The paper is a reflection on the issues concerning the impact of research and development activities on competitiveness of polish voivodeships. Growing interest in the concept of regional competitiveness is associated with different processes, such as globalisation, internationalisation and regionalisation of the world economy. Competitiveness is determined by quantitative and qualitative factors; however, more attention should be focussed on qualitative determinants, including knowledge, technological progress and innovations, which are related to R&D activity. There are many different ways to measure competitiveness. One of the methods of assessment is making a reference to the regional competitiveness index (RCI) that shows strengths and weaknesses of regions. Taking into consideration that the largest disparities, both in the regional and national system, in relation to the EU average, are visible in three pillars constituting the Innovation Group indicators, it is worth conducting research on R&D development, as one of their key elements. Therefore, the goal of the paper is to present diversity in competitiveness of the regions in Poland, and to assess the level of development of R&D as one of determinants, having impact on competitive advantage. Implementation of the goal formulated in this way should be achieved through analyses concerning the following spheres: 1) the essence of regional competitiveness and its determinants; 2) the location of Polish regions in RCI ranking; 3) comparative analysis of the competitive potential of regions in the area of R&D.