Maintaining a high level of R&D and efficient innovation can enable enterprises to survive and win a better position in the international market. Both these fields require considerable amounts of money, which, unfortunately, is not one of Poland’s strengths, neither in terms of government spending nor enterprises’ own resources. It is also essential to change the mentality entrepreneurs and encourage them to apply for both national and EU funding. Stimulation of R&D and innovation can become a basis for improving the competitiveness of the companies in the domestic and international market. This article discusses the main characteristics of research and development activity, its main determinants and the importance of marketing and knowledge in R&D.