The research institute you lead is a department with a tradition – its origins go back to the 1950s and was associated with the formation of the technological base for the Polish textile industry. Much has changed since then. Today, it is part of the Łukasiewicz Research Network. What is under this name?
At present, the Łukasiewicz Research Network consists of 28 industrial institutes all over Poland and 8,000 employees, including 4,500 researchers.
So we’re talking about a really big scale of activity …
Yes, this is true, and it has great potential, both in terms of infrastructure and research, and great potential in human capital – we are working for many outstanding scientists who can quickly respond to the many challenges of modern industry.
What industries does the asiukasiewicz Research Network support?
The network includes research institutes in the aviation, textile, leather and chemical industries, technology and material processing, logistics, automation, biomedicine and many other leading sectors of the modern economy. Łukasiewicz Research Network is able to provide a wide range of activities in many industries. Hedgehog interdisciplinary communication is also a field of related institutions in the Lukasiewicz Network. The institute I lead is a department that operates in other fields, in addition to serious chemistry and textiles. in medicine, circular economics and packaging. We also have defense projects, including the defense industry and police supplies. We also carry out biomedical projects, for example, for the development of bladder prostheses. The activity of the institute is comprehensive.
We already know that interdisciplinary communication is still expanding. 2022 is finally a leap and … anniversary for the Lukasiewicz – Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibers.
Indeed, this year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the institute. Last year it was also celebrated by the Lukasiewicz – Institute of Leather Industry and two years ago – the 75th anniversary – Lukasiewicz – Textile Institute. These three sections were built more or less simultaneously. All of them primarily served the textile, textile and clothing industries. Of course, we are talking from the beginning, because over the years, the spheres of activity have developed and changed. And today, these three major divisions in Lodz combine their potential, and in their place, on April 1, 2022, the Lodz Institute of Technology will be established, which will be part of the Lukasiewicz Research Network.
What is the purpose of such a merger? What are its locations?
First of all, it is about increasing the research potential. We will develop in four key areas: health, economics and energy, mobility and medical solutions. The merger will support research, among others, in the field of innovative materials for medical applications such as implantable or restorative materials, such as support for people with disabilities. However, we are also talking about materials for the military: bandages, light ballistic structures, camouflage materials, special paints, fabrics, etc. We will continue to develop in the areas we have worked on so far, but we also want to enter new sectors. .
For example, the organic sector? I think the research network has a lot to offer here.
By all means – we will specialize, for example, in materials that store water and nutrients in the ecosystem. This will allow plants to grow, for example, in droughts, which have occurred frequently in recent years and affect only our country. We also work on prefabricated products from waste generated by, for example, agriculture or the clothing industry – thus providing the modular construction sector.
We are also working on intelligent packaging to show at what stage of distribution the appropriate temperature or humidity indicators are not maintained. It’s a product that serves distributors, but it’s also important to reduce food waste, which is in line with the popular zero-waste trend.
The scale of the operations clearly indicates the need to go beyond the national sphere – do you plan to cooperate at the international level?
Łukasiewicz Research Network focuses on the development of international cooperation. It should be noted that the Lukasiewicz – Łódź Institute of Technology will be the third largest division of Lukasiewicz in Poland, and the entire Lukasiewicz Research Network is the third largest European network. Therefore, we can talk about great potential. Of course, we have had international cooperation, but now, after the merger, we will define its new directions more intensively and use its potential more effectively. We plan to develop projects with departments around the world – today we work with research units not only in Europe, but also in Canada, the United States and Japan.
Ł for Łukasiewicz and Ł for Łódź – What is the connection between Łukasiewicz and ŁIT in terms of city and region?
First of all, we plan to increase the opportunities for human development, which manifests itself in the form of consolidation. We will be one of the main business partners in the Lodz region. We carry out many projects on the basis of territorial agreements – so they mainly serve the province of Lodz and the city of Lodz.
What will happen in the region due to such agreements?
First of all, it is necessary to mention the Biomas Center, where we will start operating on the basis of such agreements. The center will manage waste from the agricultural, food, clothing and packaging industries. The waste will be converted into new biodegradable composites or other materials for the food industry. An example of this is one of our advanced projects – it is the management of poultry feathers, ie waste from poultry farms. We have a semi-industrial plant that processes keratin, a natural polymer that can be processed later. This substance is widely used, for example, in the cosmetics industry and the medical sector.
What are the future development plans – those for 2022/2023?
We want to develop new research centers and those responsible for the current activities of the institute. Digitalization is very important for us. That is why we are creating a Center for Prototyping and Digitalization of Technology, which will be used to transition from the analog version of the study to the full digital version. Thanks to this, we will be able to digitize the technologies at our disposal. We want to continue our current mission, but also to expand our horizons.