the packaged food. A coating on the product side of the packaging should prevent contamination in a sustainably and environmentally-friendly way. Countries involved: Germany, Poland, Netherlands and Wallonia
2008 to 2009 – Biobased-Packaging
Development of uniform standards, adapted for specific applications in the packaging sector. The project focuses on different grades of polylactic acid. With the help of these standards it will be possible for companies to compare and use different biodegradable PLA-materials on an international level. Countries involved: Austria, Flanders, France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia and Wallonia